Bacon & Gouda Twice-Baked (or Slow Cooker) Potatoes

I consider myself a fairly confident person.  I make decisions with minimal thought, and I don’t care a whole lot what other people think of those decisions as long as I’m comfortable with them. I wear whatever I like, I eat what I feel like, and I go out without doing my hair.

But let me tell you, there is nothing that can shake your confidence in your decision making ability, your parenting ability, and your awareness of health and wellness than making the decision to feed your baby formula.

I had my first daughter almost 5 years ago now and didn’t feel even marginal guilt at switching from breastfeeding to formula around 7 months.  With my son two years later, the breastfeeding movement had continued to gather steam, but I enjoyed nursing him and had no problem waiting almost a year before switching to bottles.  Now, another two years after that, I can’t even believe how much angst and guilt I felt about switching my 5 month old to formula.

Yes, I can breastfeed.  Yes, he seems to be getting enough and is completely happy – at least, he was until about 2 weeks ago. He now eats every two hours, pretty much day and night.  I don’t believe any single person should be awake that often, baby or adult.  He’s in the third percentile for height and weight – that means he’s heavier than exactly 3% of babies his age.  With a 6’6″ daddy, that seems a bit strange.  He also no longer naps during the day. Period. How is that even possible?  He seems to think I am part snack bar, part teething ring, and let me tell you unequivocally, I AM NEITHER OF THOSE THINGS.  There are not enough ALL-CAPS in the world for how I feel about being a teething ring.

Yet even as I write this, I feel like I am whining, making excuses, and copping out by buying formula and boiling up some bottles.  Maybe it’s because I kind of am? But it could just as easily be the intense propaganda-type hype surrounding breastfeeding in our culture.  Even the very first line of directions on the formula can instructs me in bold about how much better breastfeeding would be.  Do they not want me to buy their product?

I absolutely believe that those who can should, that it’s healthiest for baby and mom, and that it’s truly a miracle that our body can care for a baby so perfectly.  But at what point do you say, “This is killing me, and not doing my baby any favours either”.  I think for every pound my baby gains, I lose two pounds of nutrients and a couple more in frustration and discomfort.  I eat and drink almost non-stop, yet I’m still hungry and thirsty, and I’m still losing weight.  I don’t think my body is currently able to support two people, and I have to be ok with that.  Maybe I can do half and half, and maybe I have to call breastfeeding quits at 5 months and be thankful I lasted that long.

Maybe I need to go shopping, because buying new clothes while I’m skinny, without having to worry about how accessible my boobs will be, is sure to cheer me up ;)

Really, it’s been less than two days since we introduced occasional bottles, and my happy, giggly, napping baby is back.  My happy, giggly, napping self is very close behind.  So let’s make a deal: you don’t judge me for bottle feeding my baby and I won’t judge you for letting your baby “cry it out” at night.  Fair fair?

And now, because writing my feelings makes me hungry, let’s make some fantastic potatoes.  Potatoes that make you want potatoes as your main course – your only course.  Potatoes your kids will ask for every night.  Potatoes your husband will wish there were more of.  Bacon and Gouda potatoes.

Twice Baked Potatoes


And I won’t judge you if you don’t twice bake your potatoes.  Let’s be honest – I did it for the pictures, but the majority of the time my “twice-baked” potatoes are actually once-boiled-and-once-baked potatoes.  Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it for a blog post, though :)

Twice Baked Potatoes

The easiest way to do these babies is to forget about the skins, boil your potatoes, mash them as directed, transfer to a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until heated through.  This way, they can also be made in advance, refrigerated or frozen, and reheated in the oven in time for dinner.  A version of these makes an appearance at every family gathering I have with my sisters, and they are always a hit.  You can also make them in the morning and throw ’em in the slow cooker on keep warm and they will be waiting patiently for you when you’re ready to eat.  Having people over for dinner never looked easier.

PS. Thanks to my sister-in-law Corien for sending over the Gouda cheese :) It was very much enjoyed!

Twice Baked Potatoes

4.0 from 1 reviews
Bacon & Gouda Twice-Baked Potatoes
Total time
The side dish that will be the star of the show! Microwaving the potatoes saves time - boiling and mashing them saves even more if you aren't fussy about having the skins.
Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 4
  • 4 medium russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
  • ¾ cup shredded Gouda cheese, divided
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt (optional)
  1. Place washed potatoes on microwave safe plate lined with paper towels. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork and put another piece of paper towel on top. Microwave on full power for 6 minutes. Rotate potatoes and microwave for another 4-6 minutes, until done (they will be tender and pierce easily with a fork).
  2. Let cool enough to handle, then cut carefully in half lengthwise with a serrated knife.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Scoop out as much potato as possible into a medium bowl while leaving the skin intact. Spray the skins lightly with baking spray and sprinkle with salt if desired. (The spray will help them crisp up despite the indignity of microwaving :))
  5. Mash the potato you scooped out with butter, milk, salt, and garlic salt, if using. I like to use my hand beaters for this step. When they're completely smooth, stir in the chopped green onion (reserve a few pieces for garnish) and ¼ cup of the gouda cheese.
  6. Place shells on a lightly greased baking sheet and return mashed potatoes to shells (or transfer to oven safe baking dish if you prefer). Top with bacon, remaining cheese, and reserved bits of green onion. Bake for 5 minutes, until heated through and cheese is melted. If you want to crisp up the bacon a bit more, broil for an additional minute. Serve hot.
Depending on the size of your potatoes, you may need slightly more or less butter and/or milk to achieve desired consistency when mashing. If making them ahead and putting them in the slow cooker, add an extra dash of both butter and milk to prevent them from drying out.




