To open one’s home to others and welcome them to share life with you is one of the greatest gifts we have, yet often we allow our house, budget, decor, cooking skills and a host of other excuses get in the way of our hospitality.
Our family has gone through two year long periods of unemployment with the most dramatic occurring years before I began this blog. One of the main things during those times was that I didn’t want the fact that our food budget was basically nil to keep us from opening our home.
While I first l learned the beauty of hosting a Baked Potato Bar Get together as a newly married, Junior and Senior High Youth Director, it was during that difficult time of unemployment with four little ones, when I truly appreciated how gourmet a simple food bar could become without breaking the bank.
It’s the simplest way to not only feed, but fill up the tummies of a huge group with amazing comfort food, and still stay on a budget. The wonderful thing about creating the ultimate Potato Bar is it doesn’t have to be limited to just traditional toppings.
The photos featured here were taken spontaneously during our huge family reunion last year, and yes, we really did it up right. You can bet that I didn’t serve steak during those lean years. 🙂
While we didn’t have enough chicken and steak left over from a previous meal to feed our entire group, we had enough to put out as toppings. (And yes, the steak would need to be sliced up a bit more. 🙂
I created “zones” of varying toppings, so one could enjoy a traditional, loaded, veggie, Mexican or all of the above, kind of feast.
If you part of our family, you can find ways to put nearly anything on potatoes. So enjoy digging in the fridge and clearing it out.
Baked Potato Bars are perfect for the upcoming big game, family dinners, pot lucks, graduation parties or even receptions. Every one loves the versatility that they bring.
Yes, I admit. Potatoes are my favorite food. This just makes me happy.
Recipe: The Ultimate Baked Potato Bar
Summary: This easy Baked Potato Bar is my solution to feeding large groups with ease.
- Large Idaho Potatoes
- Salt, Pepper
- Sour Cream
- Shredded Cheese
- Bacon bits (although for cost savings, I always bake the bacon in bulk in the oven and then crumble.)
- Green onion, Sauteed Red or Vadalia onions (You must take the time to sautee them in a bit of butter or olive oil. It makes all the difference.)
- Steamed Broccoli
- Sauteed Peppers
- Diced Tomatoes
- Warmed Nacho Cheese
- Diced Chicken, BBQ Chicken, steak, ham, pork and I love my taco meat (made in the crock pot, of course,) to give it that truly Mexican touch.)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Scrub the potatoes well and dry completely.
- Rub the potato skins with olive oil (my sis does butter, but you can use any type of oil.)
- If you are skin lovers, I rub garlic over the oil.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Poke a few tiny holes in the potato with a fork.
- Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 1 hour until knife pokes easily into potato.
- While potatoes are baking, ready your choice of toppings.
- Slice each potato lengthwise and push at ends, so potato opens for ease in serving.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Have you ever served a Baked Potato Bar?
Did I miss any of your favorite toppings?
Sharing over at Surviving the Stores