Is there anybody else out there who likes Lady Gaga? A lot of people here in Utah aren’t crazy about her, but she’s wildly popular, so I know I can’t be the only one. I first saw her perform on Dancing with the Stars, and I really liked her music. I know this is a cooking blog, and it would be good to have a connection to food. Well, I’ve got one. Don’t forget that costume she once wore made entirely of meat! I know, I thought that was strange, too, but other than that, I really like her. She actually seems very down to earth. I recently saw her being interviewed on TV, and she mentioned that her dad refuses to change his phone number. He’s had the same phone number since before she became famous, and people call him all the time. If she happens to be there, he’ll even hand her the phone and say, “It’s Alicia from Tennessee.” I think that’s cute.
Anyway, she recently did a TV special called “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving,” and it aired on Thanksgiving night. I didn’t watch it that night (I like her, but not enough to break me away from my family on Thanksgiving), but I did record it and watched it a couple of days later. During part of the show, she was in a room full of elementary school kids, and she asked them to name different foods that their families ate on Thanksgiving.
One dish that seems to be on every Thanksgiving table are potatoes. Whether they are mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, scalloped or otherwise, potatoes are a real favorite. That’s why I chose these twice baked potatoes to be the first side dish on my website. They have so many yummy ingredients. I mean, who can turn down potatoes mixed with sour cream, cheese and bacon?
The first thing you’ll need to do is to bake your potatoes. I usually bake mine at 400 for 1 hour and 10 minutes. I also like to use these potato nails to ensure that the middle of the potatoes get cooked well.
Once your potatoes are out of the oven, and they’ve cooled down a bit, you can slice them in half lengthwise and start scooping out the insides, leaving a thin shell.
Now, let’s face it. Empty potato skin halves aren’t exactly pretty, and they’re not all created equal. So pick out the two ugliest step-sisters and get rid of them. That will ensure that the remaining shells will be overflowing with beauty and goodness. Using an electric mixer, mash the scooped-out potato along with the sour cream, butter, cheddar cheese soup, salt, pepper, and garlic. Then switch to a big spoon and mix in the cheese, bacon bits, and chives.
Now it’s time to spoon that cheesy potato mixture back into the shells. I usually begin by placing a big spoonful into each shell. That gives me a better idea of how much is available to go in each one, and then I can start smoothing them out and making them look pretty. Once you’ve got them all looking ship-shape, sprinkle them with a little pixie dust—-I mean paprika. Then bake at 450 for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot.
Serving Suggestions: These potatoes are excellent served with any of the following barbecued dishes:
A Winner Dinners Original Recipe
Makes 14 potato halves. Leftovers can be frozen.
8 medium baking potatoes
1 8-ounce package of sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 10-ounce can cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2-1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
1 3-ounce jar bacon bits
2 tablespoons dried chives
Bake the potatoes at 400 for 1 hour and 10 minutes, and then let them cool for a few minutes. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out the insides leaving a thin shell. Dispose of two of the shells so that the others will be nice and full. With an electric mixer, mash the potatoes with the sour cream, butter, soup, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir in the cheese, bacon bits, and chives, mixing well. Spoon into the shells. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake in a shallow baking dish at 450 for 15 to 20 minutes or until hot.