Baked potatoes are usually served as a side dish, but in this recipe they are elevated into the main course. Topped with bacon, cheese, sour cream, and green onions, this recipe for baked potatoes makes a simple, delicious dinner meal. Because I bake both the potatoes and the bacon in the oven, this meal requires very little hands-on cooking time. That makes this one of the easiest meals I can make for my family on a busy day.
Bacon and Cheddar Baked Potatoes
4 Yukon Gold Potatoes, preferably organic*
8 slices (half a pound) of bacon, preferably nitrate-free (I prefer Coleman Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon)
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
4 Tb butter, preferably nutrient-dense yellow butter
4 Tb sour cream, preferably from grassfed cows
2 green onions, green parts only
salt and pepper
Wash the potatoes well. Dry the potatoes on a kitchen towel.
Use a fork to stab the potatoes several times on each side.
Place the potatoes directly on the oven rack in the middle of the oven (or, if preferred, you can bake them in an oven-safe baking dish).
Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for about one hour. Smaller potatoes may cook quicker and larger potatoes will likely take a little longer than an hour to cook.
Meanwhile, place the bacon in a 9X13 glass baking dish. I like to go ahead and bake a whole package of bacon at a time, so there will be a little bacon leftover. Spread the slices of bacon out as evenly as possible, and it is fine that there will be a bit of overlap between the slices.
Place the bacon on the bottom rack of the oven. This will allow the bacon to crisp up nicely in the oven. The bacon will need to cook for about 30-40 minutes, until it is done to your preferred level of crispiness. Remove the bacon from the oven once it is as crispy as you prefer.
To check the potatoes for doneness, cover your hands with oven mitts or thick kitchen towels and then very carefully give the potatoes a little squeeze. They will be slightly soft when done.
Once the potatoes are soft, remove them from the oven.
Allow the potatoes to cool for a few minutes. If desired, the bacon can be moved to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain off the excess bacon grease.
In the meantime, thinly slice the green parts of the green onions. Chop the bacon into small pieces. (Kitchen shears work fabulously for chopping the bacon and green onions.)
Shred the cheddar cheese with a box grater.
Place each potato on a plate. Carefully slice the potatoes open. (BEWARE: hot steam will likely come out of the potatoes.)
Add a generous pat of butter to each potato. Sprinkle with salt.
Top the potatoes with the shredded cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and green onions.
If desired, drizzle a bit of the leftover bacon grease on top of each potato. Add a scoop of sour cream to each potato.
Season with freshly ground pepper.
Serve and enjoy!
*Potatoes are one of the worst vegetables for being contaminated with pesticides if they are not grown organically. So it's worth it to buy organic potatoes!
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