Twice Baked Potato Casserole...a Family Favorite!

 
 
These are probably our favorite potatoes in my family.  They are the potatoes I always make for most holiday and special occasion meals.  Of course, there really isn't a potato most of us have ever met and didn't like.   Potatoes tend to be a big part of our diet in Kentucky.  Rice has become more popular through the years, but the potato still reigns supreme here.   These are not hard to make at all, I can even do it in one pot if I use my cast iron that can go from stove top to oven.  Also, even though the original recipe has good rich things like butter and cream cheese, you can make low-fat substitutions which also will taste very good.    Here is what you will need:

6 large potatoes (7 or 8 if they are on the small side)
4 oz. cream cheese
2 Tbs. butter
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup real bacon bits or 5 strips of crisp fried bacon
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
1 tsp salt (to salt the water the potatoes are cooked in)
1/2 tsp.black pepper
1/2 tsp.seasoned salt

If you want a lighter, lower fat version of this, you can use margarine instead of butter, light cream cheese, low fat buttermilk, and fat free plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream.

Peel and cut the potatoes in large chunks. You don't have to dice these small because you will be smashing them anyway.  Salt your boiling water (as you would for pasta) and bring to a boil, turn down to simmer until fork tender.  Drain the potatoes in a colander well. I use my cast iron so I can cook the potatoes, mash and mix and return to the pan to finish in the oven.  You can put them in a casserole dish to bake also and for company, I usually do.

Place the drained potatoes back in the warm pan, but not on the hot burner or they will scorch on the bottom.  Have you ever scorched potatoes in the pan?  It's a mess!  Add the cream cheese and the butter.  Place the cover back on the pan and leave it for about 10 or 15 minutes.  The cream cheese and the butter will soften and melt and make it really easy to mash the potatoes.  Using a good old fashioned potato masher, mash the potatoes, cream cheese and butter up a little.   Don't over mash at this point, you still have good things to add.
Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mash some more.   I like to leave mine with a some chunks in them, but if you prefer you can mash them smooth. 

Add the ranch dressing mix, black pepper, and seasoned salt and stir.  Fold in the bacon bits, half of the cheddar cheese and the Parmesan cheese.  
Smooth the mixture down and sprinkle the rest of the cheddar cheese on top. I sometimes also put a little of the bacon on top.  If you are baking in a casserole dish, you will need a two quart dish sprayed with cooking spray.    Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 -30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown.
It should be hot and bubbly when you remove it from the oven.  You can garnish the top with some more bacon, chives or sliced green onions at this point.
 
 



 











18 comments:

  1. Found you via Facebook! :-) LOVE your blog already! I'm your newest follower! :-)

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    1. Thank you so much! Glad you found us!

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  2. Another fantastic recipe!!

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  3. Iam glad I found this blog this recipe looks yummy

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  4. LOVE this blog!!

    Can regular milk be used, or does it have to be butter milk??

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    1. I don't know the answer, but I do buy the dry canned buttermilk and keep it in the frig. Then when a recipe calls for buttermilk I have it on hand. You just use water for the amount of buttermilk needed and add the appropriate amount of dry buttermilk.

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  5. Never use margarine. Its the worst thing you can put in your body. Stick with butter; tastes better, natural, and better for you.

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  6. Tried it for easter dinner...the kids loved it..wasnt any leftover

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  7. I'm going to give this a try this weekend. Really enjoy all the yummy recipes :)

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  8. I'm planning to make this tonight for a potluck but am using red potatoes. Thinking I might leave the skins on, has anyone else tried it this way? And is the greek yogurt the same flavor as sour cream when cooked?

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  9. You mention using margerine instead of butter for lowfat version. They have the SAME amount of calories!

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    1. Lower fat is not the same as lower in calories. Some reduced fat margarines have 40 -60% less fat than butter.

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  10. What does the Ranch Dressing do for this recipe ?
    Not a fan of Ranch.
    Can it be omitted?

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