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Published January 04, 2010, 12:00 AM

CHEF JEFF — ONE BYTE AT A TIME: Ranch Potatoes

Potatoes usually are a side dish, but the following recipe will work as an entire meal.

By: Herald Staff Report,

Potatoes usually are a side dish, but the following recipe will work as an entire meal.

Ranch Potatoes

4 large baking potatoes

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

¼ cup sour cream

½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1 to 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

3 ounces bacon bits (or 3 bacon slices, fried and crumbled), divided

½ cup milk, heated until steaming

1 1-ounce envelope dry ranch dressing mix

3 or 4 green onions, finely chopped

Rinse potatoes and pierce in several places with a fork. Microwave on high for 10 minutes, or until tender. Set aside to cool.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 11-by-7-inch baking pan. Beat the cream cheese with the sour cream until smooth. Stir in the onion, half the cheese and half the bacon bits.

Peel cooled potatoes and add to the cream cheese mixture, mixing with a fork. Stir in the milk and 2 tablespoons of the dry ranch dressing (or more to taste).

Spread potato mixture in prepared pan. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bacon bits and green onions. Bake 4 minutes longer, until cheese melts.

Yield: Serves 6.

Grab more food tidbits at the Chef Jeff blog at GrandForksHerald.com.

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