Hmmm … doesn’t that look just yummy?…. Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole… a beautiful site… Just pick up that fork and dig right in… yes siree… it’s soo good … what’s not to like? Mashed potatoes … cheddar cheese and bacon… a perfect combination.. bless the person who thought up a loaded baked potato.. and then turned it into mashed potatoes… a genius for sure.
So how do you make this world wonder.. easily! This recipe is perfect for left over mashed potatoes… and if you don’t have any leftovers… just make em fresh … because you won’t want to miss this great glob of deliciousness… (is that a word?... yes it is… just keep reading).
You would think after a brief scan of the ingredients that this is a Paula Deen recipe.. and she probably has one just like it.. but nope.. this one is from the folks at McCormick… and I’d say they made a mighty fine recipe.
As I mentioned… this recipe starts with about 6 cups of mashed potatoes… I don’t know about you.. I never have that much left of mashed potatoes.. not in this house anyway.. remember .. I have a meat and potatoes man in this house… so let’s face it.. you probably will need to make some fresh mashed potatoes to add to any leftovers you have… any recipe will do… or you could cut the recipe in half… (hearing loud NO!’s in the background).
This is not what you would call a low fat side dish.. nope .. notta chance.. not with bacon and cheese in the recipe.. and then there is the cream cheese.. oh and did I mention the sour cream? … so.. if making this healthier is your aim.. I have a few tips.. read on..
The base mashed potatoes for this recipe is up to you… here’s where “skinny” mashed potatoes can work.. the recipe has lots of flavor and with the sour cream and cream cheese.. you won’t miss the butter … cream or whole milk in the (base) mashed potatoes.. my advice is use Fat Free Half and Half… or even non-fat milk to make your mashed potatoes.. a bit of margarine and you’re good to go.
I did make a few changes to the McCormick recipe… I got way back on the bacon.. they used 12 slices of bacon… I use 3-5 slices… (the range.. you might ask?... it all depends if Warren is watching.. honestly 3 should be enough.. 4 is a bit better.. and 5 is spoiling him)
As you can see in the picture .. I just broke up the bacon and spread it across the top… every scoop should have a piece of bacon in it.. if you want to stretch it even more.. you can chop it up more and mix it into the potatoes .. that will spread the flavor out even more.
While we’re on the subject of bacon… make it in the oven… no mess.. and no stove to clean… click here for step by step instructions and safety tips for Making Bacon in the Oven.
Now we’re down to the sour cream, cream cheese and even the cheddar.. you can sub lower fat alternatives for all or some of them.. that is a matter of personal taste.. but as a lover of all things sour cream… I stick with the real deal there…
As for the cream cheese.. the lower fat cream cheese works fine.. the taste is slightly different.. depends on your tastes if you want to sub that. Lower fat shredded cheese also works… just remember it doesn’t seem to melt as easily but that still should work too.
They use a ½ cup milk… you can use non-fat milk or the Fat Free Half and Half instead.. it works just fine.
I used a lot more cheese than they did.. we love the cheesy part of this dish.. so if you want to use the original quantity.. it was ¾ cup.
Okay.. you forgot to take out the cream cheese to soften.. now what?... see my previous post about How to Soften Cream Cheese Quickly.
I left off the garlic salt .. this dish definitely does not need salt.. not with the bacon in it. As for the garlic… even for garlic lover’s like us.. we didn’t miss it.. the other flavors are strong enough without it.
My apologies to McCormick.. I love their spices and spice blends.. but they can keep their parsley flakes.. all it adds is color… I don’t like dried parsley.. anyone’s… if you’re going to add parsley… mince the real stuff… about a tablespoon… I always have some in the fridge or freezer…
Speaking of parsley in the freezer.. did you know it freezes easily and works great?.. see a previous post about How to Freeze Parsley.
I also beat the sour cream and cream cheese then I add the potatoes.. in my opinion it mixes easier and more evenly.
This recipe will make 8 smaller servings or about 6 average servings.
This is a perfect side to just about any meat… it’s will go great with BBQ chicken or grilled meat.
Recipe: Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
All you need:
About 6 cups mashed potatoes
½ cup Fat Free Half and Half
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg (8 Oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced (optional)
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3-5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Cooking oil spray (butter flavor preferred)
All you need to do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking oil spray (butter flavor preferred) and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sour cream for about a minute or two until well mixed and smooth.
Add the potatoes and the Fat Free Half and Half…. beat until smooth.
Stir in the ½ the cheese and parsley (if using).
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle the other half of the cheese on the top and then sprinkle with the bacon *see TIPS for other options.
Bake for 30 minutes or until hot (the potatoes will puff up in the oven a bit).
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