The Pantry: Loaded Baked Potatoes

Potato, butter, sour cream, bacon, green onions, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper.  It’s a laundry list of pure deliciousness that stands all on its own.

Loaded Baked Potato

Ingredients:

1 large russet baking potato

1-1/2 tbsp butter, divided

salt, to taste

2 slices thick cut bacon

pepper, to taste

1 tbsp sour cream

2 tbsp cheddar, shredded

1 tsp green onions (scallions), sliced

Directions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Take your baking potato, which will most likely be fairly dirty,

and give it a good scrubbing.

You can’t tell, but I use a soft scrub brush to do this.  It’s kind of hard to shoot a photo while scrubbing a potato.  However, when you’re done, your potato should look a little something like this:

Then slather your potato with 1/2 tablespoon of butter, and set your potato down on a rectangle of aluminum foil that is just large enough to wrap it in– I didn’t measure mine.  I probably should have.

Give it a little sprinkle of salt if you want.  I wanted to, so I did.

Roll your potato up in the foil.  It doesn’t really matter how you accomplish this step.  Roll it, wrap it like a present (just don’t use tape!), fold it like an envelope.  Just keep the buttery, salty, soon-to-be-steaminess inside.

Set the potato on a baking sheet, and bake for about 1 hour.  You could bake it directly on the rack, but if it leaks, you’ll have a mess to clean up.

3.  While the potato is baking, sprinkle the two slices of thick-cut bacon with pepper–just enough to taste– and then chop the bacon into small pieces.  In a frying pan over medium heat, fry the bacon until it’s cooked to your liking.  I like mine tender, and the husband likes his crispy.  It doesn’t really matter as long as it’s cooked.  Drain the bacon and set it aside.

4.  After that hour is up, remove the potato from the oven, and  stick a fork in its side to test whether or not it is fully cooked.  If there is little resistance, you’re good to go.  Otherwise, pop it back into the oven for a little longer– 5 to 10 more minutes , and allow it to cool just until you can touch it easily.

Place the potato onto a heatproof plate, and–being careful because the steam is really hot– open the foil and slice the potatoes in half.

5.  Transfer each hot half of potato to a serving plate, and smash the insides of the potato halves up just a little bit.  Top each half with 1/2 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 tablespoon sour cream, 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar, 1/2 teaspoon of sliced scallions, and half of the chopped bacon.

It doesn’t really matter what cheddar you use.  Most of the time I go with regular old medium cheddar– I don’t like mild.  For this recipe, I didn’t even use cheddar, I used

but only because I wanted to give it a test run before I used it in a dish for company.

Yield: 2 servings

Did you know that 1 serving of potato is equal to the size of your computer mouse?  If you want to make more of these for company, just double the recipe. You can bake up to 4 potatoes at that time and temperature before having to add additional time.

You can also microwave your potatoes– just poke holes in them with a fork first and wrap them in waxed paper– NOT aluminum foil!  And DON’T cook them for an hour!  Follow your microwave manufacturer’s advice!

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