FOODIE: Crockpot Crazy / Baked Potatoes

A few weeks ago I posted the first of several recipes I'll share featuring one of my favorite kitchen gadgets - the Crockpot. As I mentioned, it is so easy to use and there is something satisfying about coming home after a long day to a warm meal. Making baked potatoes in your Crockpot is so embarrassingly easy, you'll kick yourself for not trying it before. All you do is wash your potatoes, poke them a few times with a fork, wrap each one with aluminum foil, toss them in the Crockpot and turn it on low for 6-8 hours.

My favorite inexpensive and simple meal to make for a crowd is a baked potato bar with bowls full of fun toppings like bacon bits, chives, chili, cheese, you name it. The potatoes we had this day were a little small, so I decided to make them into Twice Baked Potatoes and serve them for dinner with a salad.

The Internet abounds with easy recipes for them, but I just made up my own using what we had available in the fridge. You start by cutting the potatoes in half lengthwise and carefully scooping the insides out. Dump those into a bowl and add some milk, butter, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste. Mix and mash well. I then stirred in a large handful of shredded cheddar cheese and some chopped ham. After loading up the little potato skin boats, I sprinkled cheese on the top and baked them at 350 degrees in the oven for about 30 minutes. We always have a variety of types and sizes of potatoes at our house (come on, what Idahoan doesn't?!), and this meal is a hit at our house with the kids and adults alike.