Throw Back Thursday: Loaded Baked Potatoes

Thursday, December 3, 2015
Loaded Baked Potatoes

One of our favorite, easy, and budget friendly meals to make are baked potatoes.  In the winter time, this is the perfect comfort food, and can be a meal in itself.  In the summer, we love to throw a couple on the grill with our steaks or pork chops.  Either way, you can't go wrong.

Several years ago, we were in one of our favorite (locally owned) grocery stores and we saw that they had potatoes already to cook.  They were seasoned and wrapped in foil so you could either bake them in the oven or throw them on the grill.  We decided to try them (even though they were a little pricey) and man were they the best potatoes I have ever had!  I'm not exaggerating.  They. Were. The. Best.

Every time we went by the store, we always picked some up to bake.  I had played around with trying to make them myself, but I didn't really get serious about it.  Then the price increased and we were paying $1.00 per potato.  I know that doesn't sound like much, but when you can get a 5 lb. bag or even a 10 lb. bag on sale for a couple of dollars the price of $1 per potato is expensive.

So it took me awhile, but I think that I have the recipe figured out.  At least, I have it figured out so that my family loves them!  Of course I don't know what herbs and spices they use to help season the potatoes, but that's okay.  We have figured out what we like and I want to share it with you.

The first step is to pick out potatoes that are very similar in size and shape. That way they will cook evenly. I like to use Russet potatoes.  There is something about the starch content in them, that makes the perfect baked potato.  Once you have your potatoes picked out, you will need to scrub them  until they are clean, but don't scrub so hard the skin comes off, and then dry them (very important!)

Scrubbed potatoes
My potatoes, all nice and clean and waiting for the next step.
When they are clean and dried, you can then season them.  I first get my foil ready by tearing off sheets that I need.  Then I get my other ingredients ready.

baked potato ingredients
Baked potato ingredients...super simple!
I first put a little bit of extra virgin olive oil (you can use regular olive oil) on a piece of foil.  Then I roll the potato around in the oil.  You can also use your hand and make sure that the oil is completely covering the potato.  Then comes your salt.  You want to use coarse salt.  DO NOT USE TABLE SALT.  You will end up with an extremely salty inedible potato.  Trust me! You can see my little baggie above is full of apple wood smoked coarse salt and other seasonings.  I got that from my local farmer's market and love it!  You can use just regular coarse salt such as sea salt, or kosher salt, or even Himalayan salt.  Make sure that the salt and seasonings completely cover the potato.

Oiled and seasoned potato
Oiled, seasoned and ready to bake!
As you can see from the picture above, it is not plastered with salt and seasonings.  You don't want to get too wild. :-)  Next just wrap up your potato and let it sit.  Try and let it sit for a couple of hours.  I made these in the morning and didn't bake them until the evening.  It allows the oil and seasonings to penetrate the skin and flavor the potato. 

Then bake in a 450°F oven for 1 hour, or until potatoes are soft when slightly squeezed.  You can also put these on the grill, or you can put them in your slow cooker on low and cook them for 6-8 hours.  I personally love the oven the best, but I have cooked them in my slow cooker and on the grill.

baked potato bar
Our potato bar
As you can see above, I got our toppings ready.  I tend to use whatever we have on hand or leftover.  For this meal, I steamed some broccoli, and also had some salsa, shredded cheese, onions, and bacon pieces.  And of course butter!  I love it when we have chili left over and I can use that as a topping for our potatoes. 

My baked potato!
Here is my baked potato ready to eat!  I made these during one of the no groceries during the month of November weeks.

I was able to use things that we already had in our pantry or fridge which accounts for the white onions rather than the green, and the addition of steamed broccoli.  These were so good!  This recipe is the only way that we make potatoes now.  I have microwaved them a couple of times since, but they just aren't as good.  They are definitely not as flavorful.  To us it is worth the time to season them up and bake them in the oven.  And you know what the best part is?  The kids will actually eat the potato skin!

If you would like a printable version of the recipe, click HERE.

Please let me know in the comments below what you think of the recipe!  I hope you enjoy it!

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