Leftovers – love ’em or leave ’em? I go back and forth all the time. I mostly love them. I learned, very early in my life, to cook for a crowd. I am one of four kids, so growing up I was usually helping cook a large meal that would feed at least six people for dinner. Portions were large, as my brothers could easily eat enough for two people. Now that I have a small family (just three of us), I tend to still cook like there are six people in the house. Over the years, I have learned to gradually scale back the amount of food I cook, but there is usually still way more food for just one meal. Thus, leftovers!
The part of “leftovers” that I love is the fact that there is no food prep involved for making another meal. Yesss!!! That equates to a major time savor. And any mom/dad/household cook will tell you, saving time in the kitchen (especially with kids!) is worth its weight in gold! These Twice Baked Chicken Bacon Ranch Potatoes, which mostly consist of leftovers, are not only very tasty, but many components are done in advance (like the day or night before), saving you huge amount of time in the kitchen.
I came up with this dish several years ago when we lived in Boise, ID. (One doesn’t live in Idaho without knowing how to make some crazy-good potatoes!!) I had made several baked potatoes for a previous meal, and had many left over. I then decided to make another meal out of them by scooping them out, and tossing with the potato with some pre-c00ked chicken (I like to use rotisserie chicken you get at the grocery store), some crispy bacon, cream cheese, shredded cheese, and ranch seasoning. OMG!! They are amazing!! Here is how they come together:
- 4 large russet potatoes, baked
- 2 c. cooked white meat chicken (rotisserie chicken works well), diced
- 4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 package)
- 1 c. shredded Mexican-Blend cheese, divided (cheddar works well also)
- 4 strips of crisp bacon, broke into pieces
- 1/2 c. milk
- 1 Tbsp. dry Ranch seasoning
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- On a cutting board, split the baked potatoes down the middle lengthwise. Scoop out the middle of the potatoes leaving the skin and a small border of potato. This will help hold the filling in place. Place the halved potatoes skins in a sprayed baking dish. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, use the potatoes you scooped from the skins and add the cream cheese, milk, ranch seasoning and stir together until combined. Add the diced chicken, bacon pieces, and 3/4 c. of the shredded cheese. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Scoop the filling into the potato skins and sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese. Cover baking dish with foil.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. During last 5 minutes of baking, remove the foil to let the cheese brown a bit.
- Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
These are great for lunch or dinner. I like to serve these with a green salad loaded with lots of fresh, crispy veggies. These potatoes also go really well with a delicious cup of soup.
So, leftovers? Love ’em or leave ’em? Despite some items that stick around in your fridge and don’t get ate (the part of leftovers I don’t like!), these potatoes will make leftovers the star of their own meal, and disappear as quickly as they were made.