Twice-Baked Potatoes

IMG_3951Every year when I was growing up I requested the same dish for my birthday: twice-baked potatoes. My dad’s version is sinfully delicious and still one of my favorite sides today. It’s full of butter and milk and . . . wait for it, velveeta. Actually, I think my dad’s twice baked potatoes are why I’ve always had an weird obsession with velveeta. I’m not normally into processed foods, but the one exception is the bright orange, perfectly melty, mild cheese known as velveeta.

I love everything about it: how it comes in a giant brick wrapped in foil, how it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, how it’s pliable and soft texture melts in your mouth, and how it makes spectacular variations of macaroni and cheese, nachos, and twice-baked potatoes. I’ve tried to gourmet these potatoes up using fancy cheddar and expensive gruyere, but they never taste as good as my dad’s velveeta version. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

IMG_4291Twice-Baked Potatoes

4 baking potatoes
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of butter
1/2-3/4 cup milk
6 ounces Velveeta
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 slice of cooked bacon, chopped (optional, for topping)
1 green onion, chopped (optional, for topping)

  1. Preheat an oven to 400°F. Wash the potatoes and pierce several times with a fork. Bake the potatoes for 1 hour until soft. Remove from the oven.
  2. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut an oval on top of each potato. Remove the skin. Save the skins for making potato skins or discard. Scoop out the flesh of the potato being careful not to break the skin.
  3. Place the potato flesh in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and cheese and mash the potatoes with a potato masher.
  4. With an electric mixer, beat the potatoes and slowly pour in the milk. Beat until mixture is thick and creamy. Taste test: if mixture is too thick, add more milk. If not cheesy enough, add more cheese. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Scoop the mixture back into the potato skins.
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes until the tops begin to brown. Remove from the oven. If desired, top with additional cheese, bacon bits, and green onions. Bake for 1 minute more, until cheese melts. Enjoy immediately!

Serves 4.


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