Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

The potato....probably my greatest weakness on the face of the planet.  There isn't a way you could serve me potatoes that I wouldn't love them...fried, mashed, stuffed, baked, or roasted...YUM!  It makes my mouth water just thinking about these divine veggies.  Are they actually a veggie or is that just the South trying to consider something unhealthy healthy?  We do that you know...not intentionally, we just like to make sure we have a balanced meal!  Sort of....I digress!

Potatoes might be my great downfall but I am 100% ok with that as they make me happy and what more can you ask out of food but to bring you joy and happiness??  

Nothing I tell you!

For a big Sunday dinner in celebration of Memorial Day, and in great thanksgiving to all the brave men and women who have served our country, friends and family gathered for a feast including bourbon beef tenderloin, arugula caesar salad, sauteed mushrooms, buttered rosemary rolls and a new dish I was dying to try, twice baked potato casserole.

One of my favorite sides of all time are my dad's stuffed potatoes.  They have been a staple at family dinners for years so when I came across this recipe on Pinterest I knew it was going to be a keeper!  It was a great side that was easy to make ahead of time, throw in the oven and have piping hot, ready for the dinner table when the rest of the meal was ready!

Twice Baked Potato Casserole
As adapated from www.chef-in-training.com

5 lbs. russet potatoes
10 slices bacon
8 oz. cream cheese softened
1/2 cup butter melted
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chives minced
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese grated
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. 
 
Place potato chunks in a large saucepan, and add enough cold water to cover by about 2 inches. 
 
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. You want to be able to poke it with a fork easily. Drain, return to pan, cover, and set aside (at this point I went ahead and threw in the butter so that the heat would melt it).
 
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until crisp and browned, turning once. Transfer to paper towels to drain; let cool, and crumble into small pieces.
Mash the potatoes in pan until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, and stir until combined and smooth. 
 
Add the chives, 2 cups cheddar cheese, half the bacon, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
 
 
Transfer to a buttered 3-quart baking dish. 
Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake until top is slightly golden and potatoes are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven; garnish with remaining bacon. Serve immediately.

This is my new puppy, Percy, and he likes to lay on the kitchen floor while I cook....evidently we have both become quite attached to each other!
But how can I not be in love when he is so stinking cute????
Being Memorial Day weekend, we were naturally at the pool which was a blast!  Emory is getting so big and has found his place at the pool....sitting in the doorway to Ma's room!
 
He loves playing with the hose even though the pool is just a few feet away...go figure!
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