Todays post is quick and easy to throw together and serves as a wonderful side dish but the versatility allows you to use leftovers to turn this into a main entree! The fun thing about it though is that you can make several ahead of time and freeze them to use in a jiffy at a later date. Reheating may then be done either in the oven or microwave, so this is a win win either way you look at it.
Back when we had people over for dinner on a regular basis, this was a go-to dish for me that I served just about every time. It was a great way to round out the meal without taking any additional prep time and they always got rave reviews. I don’t get to have folks over nearly as often these days, much to my dismay. With the kids getting older and having activities of their own amidst our every quickening schedules, our focus has turned to making sure we get to spend our quality time together as a family.
Things sure were different when I was little though! Its amazing but almost every memory I have of our dinner table growing up includes my mother, father, sister, brother, and at least one or two “extras”. No matter how tight our grocery budget or schedule was, Mama always found time and managed to feed more.
Usually it was a rookie police officer my dad was training, they were riding around in the patrol car so if Daddy was to come home for supper we couldn’t hardly not feed them as well. Sometimes it was a random uncle or bachelor friend of the family and as we got older our friends also clamored into the mix as they got to see that a full supper at our house wasn’t a special occasion but a daily event. There were two kids (well, they were teens at the time) who took to eating at our house and literally ate supper with us every single night for about two years. Mama and Daddy always said that if anything ever happened to them, they hoped someone would do the same for us.
Inviting folks over to dinner is one of those “oldie but goodie” practices that is, in my mind, the ultimate show of welcoming and graciousness towards your neighbors and friends. I’d love to hear from you why you do or don’t have folks over more often. Is it time constraints? Budget? Lack of time alone as a family?
But mostly, I’d love for you to answer a question my mother posed to me recently (because Mama and I sit and come up with the strangest things to talk about from time to time):
If you could have dinner with any living person,
who would it be and why?
I know y’all are going to have some great answers to this so I’m gonna hold off on my answer until I read a few of yours! I’ll post mine in the comments along with y’all. There are no limits here aside from it being a living person.
How bout some loaded ‘taters?
I’m going to show you the ingredients I use but the best stuffed potatoes are the ones made to your individual tastes.
I’ve seen folks add milk, tomatoes, leftover chicken or bbq (yum!), mayonnaise, ricotta cheese, fresh or dried herbs, etc.
The sky is the limit here.
For mine, I use: A few tablespoons of margarine, pre-cooked chopped bacon, green onions, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. I also use a little salt and pepper.
Bake your potatoes and cut them in half lengthwise like this.
*I bake my potatoes by starting them in the microwave on about five minutes, then transferring to a 450 degree oven for about an hour. Sometimes I rub them down with a little cooking oil and sprinkle some coarse sea salt on them before baking like my Great grandmother did. MMM-MM Good!
Scoop out the pulp but leave enough that the skin still has a bit of shape to it. You’ll see what I mean in the next photo.
See? Here are the hollowed out potatoes.
To your pulp, add the margarine, sour cream, salt, and pepper.
Mash up well with a potato masher or just a fork.
Add cheese, mash in.
Like this. Oh my that looks good already!
Add all other toppings.
Stir up well.
Resist urge to eat entire bowl as is.
Decide you want a little bit of garlic powder and add that too…
Whatever cranks yer tractor.
Spoon back into your shells.
Now I’m going to take a few and sprinkle with cheddar cheese to bake right now for our supper.
The rest I’m placing in the freezer. My pan has a lid so I’m using that until they are frozen and then placing them in zipper seal bags. You don’t have to cover them for the initial freeze though.
Just place a pan in the freezer for about an hour and then place in zipper sealed bags and return to freezers.
This initial freezing outside of the bag is called “flash freezing” and will keep them from sticking to each other in the bags.
I will prepare and someday my chance will come.
~Abraham Lincoln. To submit your quote, click here.
If you’re wondering if I need or would like more quotes submitted, the answer is always “YES!!!”