Great Party Recipes: Twice Baked Potato Skins
Planning a party can be fun but intimidating. I personally do not recommend a sit down dinner event for more than four or six guests, unless that's the designated activity and plan for the evening. It can be hard to plan an entire dinner, especially if you're not a chef. You have to worry about drinks, appetizers, salad, entrees, desert. It can be overwhelming. Instead, why not try preparing a variety of appetizers that everyone can enjoy? It's much more affordable, and with a little prep time you can prepare many of the dishes in advance and just pop them in the oven for a few minutes to heat, or retrieve them from the fridge if it's a cool dish and voila! Instant bon apetite. For Christmas Eve this year, my girlfriend prepared several such appetizers (for lack of a better word) to serve at her friend's house, and they were all a huge success.
- 6 small to medium sized Idaho potatoes
- Butter or margarine (room temperature)
- Salt and pepper
- Onion powder, or you can mince fresh onions
- Shredded cheese, whichever kind you prefer--we used cheddar
- Sour cream
Wash and scrub potatoes thoroughly before putting them into the microwave. Depending on how many potatoes you are using the cook time will vary--one small potato will usually take about 5-7 minutes.
While the potatoes are in the microwave, you can start pan frying the bacon. Alternatively, you can microwave the bacon while refilling skins. If you are going to crumble the bacon on top the skins it needs to be crispy, so I'd recommend the pan fry route for that option.
Once cooked the potatoes will be hot to the touch. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before slicing them lengthwise down the middle to make two halves. You want the inside of the potatoes to be hot so everything will mix well.
Spoon out the inside of potatoes being very careful not to break the outer skin. It's okay if you don't get it all out but try for most of it. NOTE: *If the inside is still hard and will not spoon out easily then the potatoes are not cooked enough.*
Put the insides into a mixing bowl. Once potatoes are in the bowl, add butter, onion powder/raw minced onions, salt and pepper. There are no measurements to these particular ingredients (at least not in my world) because you want everything to be seasoned to your personal taste. You don't want the mixture to be completely wet with butter, just moistened enough to absorb the flavor. Mix everything around to combine.
Put potato skins onto a baking sheet. Or, if you are preparing them in advance, simply put them on a dish and refrigerate for baking later. Fill the skins with your potato mixture. You don't want to over fill them, the mixture needs to be evenly distributed between each of the skins. TIP: *I put a little bit of butter in the bottoms of the skins before refilling with mixture for those who like to eat the entire potato. It gives the skin a bit more flavor.*
Once the skins are filled you then top them with shredded cheddar cheese and bacon. You can either slice the bacon to fit the potatoes or you can crumble it on top. Bacon Bits may also be used.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake on middle rack for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Toaster ovens can be used as well on the same setting.
Serve with sour cream.