Who doesn’t love twice-baked potatoes? With the holidays coming up, I thought I’d post a few ideas to get you thinking about what you’ll serve for this year’s feasts. Probably like you, I serve twice baked potatoes by baking the potato, then scooping out the insides, mixing in all the goodie, then repacking into the skin shells and re-baking. That’s tasty and very traditional, but this version saves you more time by mixing everything together, skins and all into one happy dish, served up in casserole style. Pretty Cool! Our mothers would love it!
I know, I know what you’re thinking. I’m from Idaho and owe it to my home state to defend the lowly potato, but I’m also a dietitian who knows a lot about the health benefits of potatoes. Americans are on this low carb kick which is just another lopsided market-driven attempt to find that elusive/perfect combination/ratio of nutrients for optimum health. (Read more about my perspective on fad diets HERE.) Consequently, high carb potatoes have been banned to outer darkness. To twist an old cliche: When Americans throw out the bath water (useless carbs like white flour) they throw out the baby too! (healthy carbs like potatoes and whole grains) You get the picture.
The problem with this current trend is that potatoes are a complex carbohydrate and super healthy. They’re loaded with so much potassium, vitamin C, manganese and vitamin B-6. They have been shown to help lower blood pressure and contain key antioxidants to help fight inflammation. Do not eliminate them from your diet. The key to eating potatoes is frequency and volume. Keep them around, eat them often, but also remember that a computer mouse-size potato is about 100 calories, not counting all the added ingredients we pile high on top of them to moisten and flavor them. So tone it down, but keep this versatile veggie around.
- Twice Baked Potato Casserole
- 5-6 medium potatoes, scrubbed and dried
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup light sour cream
- 1 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
- 3/4 pound center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled, divided
- 3-4 green onions, sliced, divided
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Cooking Spray
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Rub potatoes with olive oil and salt and place in hot oven. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool for 15 minutes.
- Reset oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Stir in one cup cheddar cheese, sour cream and cream cheese. Set aside 3 Tbsp bacon and 2 Tbsp sliced green onions for the top of the casserole and stir in remaining bacon and green onions. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
- Spoon into an 11 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover dish with foil, place in oven and bake (350 degrees) for 20 minutes. Remove foil and top with reserved shredded cheese and bacon. Cook for another 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
- Top with remaining sliced green onions and serve.