Smashed & Baked Parmesan Potato

I really do like a good baked potato but they get pretty routine so I thought I’d change it up a bit.   I LOVE freshly grated  Parmesan cheese and put it on a lot of things-roasted broccoli, freshly popped pop corn-the list is endless. I always have a block in the fridge to use for whatever.  That ‘whatever’ happened to be the potato that night.  And it was absolutely delicious!! The soft inside of the potato, some crunchy outside bits from the baking and then the salty nutty Parmesan makes one awesome potato.  I would also consider topping with bacon pieces, chives etc..

Since it was just me eating dinner that night I only made one but you could make as many of these as you need.


Smashed & Baked Parmesan Potato


  • 1 russet potato
  • 3-5 pats butter (to taste/size)
  • 3-6 tbsp parmesan cheese, freshly grated (to taste/size)
  • salt & pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven with broiler.
  2. With a fork poke holes all over the potato and nuke in microwave for 5-8 minutes until fork tender.
  3. Place the potato in a small, foil-lined baking pan.  Smash it with a masher or meat tenderizer-flattening it but leaving it rugged and airy. 
  4. Place the pats of butter on top and then sprinkle with the Parmesan.
  5. Place under boiler, watching carefully, until cheese melts and the ends of the potato get crispy.
  6. Serve with additional grated cheese if desired.

Note: use a microplane to grate the cheese if you have one. If not use the grater that will give you the finest grate.


Twice Baked Potatoes

I love potatoes and don’t make them often enough. I found the original recipie for these in a great book by America’s Test Kitchen and tweaked it to taste. I omitted the Pepper Jack Cheese that the recipe called for and used cheddar instead because, in my opinion, nothing goes better with bacon than cheddar. These potatoes came out great-crispy skin, great textured filling-and the taste was really great.




  • 4 russet potatoes (7 to 8 ounces each), scrubbed, dried, and rubbed lightly with vegetable oil
  • 8 strips bacon cut cross-wise into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (about 1 cup) **don’t use pre-shredded**
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of chives, chopped small
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • Ground black pepper

For garnish: extra sour cream, extra chives, extra bacon and extra shredded cheese.


Preheat oven to 400.

Place potatoes on a microwave safe dish, poked many times with a fork, and microwave on high until a fork inserted into the thickest part goes into the flesh easily and they feel soft. Set them aside and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

Fry bacon in medium skillet over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove bacon to paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside.

Following illustration below, using an oven mitt or folded kitchen towel to handle hot potatoes, cut each potato in half so that blunt sides will rest on work surface. Using a small dinner spoon, scoop flesh from each half into medium bowl, leaving a 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness of flesh in each shell. Arrange shells on foil lined baking sheet and place them in the oven until dry and slightly crisped, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mash potato flesh with fork until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients, including bacon and pepper to taste, until well combined.

Remove shells from oven and change oven setting to broil. Holding shells steady on pan with oven mitt or towel-protected hand, spoon mixture into crisped shells, mounding slightly at the center, and return to oven. Broil until spotty brown and crisp on top, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Notes from ATC:

The Right Slice

Most potatoes have two relatively flat, blunt sides and two curved sides. Halve the baked potatoes lengthwise so the blunt sides are down once the shells are stuffed, making them much more stable on the pan during the final baking.

Why this recipe works:

We had a head start on our twice-baked potato recipe, having already developed a recipe for the Best Baked Potato. Starting there, we let the baked potatoes cool slightly before slicing them open and removing the flesh. We found that we could keep the skins from turning soggy and flabby by keeping them in the oven while making the filling. And for the filling we found it best to combine the potato with a tangy dairy ingredient like sour cream or yogurt, a small amount of butter, and ingredients with strong flavors like cheddar cheese, bacon, or chipotle peppers. For a perfect finish, we placed the filled potatoes under the broiler, where they turned brown and crisp.

Baked Potato Soup-slow cooker

The really chilly weather is here and I’ve been looking for a great potato soup recipe. I came across Pink Parsley’s recipe and adjusted it a bit to lessen the calories and also more to my taste. I used light cream and light cheese. It came out so well and even better-it’s lighter! Below is my version. This soup is FABULOUS!!! It’s really easy to make and you can adjust the toppings to whatever you’d like. Make it SOON!! You’ll be happy you did!

Baked Potato Soup

  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 2 tbsp bacon grease (I keep some in the fridge. If you don’t cook the bacon for the toppings and keep 2 tbsp in the pan)
  • 5 small-medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp AP flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 lbs Russet potatoes (about 4), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 8oz light sharp cheddar cheese, grated, (do not use pre-grated)
  • 3oz light colby jack cheese, grated, (do not use pre-grated)
  • 1/2 cup of light cream
  • 1/2 cup of light sour cream
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided


  • light sharp cheddar cheese, grated (do  not use pre-grated)
  • sliced scallions
  • crispy bacon pieces
  • light sour cream

Place 2 tbsp bacon grease in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until browned.  Then add the garlic, thyme, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes until everything becomes fragrant. Then stir in the flour, stir it constantly for a minute or so until the flour is no longer white. Then stir in one cup of the chicken broth, scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan, until the mixture has thickened. Then pour it into the slow cooker.

To the slow cooker add the remaining 3 cups chicken broth, all of the potatoes, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

After 5 hours test a piece of potato to make sure it’s cooked through. If not cook it for a bit longer, until they’re to desired texture.  When the potatoes are done cooking place 3 cups (without liquid) into a bowl, add the light cream, and mash until smooth. Add them back into the slow cooker, stir in the sour cream and cheddar cheese. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is melty and has come together.  You can cook the bacon for the topping during the last 10 minutes.

Serve hot topped with sour cream, grated cheese, scallions and bacon bits or anything else you’d like on top.

Other topping ideas: crispy pancetta, a squirt of Dijon mustard, chives, creme fraiche–whatever you like!

Loaded Potato Bites

This is another dish that I brought to my Mom’s for Thanksgiving (with the Kalamata Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Crostini). This can be served as an app or an accompanyment to the main dish. Since we did a buffet-style I set these out for dinner like a make-your-own with the potato cakes on one plate and bacon pieces, shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped scallions for people to top their own. The cakes were very easy to make and they were delicious. I made them at home on Thanksgiving morning then let them cool on paper towels and then brought them to my Mom’s and reheated in a baking dish in the oven.  I didn’t have time to fancy up the plate as people had already started eating, but you get the idea below with the plate of cakes and toppings around it in the background. The cakes came out to be about 2 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.  The recipe made about 25 give or take a few.

Loaded Potato Bites

Potato Cakes

  • Instant Mashed Potatos-1 packet.
  • Any ingredients needed on the packet to make the potatoes
  • 2/3  cup Colby Jack cheese, grated. Do NOT use pre-grated.
  • 1.5 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp chives, chopped very small


  • 3 scallion bunches, chopped small, for topping
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled, for topping
  • 1 small container of Fat Free Sour Cream, for topping
  • 3/4 cup colby-jack cheese, grated. Do NOT use pre-grated.

In a large bowl mix all ingredients for the Potato Cakes above (including the ingredients for the potato packet) until well incorporated.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, spray with cooking spray, take about a walnut-sized bit of the potato mixture, roll it into a ball and flatten it evenly. Place in pan. Repeat until there are a few in the pan-but you’ll have room to flip them over. Cook on both sides, place on paper towels to cool OR on a plate in the oven to keep warm at a low temperature. Repeat until all of the cakes are cooked.

Serve them warm either topped or not and let your guests top them as they like.