Loaded Baked Potato Skins
Potato skins are a favorite of mine. What's not to love about them? It's like a baked potato that you can eat with you hands. I guess you could eat a baked potato with your hands, but might be a little difficult and messy too. A great thing about potato skins is also that they're super easy to make; and they're a crowd pleaser, perfect appetizer for when people come over! So what do you need for these simple, delicious, creations?
Russet Potatoes (the amount you need really depends on how many skins you want to make. I cut them up into quarters so I got 4 pieces per potato)
About 2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Chopped Tomato (optional)
Alrighty, this is just what I put on my potato skins, really you can put what ever you want on them. Make pizza potato skins, put chicken on them, steak whatever you like! This is what I did though, see options are so much fun!
There are two ways to prep these potatoes. The fast way is to bake them in the microwave--this is the way I did them this time because I didn't have the time to bake them in the oven. Just poke some holes in them and pop them in the microwave; don't want exploding potatoes no matter how fun it sounds. Most microwaves even have the convenient "baked potato" button so all you have to to is press it and press the number of potatoes or the approximate weight. I turned them over and around a couple of times while they were cooking. Takes about 10-14 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes and the microwave power.
The other way you can bake the potatoes is to bake them in the oven, it just takes them a lot longer. Preheat the oven to 350 or 375 and again poke some holes in the potatoes to release the heat. This method takes about an hour or so for them to bake. Good thing is, if the center of the potatoes aren't fully cooked it's not a huge deal because the insides get scooped out anyways. I would prefer this method because I feel like the potatoes are a little crisper and easier to handle when shelling out the insides.
Once the potatoes are done, let them sit for about 10 minutes or so. I didn't want to burn my fingers, and still ended up doing so because I'm impatient with the whole waiting thing...which was discussed in my Boston Cream Cupcakes entry.
OK so because I baked my potatoes in the microwave I'm inclined to believe that is why a couple of these potato skins appear to be...falling apart. See? Not everything turns out perfectly first time around. So here I have the potato skins cut up in to quarters and they're shelled out.Make sure to leave enough of the insides of the potato so they're sturdy once the toppings are on. They should have about 1/4 of an inch of potato pulp in them. Place the potato skins on a baking sheet. Take the canola oil and hot sauce and mix them together. Once that's all mixed together brush the oil/hot sauce mix over the skin shells. Now I love hot and spicy foods so I added a little more hot sauce to the oil so it would be just a little spicier. Okie so what's next?
Mmmmm bacon bits and green onion. I loaded these babies up with so much bacon. Why? Because bacon is fricken fantastic and if you don't like bacon...you're wrong. Just don't start to think about the little piggy it came from. Don't do it!! Just think "mmmmm delicious bacon". I also love, love, love green onions. So I loaded the potato skins up with those to. So this is the point where you can add anything you want to these. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, different spices, anything you want! Here is where I added some chili powder and a touch of garlic powder. Not too much to over power the natural flavors of the bacon and green onion and delicious potato, but enough to add that little zip. And next up on these iiiiiiisssssss....
CHEESE!!!!! Oh you can never have too much cheese. Delicious is my word of the day and clearly this is totally valid. Come on, look at those, yummy right? Load these up with as much cheese as desired. And pop them in the oven at 375 for about 10-12 minutes. Enough to get the cheese nice and melted and crisp up the potato skins juuuuuuuuust enough so they won't fold and flop around when you pick them up to devour them. Although if they're loaded up as much as mine where they might fold under the weight of all the toppings anyways. But hey, it's all good!
So while you're standing in front of the oven drooling over the delicious looking potato skins as the cheese is melting and heating everything up wonderfully, just try to contain yourself. Once they're ready they're ready to be shared...or eaten all by yourself. Hey sharing is overrated sometimes.
There you have it. I eat mine with some sour cream on the side to dip. Just ups the delicious factor. So simple and easy to make and sooooo tasty.
Enjoy! Til next time!!