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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chew on This | Bulk Baking - Twice Baked Potatoes

I don't very often feed 30 or more people at one time. Yet I often feel inclined to triple or quadruple a recipe to make enough portions to feed a crowd that large. I think it's a genetic thing.  

It comes from Mimi. And by example, Mimi taught my sister and me that bulk baking (or cooking) was a practice that just made sense. You make a favorite, freezer friendly recipe in a larger quantity and store away the extra portions in the freezer for a later date. It's not rocket science by any stretch, but it's such a genius idea when meal inspiration or time is sparse. 

For example, these potatoes were wasting away in my pantry. It was shameful. Brainstorming, I finally struck on an idea and I was soon stuffing 32 potato halves with a delicious mashed potato filling topped with cheese, bacon and chives. Delicious!

Bulk baking doesn't have to be done on a huge scale or to stuff a freezer with limited space to bursting.  It can be done when the urge to cook grabs you or when an especially good deal pops up at the grocery store. Like two weeks back, boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale and I spent some extra time making a bunch of Baked Coconut Chicken Strips (recipe to come soon!) to put into the freezer for another day. 

Making zucchini bread with your bumper crop? Why not make 3 or 4 loaves instead of 1. Wrap and freeze the extras for a special summery treat over the winter. You get the idea - bulk baking offers you the ability to enjoy homemade, delicious food when you don't feel like or have the time to make a delicious homemade meal. 

So today, my first Bulk Baking offering for you is the glorious and delicious Twice Baked Potato! They're so good you may not have the discipline to freeze them all. However, if you do decide to save some for later, wrap them carefully and place into the freezer before their second visit into the oven. Enjoy!


Here's our recipe:

Twice Baked Potatoes
(makes 32 servings*)
16 medium potatoes
1/2 C cream
1/4 C sour cream
1 t garlic
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 T butter
1/2 -1 C chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese - divided 
8 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
3 T chopped chives

Preheat oven to 350℉. 

Scrub clean your potatoes and place them on a baking sheet. Place potatoes into the oven and bake for 60 minutes. When done, remove from the oven and allow potatoes to cool enough until you are able to handle them. Slice potatoes lengthwise and scoop out the majority of the flesh and place it into a large bowl. Put your potato skin "shells" back onto your baking sheet(s).

To make your filling, add your cream, sour cream, garlic, salt, pepper and butter to the potato flesh. Mix with a hand mixer until thoroughly incorporated. Next, add your chicken stock, 1/4 C at a time and mixing after each addition, until creamy. Fold in 3/4 C of your shredded cheddar.

Spoon your mixture into your potato "shells" and then top with remaining cheddar cheese, bacon and chives. If eating now, place the potatoes back into the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. 

If storing for later, individually wrap each potato with plastic wrap and place them into gallon freezer bags and place into the freezer. (They're best if eaten within 3 months) When ready to eat, remove your desired amount of potatoes from the freezer, unwrap, place on a baking sheet and place into a 350℉ oven for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

*Hey there! You certainly don't have to make 32 servings! Just cut this recipe in half, thirds or quarters for your desired amount!

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