Cheesy Loaded Potato Bake – need I say more?
Who doesn’t love a nice baked loaded potato. I know I do. Especially in winter. And this one really hits the spot.
This recipe is what would happen if Mac N Cheese and Loaded Potato met and fell in love and had babies. Seriously, if you can’t decide which one you want, you just go for both, right? Don’t you? Or is it just me ……. 🙂
Actually, I surprised myself at how not bad this was. Ok, so it’s not going to make weight watchers menu but it also isn’t crazy over the top decadent either. I used light milk, light cheddar and mozzarella (which is naturally a lighter cheese). You probably could get away with light margarine instead of butter if you really wanted to but I didn’t.
This one is definitely a crowd pleaser. Great for kids or adults. Great as a side dish or a main (for sure this is a Friday night dinner for me 🙂 ). And with no huge effort you have a steamy, creamy dish full of Cheesy Loaded Potato Bake in no time.
- 1 kg baby potatoes
- 1 Tbsp oil - (note 1)
- 200 g bacon chopped
- 4 spring onions, sliced
- 60 g butter
- 3 Tbsp plain flour - (note 1)
- 2 cups milk
- 1 ½ cups grated cheese (I use a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella)
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (discard stems) - (note 1)
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200C
- Wash the potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Steam in a steamer set over a saucepan of simmering water for 20 minutes.
- Spray a casserole dish with oil spray and add the potatoes. Use a pestle or potato masher to gently crush the potatoes (not so that they are mashed up but just so they break apart a little bit). Pour the oil all over the potatoes and sprinkle with some salt. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden and crispy on top.
- Cook the bacon in a non-stick pan with no added oil until cooked to your liking. Put aside until ready to use.
- About 10 minutes before the potatoes are ready, make your sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the flour and whisk around for about a minutes. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly as you pour. It should start to thicken quite quickly. Add the garlic and thyme leaves and continue to stir for about 2 minutes to infuse. Add 1 cup of the grated cheese and continue to stir until the mixture becomes smooth and silky.
- When the potatoes are ready, gently lift them out of the baking dish and place them on a plate, before adding the cheese sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Sprinkle over half of the bacon and spring onions and then replace the potatoes on top. Make sure to keep the nice crispy bits at the top. You can skip this step and just pour the sauce all over the top of the potatoes but you will lose the crispy bits.
- Sprinkle the rest of the bacon and spring onion over the top and finish with the last ½ cup of cheese.
- Place back in the oven for 15 minutes. Once you take it out of the oven, allow it to sit for 5 minutes before serving as the cheese sauce is like molten lava
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon