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Loaded Baked Potatoes

Ultimate Loaded Baked Potatoes: A Hearty and Delicious Comfort Food Classic

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Loaded Baked Potatoes are the epitome of comfort food – hearty, indulgent, and packed with flavor. This classic dish is perfect for satisfying cravings and comforting the soul, especially during colder months. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through how to make the ultimate Loaded Baked Potatoes from scratch, along with tips, variations, and even keto-friendly and low-carb versions for those looking to enjoy this dish while keeping it healthier.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium to large Russet Potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 small broccoli crown, cut into bite-size florets
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Potatoes: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Scrub the potatoes clean and pat them dry with paper towels. Pierce each potato several times with a fork. Rub the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle them generously with kosher salt. Place them on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with a fork.
  2. Cook the Bacon: While the potatoes are baking, cook the bacon slices in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Once cooled, chop the bacon into small pieces and set aside.
  3. Steam the Broccoli: In a pot with a steamer basket, bring water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets to the steamer basket and steam for about 3-4 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Remove the broccoli from the steamer basket and set aside.
  4. Prepare the Toppings: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Once melted, stir in the sour cream until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until ready to use.
  5. Assemble the Loaded Potatoes: Once the potatoes are baked and tender, remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly. Carefully slice each potato in half lengthwise, then fluff the insides with a fork.
  6. Add the Toppings: Spoon the butter-sour cream mixture over each potato half, then top with shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. Add the steamed broccoli florets and chopped bacon on top of the cheese.
  7. Final Touches: Return the loaded potato halves to the oven and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from the oven and garnish with sliced green onions.
  8. Serve and Enjoy: Serve the loaded baked potatoes hot, straight from the oven. Enjoy the creamy, cheesy goodness with the crispy bacon, tender broccoli, and fresh green onions.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option: Omit the bacon for a vegetarian-friendly version of this dish. You can also add other toppings like sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, or roasted bell peppers for added flavor.
  • Customize the Cheese: Feel free to experiment with different types of cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss, or Colby Jack, to create your own unique flavor profile.
  • Spice it Up: Add a dash of hot sauce or sprinkle of red pepper flakes for a spicy kick.

Keto Versions and Low-Carb Options:

  • Cauliflower Substitute: Replace the potatoes with roasted or mashed cauliflower for a low-carb alternative.
  • Bacon Alternatives: Use turkey bacon or vegetarian bacon bits to reduce the fat content for a keto-friendly option.
  • Dairy-Free: Substitute dairy-free alternatives such as vegan cheese and coconut-based sour cream for those following a dairy-free or vegan diet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Can I use other types of potatoes? While Russet potatoes are traditional for loaded baked potatoes, you can also use Yukon Gold or red potatoes for a slightly different texture and flavor.
  2. How do I store leftovers? Store any leftover loaded baked potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven until heated through before serving.
  3. Can I make these ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the baked potatoes and toppings ahead of time. Store the cooked potatoes and toppings separately in the refrigerator, then assemble and bake just before serving.

Loaded Baked Potatoes are a classic comfort food dish that never fails to impress. With their crispy skin, fluffy interior, and irresistible toppings, they’re sure to be a hit at any meal. Whether you’re serving them as a side dish or a main course, these ultimate loaded baked potatoes are guaranteed to satisfy your cravings and leave you feeling warm and satisfied. So gather your ingredients and get ready to enjoy a delicious and hearty meal that’s perfect for any occasion!

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