Twice Baked Potatoes

Twice Baked Potatoes (they became part of a meal that was all oranges and yellows--great for Halloween!)
Twice Baked Potatoes
8 medium sized potatoes
cheddar cheese--about 8 ounces

Wash potatoes very well and prick them with a fork or knife so they don’t explode while baking. (When they are baking the steam inside the potato will cause it to explode if you don't create a way for it to vent). Bake in oven (no foil) for 50 minutes at 400°. You can also bake them in the microwave to speed things up. (Don't worry--the skins will soften.)
Remove potatoes from oven.  While they are still very hot--slice in half and scoop out the insides. Leave the skins intact.
Beat together potato insides, milk, salt, pepper, butter, and a smaller amount of grated cheddar cheese. Refill the potato skins--heaping the potatoes in them. You will have a few extra skins that aren’t filled (either throw away or top them and broil as plain potato skins). Place the potatoes in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Press a dab of butter on top of each potato and then put a slice of cheese on (or top it with grated cheese).
Cook at 375° for about 20-30 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is melted.

Tiffany's Notes: Twice Baked Potatoes seem like they would be a lot of work.  They really aren't.  Sure baked potatoes are probably the easiest, but these already have their toppings on them!  I like them because you can prepare them earlier in the day, cover the pan, refrigerate them, and later heat them up at dinner time.  They also keep really well and leftovers will heat up the next day for trice baked potatoes. 

My mother-in-law served these and taught me how to make them.  She would make them for large family dinners--serving 20+.  I'm sorry the recipe isn't very exact!  I over stuff the potatoes--so if I cook 8 I don't end up with 16 halves.  I would only fill about 12 halves.  An adult would usually eat one or two halves.  A child would usually eat one half (or even less if they are small).  This 8 potato recipe would feed about 6 adults.  I always make more than I think I need! 

Tip: when you are preparing them if you allow your potatoes to cool they get gummy and aren't a very nice texture.  The sooner out of the oven--the hotter they are when you're working with them--the better they turn out in the end.  Just try not to burn yourself!

I also like these because I can make one potato dairy free for my son who has a dairy allergy.  I use margarine and soy milk and don't add any cheese. 

You can always make these fancier by adding crumbled bacon, cooked sausage, etc.  There are bunches or recipes out there for loaded stuffed baked potatoes.  But, this version is quite simple and fairly economical to make.


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