Twice baked ranch potatoes

A Side Dish for 6, Using 3 Potatoes

Today I made a steakhouse worthy dinner. I made T- bones, recipe here, with mushrooms and twice baked potatoes. I have added the recipe to cook the perfect steak, with a tutorial video and step by step instructions.  Sure we are eating a T-bone for dinner. Don’t let that fool you because we eat a lot of hamburger. We can afford to eat T-bone on occasion because we are careful how we eat everything else.

But right now, lets talk about those potatoes.

Basically, they are stuffed with whatever I can find to put in them, with three basic ingredients: potatoes, sour cream or plain yogurt, and cheese. Since they are whole potatoes that are cut in half and then stuffed, making one potato into 2 portions.

I like russet but you can use any potatoes you have. Yogurt is especially good in the small new potatoes.

I started by cooking my potatoes on my wood burner, because that’s how I do things. I am frugal. If my wood burner is heating my home why not let it serve dual purposes.  Obviously that is not a requirement for any of my recipes. I put them in a Dutch oven and cooked them until they were fork tender, (and apparently burnt).

Baked potato skins

Perfectionism is not my thing, as you can tell by these burnt bottoms. Sometimes I get really busy. I only burn things when I am blogging. Um yeah.

something is burningUntil my mom passed, I didn’t really understand the impact of burnt food. I remember, as a child, all the times I burnt my toast and mom would say, “Give it to me, I love burnt toast.”  It occurred to me, one day over a plate of burnt toast, that my mom probably didn’t even like burnt toast. But that’s what we do, as moms. We eat burnt toast.


Cook your potatoes in the oven if you don’t have a handy-dandy dutch oven. Just put them on a cookie sheet and cook them until they are tender, about 40 minutes to an hour. The other advantage to smaller potatoes, less cooking time.

When they are done, cut them in half and scoop out the centers.

cut and scooped

Put the centers in a bowl and add the sour cream, or yogurt, and grated cheese.

Now lets talk about the cheese. I used hot pepper and gruyere. You can use any cheese your heart desires. I have never judged a person for the type of cheese they use. Velveeta or American slices; sometimes you make due.

We happen to have a good cheese assortment because we have a nearby cheese house that has extremely great prices. Their cheese is so good too. My family has been shopping there for many generations. I just love Yaggi’s Cheese House. They are located in Ohio, were I live. I can remember going there with my grandmother, Alice, as a kid. They give you cheese samples. They don’t charge an arm and leg for it either.  You know how some places charge you a fortune for cheese but give you free samples? Not at Yaggi’s. They still have old school coolers to grab a soda from. The same coolers they had 40 years ago, probably longer. That’s just what my memory can muster. The best part for my readers? You can have things shipped to you if it is the colder weather days.  They don’t like to ship during the hot months, as the cheeses can be damaged by the heat. So order a lot and freeze it. That is what I do.

I usually also add bacon but I didn’t have any. And since I made these with this yummy steak, recipe is here, I didn’t think anyone would miss the bacon. I added dry ranch and dill to my potatoes and they were really good.

If you want to fancy them up, here are my favorite add ins:

  • dry ranch
  • dried onions
  • chili
  • shrimp
  • green chilies
  • dill
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • rosemary
  • chili powder
  • garlic or onion powder
  • seasoning salt
  • taco seasoning
  • lemon or lime zest
  • bacon
  • jalapenos
  • sweet onions
  • diced red pepper
  • pepperoni
  • sausage
  • green onions
  • buffalo sauce
  • salt and pepper

Once I stuff my tators with my favorite stuff, I put them back into my dutch oven until all the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. The lid makes them cook quicker. One advantage to cooking smaller potatoes is a shorter cooking time. If you make them in the oven it may take a little longer, but the potatoes will come out a little different.  It firms up and the top will crisp up more. I like them both ways but you may want to try them both ways and decide for yourself.

Of course, I forgot to take a picture when the potatoes were hot and bubbly, but I have a picture of them later, after dinner.

stuffed tator

I may, or may not, have been eating that tator for a midnight snack.




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