8 medium baking potatoes, about 4 pounds
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 pint sour cream
2 cups ( ½ pound) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided use)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup chopped chives, for garnish
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained and crumbled, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F. Pierce potatoes and place on baking pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until very soft.
Peel and mash potatoes in large bowl with potato masher or back of fork. Add cream cheese, butter, sour cream and 1 cup of cheddar. Stir well. Add garlic, salt and pepper, and stir again.
Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place potato mixture in dish, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate casserole until ready to bake.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F, remove plastic wrap and bake casserole 30 to 35 minutes until hot. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheddar over casserole and return to oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese melts. Garnish with chopped chives and crumbled bacon before serving. Makes 10 to 12 servings.