I was still in Manila when Wendy's fast food burger chain first introduced baked potatoes in their menu. I remember I used to crave the ones with bacon that were extra cheesy and so these baked potatoes I made recently brought back memories of my fast food days back in Manila. In search for a side dish to go with our meal, I was happy to see this featured on an episode of Giada at Home show on the Food Network. Her recipe suggested baking the potatoes until tender but I decided to save time by microwaving them instead. Split the potatoes in half then scoop out the flesh leaving about a 1/4" thickness with the skin. In a skillet over medium heat, cook some thinly sliced bacon until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside. In the same skillet, reduce the bacon fat to 1 tbsp. and saute 1/4 cup of chopped onions with about 1 tsp. minced garlic. Add some chopped button mushrooms and over low heat, continue to cook the onions and mushrooms for a few minutes. Add the mixture to the scooped out potato along with some butter and half and half. Whisk until creamy just like making mashed potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mashed potato mixture back to the potato skins. Sprinkle the bacon on top followed by the grated cheese. I added extra breadcrumbs on top but this step is optional. Bake or broil the potatoes until the cheese melts and browns very lightly.
Shown above, the potatoes were sprinkled with crisp bacon and a little breadcrumbs then topped with lots of cheese (below) before baking or broiling to melt the cheese.