Friday, October 11, 2013

Loaded Skillet Potatoes

Sometimes there is nothing better than the taste of loaded cheese fries or potato skins. When we recently had some friends over for dinner, I couldn't decide what to make for a side dish. Should I go with humble baked potatoes? Or did the occasion call for creamy whipped potatoes? Better yet, should I make some crisp homemade chips? Finally, after much deliberation, and a longing for the smell of bacon, I decided to take all of my favorite flavors of cheese fries and turn them into a one pot side with my oven potatoes. By using the bacon drippings, the flavor is throughout the dish and adds that extra little "umph" that makes this dish so great. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of this dish. It is perfect for company or just a night alone.
4 Strips Thick Cut Bacon
2 Tablespoons Butter/Margarine
4 Idaho Potatoes, Peeled and Cubed
1 pinch Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar
3 Green Onions, Sliced

1. Heat a large, cast iron skillet over medium heat. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the bacon into chunks directly into the skillet. Cook over medium heat to render the fat and crisp the bacon; this takes about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the drippings behind, and place on a paper towel. Set aside.
2. Carefully place the butter/margarine into the pan with the bacon grease. Melt.
3. Gently add the cubed potatoes to the hot butter. Sprinkle with pepper. Stir to completely coat each potato chunk in butter and bacon grease.
4. Cover with aluminum foil.
5. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven. Allow to bake for 20 minutes.
6. Remove the foil and stir. Place back in the oven, uncovered, for another 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
7. Top with cheese, reserved bacon, and onions. Cover with foil.
8. Return the pan to the oven for 5 minutes.
9. Serve immediately with ketchup, ranch dressing, or sour cream.

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