One of the staples at our house is twice-baked potatoes. I am surprised when I hear people speak of how laborious and time-consuming they are to make. Not ours. They may not be perfectly uniform, but they are fun to make, taste great, and complement many different meats.
This is how we do it here.
Wash a bag of potatoes.
Place in baking dish and bake for an hour (or so) at 400.
Once a fork can be smoothly inserted, they are pronounced "done".
Let them cool for a bit.
Cut each tater in half, lengthwise.
Scoop the "innards" of each half into a gallon size zipper bag.
Place each little carved potato canoe into baking dishes (the one already in use plus one more) or they could even snuggle up together on a cookie sheet.
Now, to the zipper bag of tater guts, add...
salt & pepper
(ranch, if that's how you roll)
Zip up the bag and mix and mash. (The 5 and under crowd LOVES this part)
At this point, if you do not have a "real meat" to offer with dinner and you intend to merely present these twicers plus a salad, you can get your "real meat" credit by lining the bottom of each tater boat with diced ham.
Ham or no ham, now comes the fun part. Snip off a small corner off the bottom of the zipper bag.
Pipe the tater mash into each boat.
Sprinkle with cheese and chives.
(If you don't want to go nuts on cheese and bacon, you can omit them from the bag mix and ONLY add them at the end. But both/and is a fine way to go as well:)
They need another round in the oven whenever you're ready to serve. I usually pop them in the warm oven just to melt the cheese...then the cheese doesn't go everywhere in transport.
How do we love thee, dear twice-baked potato? Let me count the ways....
1. You can be served with breakfast, lunch or dinner.
2. Many parts of your preparation can be done WAY ahead of time.
3. You freeze well.
4. You are reasonably priced.
5. You are so yummy!