Twice Baked Potato Recipe_________

Potatoes are wonderful in that they are open to a multitude of flavor additions and cooking methods.  Here are two family favorites, both well worth
the extra effort. 

Do not allow the potatoes to cool completely before cutting. The flesh will become gummy.

Twice Baked Potatoes
Serves 4

4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed, dried and lightly rubbed with vegetable oil
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, or your favorite variety
1/2 cup sour cream, regular or fat-free
1/2 cup whole milk or buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.  Bake potatoes until tender and skin is crisp, about 1 hour.  Let cool on wire rack, about 10 minutes.  Using an oven mitt, cut
each potato in half lengthwise.  Using a small spoon, scoop out the warm potato flesh from each half into a bowl, leaving a 1/4 inch border of flesh in each shell. Season with salt and return prepared shells to the oven to crisp slightly and maintain a firm texture, about 5 minutes

Meanwhile, mash potato flesh with the remaining ingredients until well combined and smooth.   Remove shells from oven and set to broil.  Spoon
mixture into the shells, mounding slightly.  Broil until browned in places and heated throughout, about 10 minutes.  Alternatively, bake in a 350F
oven for about 15 minutes. 

Flavorings for Twice Baked Potato Recipe
Use alone or in combination

Adjust amounts of butter, sour cream and milk to prevent an overly moist potato mixture

Crisp, crumbled bacon , about 8 strips

1 small onion, finely diced and sautéed in butter until soft

1 tablespoon minced chipolte in adobe sauce

1-2 tablespoons parsley, cilantro or chives

1-2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic, sautéed in butter or olive oil until slightly browned

1-1/2 cups cooked vegetables, such as peas, corn and small diced green beans, broccoli or cauliflower

1/3 cup pesto, pasta sauce, eggplant spread or other favorite prepared sauce

Baked Potato Soup
Serves 4-6 for a main course

4 large baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour, all purpose
1-1/2 quarts milk
Salt and pepper to taste
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup light sour cream
2 cups crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled
5-ounces grated cheddar cheese
Hot sauce or ground red pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350F and bake the potatoes until fork tender. Melt butter
in a medium saucepan. Slowly blend in flour with a wire whisk until thoroughly blended. Gradually add milk to the butter flour mixture, whisking
constantly. Whisk in salt and pepper and simmer over low heat, stirring

Cut potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh and set aside. When milk mixture is very hot, whisk in potato and green onion. Whisk well, add sour cream and crumbled bacon. Heat thoroughly. Add cheese a little at a time until it is completely melted.  Add hot sauce or red pepper to taste