One of my very favorite side dishes since I was little has been re-baked potatoes. Not the ones that you get in the freezer section at the grocery store or even the ones from a good steakhouse, but the ones that I used to help my mom and sisters make when we were growing up.
For some reason I always remembering having them on Easter Sunday with a ham and green beans. I know that we had them more often than that but that is the surviving memory that I have.
These days I enjoy making an extra large batch every few months and freezing the extras (before baking them the second time) for an easy side dish to go with steaks, chicken or chops. I usually make an entire 5 lbs bag when I make them to ensure that I have plenty of leftovers. Often we make a meal out of them the following day so the entire bag ensures there are some for next week’s steak dinner 😉
One of the key ingredients in this recipe is the cream cheese. Potatoes can taste a little funny when they are reheated and the trick to have them taste as good or better the second time around is to add the cream cheese!
TIP: You can also use this trick when you make mashed potatoes, add an ounce or two of cream cheese when you are mixing them and they will reheat tasting better than the first time!
Here is what you need to gather up to make a batch of your own re-baked potatoes:
5 lbs bag of baking potatoes
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
8oz package of cream cheese, softened
16oz container of sour cream
2 cups shreaded cheese
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 tablespoons of salt
2 tablespoons of garlic powder
1 tablespoon pepper
a splash of milk if needed
Start by scrubbing your potatoes and baking them, 375 degrees for about an hour should do the trick. To keep them from bursting in the oven, I like to prick each one with a fork several times to allow them to vent.
Set them out and let them cool until they are easy to handle. Once then have cooled off enough you can cut them in half and begin scooping the center into a large mixing bowl. I like to leave about 1/8 of an inch of potato along the edge next to the skin to give it a little more strength. I also scoop out and throw away the black spots if I find any.
Next, cut the butter and cream cheese into chunks to make it a little easier to mix. I also add my garlic, salt and pepper. You can use a hand potato masher but it can get a little tiresome with such a large batch. I prefer to use a hand held electric mixer when I make a big batch.
Once the butter and cream cheese are mixed in add the sour cream and mix until it is incorporated as well. This is the point that you might need to add a splash of milk to get every thing to mix well. Be careful not to add more than maybe a 1/4 of a cup. If you add too much they can be too runny and you might have a hard time keeping them together when you scoop them back into the skins.
Add the shredded cheese and green onion. At this point I mix it by hand with a wooden spoon. I don’t like the cheese and the onion to get too mashed up. I usually taste the mixture at this point to make sure I don’t need to season it any more.
The overall flavor gets much better once they are baked for the second time and the onions start to cook but you can tell if you need to add a little more salt or pepper or maybe a bit more garlic.
Spoon the mixture back into the skins. Place the ones that you are going to bake in a shallow baking dish. If you are going to freeze part of your batch do it now, before they are baked the second time.
To freeze; set them in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm them up then wrap them individually in plastic wrap. I throw them in a large zip top bag (just to keep them from rolling around every time I open the door) and put them back into the freezer.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minute or until the cheese is melted and they start to slightly brown on top. Bake them long enough to melt the cheese and cook the onions slightly. If you are cooking frozen potatoes I like to set them out at room temperature for 30 minutes then bake them at 300 for closer to an hour.
- 5 lbs bag of baking potatoes
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
- 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
- 16oz container of sour cream
- 2 cups shreaded cheese
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- 3 tablespoons of salt
- 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- a splash of milk if needed
- Scrub potatoes, prick with a fork and bake until soft, allow to cool
- Cut in half length wise and scoop contents into large mixing bowl
- Add butter and cream cheese, mix with hand mixer until combined
- Add sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper and mix again
- Add shredded cheese and green onions and mix by hand
- Scoop mixture back into the potato shells
- Freeze the portions you will not be eating that day.
- Bake the potatoes in a shallow baking dish for 30-45 minutes or until cheese is melted and the tops begin to brown.