Baked Potato Bar + Crock Pot Baked Potatoes!

potatoes
Happy Monday!
I did absolutely nothing exciting this weekend, so I thought I’d share with you how LAST weekend went for us. It was a blast, and I have a few helpful entertaining-on-the-cheap tips for you…
Last Sunday we had 4 couples (+5 kids) over for dinner. It was a ton of fun…but that’s a lot of mouths to feed! I decided to do it on the cheap, here’s how:
Baked Potato Bar – great for feeding a crowd
I did my shopping on Saturday to make sure I had everything I needed. I decided on my recipes, then made a list of every ingredient needed for the recipes. I crossed off everything I already had, then headed to the store for the rest.
Before shopping, though, I went to dealstomeals.com and checked to see if any of the ingredients I needed were on sale. They were! (more details on how I shop HERE)
I bought a bag of HUGE baking potatoes from Costco for around $7.99 I believe. The potatoes were seriously ginormous, I probably could’ve gone with smaller ones but I’m a bit OCD about not having enough food for my guests. Oh well.
Even though we weren’t having people over until 5:30, I woke up Sunday morning and started dinner prep right away so I could get most of it done and relax the rest of the day.
I washed the potatoes, then laid them in my drying rack to get nice and dry.
I laid out everything I would need for my dinner so all I had to do was toss it all in the crock pot when the time came to cook it all.
 I even chopped up my potato toppings and put them in individual containers in the fridge so all I had to do was pull them out when company came. These are actually Walmart brand baby food containers. I love them and use them for EVERYTHING!
I decided to make Chili and Broccoli Cheese Soup to go along with my potato bar. I cooked the Broccoli soup in the morning, let it cool, then stuck it in the fridge so it was done.
Once the potatoes were dry, I wrapped them in foil, stabbed them with a fork a few times,
then put them in the ol’ crock pot! Put them on low for 8-10 hours or on high 3-6 hours, and there you go! For huge potatoes like mine you will definitely need them to be in there for a while, so just plan on it taking the full 10 hours on low.
I put my chili ingredients into my other crock pot, put it on low, and left it for a few hours also. I was able to go about my day, go to church, clean my house, and dinner was cooking all by itself without me. It was great!
(Note: For detailed instructions on baking potatoes in a crock pot, see bottom of post)
Good think I have like, a thousand crock pots, right??
I didn’t realize my potatoes would take so long, so I put them on low for about 6 hours, then put them in a 350 degree oven for about an hour before company came to finish them off and keep them warm. They were perfect.
Right before company got to my house I made a quick batch of my awesome 5-minute corn bread. It’s so easy, I wanted it hot and fresh so I didn’t make it ahead of time. I’m glad I didn’t.
I put my two soups in my trusty 3-crock pot server. It was my Christmas present from two years ago…I’m OBSESSED with this thing!
Each of the 3 crock pots cook individually, so you can cook and serve them right from that one server. Unfortunately I already started cooking my soups in my individual crock pots before thinking of using this, I was mad at myself for dirtying unnecessary dishes.  I also cut up my corn bread and put it in the middle crock pot and put on “warm” so the bread would be nice and toasty when it was time to eat.

Seriously, I love this thing. I recommend it to anyone who entertains even a fraction as much as I do!

Anyway…I put out plates AND bowls for my guests. Some people had soup on the side, some people put the soup ON their potato, and some people smashed up 1/2 a potato in the bottom of a bowl, poured soup on top of it, then covered the soup with the potato toppings. All were delish!
I got out all my trusty already prepared potato toppings:

My toppings included:

  • Butter
  • Bacon bits
  • Green onion
  • Sour cream
  • Cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Ranch dressing
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Cilantro
  • and Salt & Pepper
I had our friends bring a salad, side, and a dessert. It was delish, and we had a great time!
There was tons of food to go around, and it was one of the cheapest meals I’ve served in a long time. Once we were enjoyed brownies and ice cream, and a nice jam session :)
It was a ton of fun.
As for how to bake the potatoes, I found more eloquent instructions HERE for you all:
How to bake potatoes in the crock pot: 

Directions:

    1. 1
      Stab potatoes with fork.

 

  • 2
    Wrap each in foil.
  • 3
    Fill crock pot with potatoes.
  • 4
    Cover and cook on High 2 1/2- 4 hours.
  • 5
    Do not add water.
  • 6
    Cooking time depends on how big your potatoes are.
  • 7
    Use your best judgement.
  • 8
    It doesn’t hurt to cook them for the 4 hours.
  • 9
    For large potatoes, I have cooked five to six on Low for 8 to 10 hours and they turn out perfectly.

 

 

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/baked-potatoes-from-the-crock-pot-53182#ixzz1stHgL0dD

So that was my weekend! How was yours??

Comments

  1. Jennifer says

    I love a quick potato bar! A quick tip, my mom did a potatoe bar for her whole luncheon group at work, she preped and cleaned all the potatoes in the Dish washer. She pierce then and placed them on the spokes to keep them all in place. I thought it was genius.

  2. Jenn says

    Great idea on the baked potato bar! Kind of an off topic question, but where did you get your backsplash tile? Did you diy it? I'm thinking of doing that on my own but am nervous about it ;)

  3. Debra Kapellakis says

    You put in a lot of work but the way you did it let you enjoy the meal with your guests, BRAVO! I wanna a crockpot and a 3 crockpot server!

  4. LIZ says

    My daughter did this for a family reunion one year, didn't know how it would turn out, everyone was used to having fried chicken and the works every year. She wanted to do something different, It was a huge success, everyone loved it. even on a hot day it was great… :)

  5. Nancy says

    Great idea! We have been having a baked potato bar at home every other week to keep the food budget down. The first time I made them I wrapped them in foil. The second time I made them I skipped that part and they turned out great. IF I was having company over, I would definitely wrap them. Makes it a little more formal, maybe.

    I love the idea of serving this with soups. Great idea. When we do our informal family potato bar we have cheese, cooked broccoli, salsa, sour cream, cottage cheese, diced ham or leftover taco meat (my kids would love bacon but alas there is never any leftover), butter and salt and pepper. Ranch and Parmesan would be a great additions.

  6. Nancy says

    Jennifer, that sounds way too easy….please clarify for me….your mom put the potatoes on spokes…(top or bottom?) was that just to wash them, or did she cook them in dw also? if she cooked them too….on what setting….after writing this it sounds like a dumb question…..but humor me and answer anyway……thanks

  7. Angela says

    i wouldn't wash potatoes in the dishwasher, the detergent residue would be a huge concern for me. I don't even like the thought of it on my dishes. Maybe i'm paranoid.

  8. Ronna says

    That's alot of work for potatoes. You only need an hour for large potatoes to cook at 450 degrees. The rest of preparation are great and the small baby containers idea.

  9. Peggy says

    I make potatoes in the slow cooker all the time. After washing them – I don't stab them at all. I do put in a few tablespoons of water in the bottom besides wads of foil so the potatoes don't sit in water nor right up against the hottest part of the heating element. Don't wrap the potatoes in foil either (does not make a difference & lowers cost/time). Cook for 4 hrs on high & that's it. I would like to know if anybody did it this way without the balls of foil on the bottom & what was the result?

  10. Vicky says

    I look forward to trying it in the slow cooker. I cook mine in the oven with a skewer through each one and rub oil and a little salt over them.

  11. Sharon Oliver says

    I just came across your potato in crockpot idea. I do this all the time and I don’t use foil or poke them, just wash and put in the crockpot plain. I have done this with yams, sweet potatoes and winter squash as well. They all work great. And no foil is a money saver. Hope that helps.

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