Here I am, alive and well! I've been working on revamping my techniques for cooking ahead. Somethings, like lasagna, are really good when you freeze and then thaw and bake. But for the most part, I prefer to have things fresh-made. That does not quite fit with my current lifestyle. ;)
So I have been filling my fridge and freezer with foods that are prepped for fresh cooking. It's a great time saver during the week. My veggies are prepped, my meat is butchered and brined, broth is frozen...you get the idea.
Today I worked on a side dish. What you see below is one of the trays of twice baked potatoes that I made today. (I made 2 1/2 trays.) It was a lot of work, but I made enough for 6-8 meals, depending on how many are here for dinner.
~As I was making these, my family came along and put sloppy joes on top of them. Big hit! I'll have to remember that for later.
~I flash freeze them on these trays, then move them to ziplocs for long-term storage.
~The filling is very versatile. Make them with whatever flavors you like. But I recommend always using the cream cheese and sour cream, otherwise the potatoes tend to get kind of gritty when they thaw.
~I mashed mine down because I wanted mine level, so we can add toppings You could mound it up if you want to. (If you make them level, you'll have extra mashed potatoes to enjoy!)
10# Russet baking potatoes
1 8oz. block cream cheese, softened
1 lg container sour cream
1 stick butter
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp garlic salt
2 C shredded sharp cheddar
2 -4 Tbls dried chives
~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.(If you're eating them that day.)
~Wash the potatoes, and pat dry.
~Prick the skins, and rub skins with oil.
~Place potatoes on a foil-lined pan. (I fit all of them on two large cookie sheets.)
~Bake until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on size.
~Let cool until you can handle them, then scoop the middles out, leaving a small layer of potato in the skin.
~Put the scooped out middled in a large bowl, and put the potato skins back on the trays.
~To the bowl, add cream cheese, sour cream, butter, pepper and salts.
~Mash or blend until desired consistency.
~Mix in cheese and chives.
~Use an ice cream scoop to put filling back into the skins, and mash down.
~Cover with plastic wrap, and freeze.
~When ready to serve, place desired amount of potatoes in baking dish. (Temp is variable, put them in with whatever you are already making.)
~If putting them in the oven frozen, cover with foil. If thawed, you can leave them open.
~Bake until heated through and slightly browned.