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How to make a baked potato bar a nice change from your typical hors d'oeuvres

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Carne Asada, hummus, chili, cheese, sour cream and so many other ingredients make for a great baked potato bar and a successful gathering.

For those occasions when you are having guests and you need to have plenty of food to serve people, you might want to consider a baked potato bar. Setting up this kind of a "help yourself" food bar makes it easy for people to create what they want, as much as they want and creates a much more relaxed atmosphere where you are free to enjoy yourself and your guests.

Suggested Ingredients:

  • Baked potatoes
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Chives
  • Bacon Bits
  • Shredded cheese
  • Chili
  • Mushroom gravy
  • Hummus
  • Broccoli
  • Bacon
  • Nacho cheese sauce
  • Yogurt
  • Carne Asada
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Dips

Baking the potatoes:

  1. Wash your potatoes and set aside to dry or towel dry them.
  2. Take a fork or knife and poke several holes in the potato so that it can vent while cooking and you avoid having it blow up.
  3. Rub each potato with oil, I use olive oil, put about 4-6 potatoes in your microwave at a time and cook them for 5 minutes, then check them by sticking a fork in them to see if they are tender.
  4. Repeat cooking by two minute intervals until each potato is done.
  5. As each potato is cooked, wrap it in foil and set it aside.
  6. Once all of the potatoes have been cooked they are ready for heating in the oven prior to your guests arrival. They will take anywhere from 1/2 hour to an hour to heat fully.
  7. If you have a warming plate, you can take the potatoes right out of the microwave and put them into a large pot with a lid and keep it warming on the plate.

Notes:

Have a variety of sizes of baked potatoes to suit individual appetites. Someone might have a hearty appetite and serve themselves a large potato and still find that they have room for more. With a smaller size available it might be just enough to satisfy their appetite completely. Other people with smaller appetites will want to start with a small potato and if hungry, can always go back for another.

When cooking the potatoes just prior to the arrival of your guests, you would want to bake the potatoes so that once they are put into the pot they will not sit there for too long. Baked potatoes will last for a very, very long time and if you need to, you can remove the foil and heat them for a few minutes in the microwave.

  • Put each ingredient that you decide to serve into its own container with a serving utensil.
  • Put each hot item in its own mini crock pot if possible.
  • Be sure to check ingredients often to make sure that you have not run out of any one item, it just may be the one item your guest is looking to add to their potato.

Substitutions:

You can serve a low fat or non fat version of things like the sour cream, cheese and other items for those who might be watching their fat, calories, cholesterol and the like. Even a healthier margarine over butter is an option to consider. Why not have a few sweet potatoes or yams as an alternative?

From my kitchen to yours ... That's what's cooking!

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