Monday, December 5, 2016

Impromptu Steak and Potatoes

My good buddy Joe knows I’m once again dog sitting and bachin-it so on Friday he said he would plan to come over on Sunday, which sounded great to me.  Later that evening he called back to offer a different plan – he and Carol would both come over and bring steaks and salad – for some reason they think I’m a good steak cooker but I don’t think so.

At Carol’s request, my contribution to the meal was to be twice baked potatoes, which is one of my favorites and I was happy to do.  I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe but didn’t follow it too closely.

8 baking potatoes, washed (I used 6 large ones)
3 tablespoons canola oil (use just enough to coat them)
2 sticks salted butter (I used 1½ sticks)
1 cup bacon bits (see note 1 below)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup Cheddar or Jack cheese (I used about 1¼ cups cheddar)
1/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons seasoned salt (I used Lawry's)
3 green onions, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper

Larry note 1:  Since I didn’t want to trash the cooktop, I diced a pound of bacon into 1/2 “ pieces and cooked them over low heat in a high sided sauce pan until nicely brown.  It takes a while to render enough fat but once the pieces are all submerged, they quickly become a nice crispy golden brown.  Then I removed them with a slotted spoon, drained on paper towels, measured out the needed one cup, and saved the rest.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Rub them with the canola oil and bake for 1 hour, making sure they're sufficiently cooked through.
3. Slice the butter into pats. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the bacon bits and sour cream. Remove the potatoes from the oven. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F.
4. With a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scrape out the insides into the mixing bowl, being careful not to tear the shell. Leave a small rim of potato intact for support. Lay the hollowed out potato shells on a baking sheet. (See note 2)
5. Smash the potatoes into the butter, bacon and sour cream. Add the cheese, milk, seasoned salt, green onions and black pepper to taste and mix together well. (IMPORTANT: If you plan to freeze the twice-baked potatoes, do NOT add the green onions.)
6. Fill the potato shells with the filling. I like to fill the shells so they look abundant and heaping.

Larry note 2:  When my mom made these she did not oil the potatoes and the skins were always crispy and hard to damage, but the oil keeps them pretty tender.  You real cooks likely already know this, but I found that if I went around the potato flesh with the slanted point of the knife, it made the potato scoop out easier and left just the amount of potato I wanted on the inside.   

Top each potato with a little more grated cheese (I used sliced cheddar and pepper jack) and pop 'em in the oven until the potato is warmed through, 15 to 20 minutes.

For the steaks, I sprinkled with Montreal Steak Seasoning about 45 minutes before cooking and let them come to room temperature.  I cooked them on a hot gas grill to 120F internal for mine and 135F for theirs.

Carol also provided garlic bread and a delicious salad for the meal.  

My meal was delicious, but I got Joe's steak too done - hate it when I do that and think I need to check my Thermapen.  It was a beautiful day (cold and steady rain, just like we need) and I loved having to be out in it (under cover of course) grilling the meat.  Hopefully we’ll get the predicted several more days of rain to really soak the dry ground.  For those of you who've asked, we live about an hour from where the big fires were in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge – what a heart breaking tragedy.

As always Sunday was a fun visit and I believe we all walked away satisfied - I love these little throw together events.

And what are the three girls doing while I hold down the fort you asked.

And for breakfast Monday morning, as you might expect.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


12/4/16 event date


  1. What a wonderful looking steak dinner, and breakfast equally yummy as well.

  2. I'm not sure I've ever made twice baked potatoes, except the ones I made for breakfast with a poached egg tucked inside. I would have bet my right arm that you were a confident steak cooker. I feel the same way, and am always nervous when I start out. I would like to report that I do make a good steak and egg breakfast and that's only because I take a nice thick tenderloin and slice in in half so I have two pieces that are not so thick - a quick pan fry and it's good to go.

  3. Larry, It's been a long time since I've had a twice baked potato! That is a great looking meal! Even the garlic bread looks outstanding. The ladies really have had it tough while you're holding down the fort! I should have anticipated that one of those twice baked potatoes would end up with an egg on it! You are the man! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  4. Oh man - that egg and potato look terrific - so does your steak and the beach, and well all of it! Thank goodness for the rain :)

  5. twice baked potatoes are a family favorite here at the Knapp house.


  6. Glad you are out of the fire danger. So sad!!!

    I think your whole meal looks perfect! Twice baked potatoes are one of my favorites. Bummer about the Thermapen - I hate it when I overcook meat too. Perfect leftover potato breakfast!! Glad the girls are having a fun time.

  7. I'm not a fan of baked potatoes, but I do like a little bit of a twice baked potato. The whole meal looks good, and I like that Carol put almonds in her salad - I do that, too, sometimes with diced apples.

    That whole fire was scary. Kellie called and texted me almost constantly for the first couple of days, because she could smell it from downtown Knoxville, where she works, and even from her house off Westland. Dan said the deluge cleaned the air out pretty well, though. All because of a couple of teenagers; I hope they throw the book at them. They ruined a lot of lives.

  8. We usually have twice baked potatoes with steak as well. Sounds like a great meal to have while the girls are out having fun.

  9. I am so glad you made fresh bacon bits. Ms. Goofy loves baked potato and we will have to make this.

  10. Looks like your meal with Joe and Carol was awesome. There's just nothing better than a good steak and some twice-baked potatoes.... YUM...

    Looks like the ladies are having a great time... I'm envious.

    I published a blog post today--so check it out when you have time.

    Hugs and Merry Christmas,

  11. Your potatoes look absolutely delicious, but the entire meal makes my mouth water.

  12. Those potatoes look perfect, Larry. My steak could be overdone as long as I have those!

  13. I just love twice baked potatoes! Yours look delicious, Larry . . . actually the whole meal must have been wonderful!


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