Friday, March 18, 2011

Creamy Potato Bake

I don't know about you, but this Spring weather just makes me want to be outside ALL THE TIME! I'm also training for my 11K in Atlantic City in a few weeks so when I run after work in the nice weather, it kind of cuts into my dinner prep by the time I get home. Hence, I've really become inspired watching Rachael Ray's new show "Week in a Day" and have even tried myself the last two weeks to plan/grocery shop/cook ahead and I gotta say, it really helps!

I've also really been into casseroles lately-it helps make my workweek dinners quicker and easier. I used to think casseroles were always filled with comfort fat filled foods but you can make it as healthy or unhealthy as you want, hehe! You can also just have a casserole dish with a side, so you just have to whip up chicken or steak, etc and cuts down your cooking time.I had some leftover yukon potatoes and a pork loin in the fridge that I wanted to use this week and then I came across this recipe came from Simple Daily Recipes (Loaded Potato Potluck favorite). Who doesnt't love mashed potatoes? Then add some crumbled bacon and ooey gooey cheese baked in the oven! Yum! So, decision was made. Peppered pork loin, salad, and loaded baked potato potluck for dinner on Thursday night. I did change up some of Simple Daily Recipe's recipe and I added some Basil Bee influence in this and used turkey bacon (to stay a little bit on the healthier side) and also added some Kraft Savory Garlic cooking creme to this recipe. I love garlic to much and we all know I am in love with the new cooking creme's from the last few of my posts!

Here's the starting line up...
  • 8 medium potatoes (about 2 1/2 to 3 lb. total), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup CARNATION Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups (8-oz. pkg.) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 6 slices cooked turkey bacon, crumbled, divided
  • Sliced green onions (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Kraft Savory Garlic cooking creme
Place potatoes in large saucepan.  Cover with water; bring to a boil.  Cook over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Grease 3-quart casserole dish.
Return potatoes to saucepan; add evaporated milk, sour cream, cooking creme, salt and pepper.  Beat with hand held mixer or mash by hand until smooth.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese and half of bacon.  Spoon mixture into prepared casserole dish
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.  Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, remaining bacon and green onions.  Bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Makes 16 servings.
This casserole can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated.  Cover with foil and bake at 350ºF for 40 to 45 minutes or until heated.  Uncover; top with cheese, bacon and green onions; bake for an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

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