Loaded Baked Potatoes

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Charlie’s car is SO close to being done—all it needs is a transmission swap.  So one of his friends offered to help out with the swap this past Sunday, and I offered to make them dinner!  I figured I would cook a non-diet friendly meal, as they’d be working on the car all day.  As it turned out, the guy was called into work and never let us know….so I bought food for the equivalent of 6 people and Charlie and I were the only ones eating it.  Oh well, their loss—the food turned out AMAZINGLY.  I thought I would have easily gained like 5 pounds after having obeyed my 1100 calorie/day diet, but I ended up losing 2 pounds over the last couple days (down to a total of 17 pounds lost!!).

So, loaded baked potatoes.  These were SO GOOD.  Oh my goodness.  Honestly, I could have this as my full meal and be more than satisfied.  They take a good bit of time, as baking the potatoes takes an hour, but if you have a couple hours to spare, these are well worth the wait.  Now, if you wanted to make this more low calorie, you could definitely eliminate those high calories by using turkey bacon or low sodium bacon, low fat sour cream, and skim milk.  You could probably eliminate up to 50 calories; any little bit helps!  I really didn’t run into any problems while making these, just expect to leave 2 hours to make these start to finish.

YIELD: 12 potato halves

TIME: 2 hours

CALORIES: 460 per half

INGREDIENTS
6 large russet potatoes
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sour cream
12 oz extra sharp cheddar, shredded
1 lb Butcher’s Thick Cut bacon, diced and cooked until crispy

1 Tbsp ranch seasoning (I used Hidden Valley)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo with olive oil
1/4 cup whole milk

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Wash and scrub the potatoes, and poke each several times with a fork.  Bake for 1 hour, until soft and squishy.

Remove from oven and carefully slice each potato in half with a sharp knife.  Be very careful with the skins, as they may be harder after being baked.  Scoop out the flesh while leaving about 1/4″ of potato near the skin, so the form of the potato stays the same.  Add butter to potatoes and mix until smooth.  Add in cream, sour cream, salt, and pepper, and beat for 2-3 minutes.  Once smooth, fill potato skins with mashed potatoes and smooth out with a spoon.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top, and bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the ranch dressing.  Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl until smooth and creamy.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with a generous helping of bacon and ranch dressing.  Consume immediately and enjoy.

Hope y’all enjoy!

xoxo, Sara

original recipe from here

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