  1. says

    As my own mom reminds me at the end of every. single. phone call – I am not a mom. So I can’t really put in my two cents on the issue. All I can say is that you’re healthy and happy, your family is healthy and happy – at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters. Not all the hype, or what “other people” are doing. Just be good to you and yours. xo

    Also, I need these Gouda baked potatoes in my life. Asap! Oh, bacon, how I miss thee…

  2. says

    Don’t feel bad, some mom’s don’t even give it a try. Mom has to take care of baby but mom has to take care of mom to take care of baby.

    Does that make sense? haha.

    Yummy potatoes. I love twice baked, the dutch hubby would love the gouda addition. :-) He always makes me buy it.

  3. Corien says

    “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em”…sounds a little gross when you are talking about breastfeeding! You make a decision for what works best for your family and your baby, and it sounds like you have thought it out well. You have to stay healthy to take care of your family. It’s not selfish to put your needs at the front when it affects the rest of them so much. All the best.

  4. says

    This recipe looks delicious Anna, cheese & bacon is an amazing combination :-) I don’t have children (yet), but cannot understand why people judge over the bottle feeding ‘issue’.No judgement here, you have to do what’s best for you & your baby

  5. Joanne says

    Yep! I was there five years ago as well…and seven years ago. I just did not have any milk, and the babies did not latch or suck properly making it doubly difficult. I did formula starting at day 1 (the hospital nurses did that, not me), and week 6 with the second. I was close to falling off the cliff in frustration and exhaustion. Trust me, formula was the best choice for my babies! I felt judged as well for a while, then realized (after sleeping a bit more and having a clearer mind) that I knew what was best for me and my baby as I knew first hand the situation and others did not. If I ever have another baby, I will most definately try breast feeding again, but will not feel the slightest bit guilty about it if it deems necessary! Good for you!

  6. says

    While I don’t have much input or can relate to being a mommy, I do know how many tough decisions must be faced. Thinking of you!

    These potatoes look wonderful Anna! And the photography is gorgeous. It’s making me so hungry. I love twice baked potatoes!

  7. Alicia says

    I hear you Anna! I sometimes wish I could quit nursing. A is at the waking up every two hours at night to feed stage, but she naps pretty good during the day (still wants to be fed every 2 – 3 hrs). BUT the difference is my kids DON’T take a bottle. no matter how hard I try. lol. So it solids early here…and hope that fills her up enough to sleep properly.

    • says

      I was surprised (and thrilled) by how easily he took a bottle – hopefully the solids work for you and you can get some more sleep too!

  8. Karina says

    You have to do what is best for both…unhappy mom=unhappy baby! I also agree that it is a huge transition, but once you are over the hump, you will probably never look back:) And enjoy shopping..who doesn’t feel better with some retail therapy:)

    • says

      My thoughts exactly :) It’s true, I’m only 2 days in and already feel huge sense of relief! I hated thinking my baby was hungry and I was too stubborn/proud to fix it.

  9. Jannee says

    Sometimes mom’s feel bad ..but there’s two people in the parent child relationship. And while breastfeedings great, you need both parties happy to have success. So trust those fantastic mothering skills and enjoy your shopping trip:) p.s. I love your confident attitude, it’s amazing

  10. Alicia Louwerse says

    You’re an amazing Mom, Anna! You always put your kids needs first, and make decisions that are best for them and for you! Don’t let anyone else tell you differently.

    Good luck with the transition! Hopefully Theo starts responding better, and even putting on a bit of weight :)

  11. says

    I used formula for both Rebecca and Sarah, from day 1, and with Hannah I switched within a couple weeks. There is nothing wrong with formula, and I am thankful that it is available. Don’t let anyone tell you what’s best fro your baby.

  12. Sharon says

    YUMMY… these look delicious… and I am sure that they taste just as fantastic!!! I hear you about baby Theo and yourself…. DON’T let what others say… or don’t say… bother you… this is between you, your family, your baby! You are a mother of three, and if you need to stop feeding for sanity… GO for it!!! I think that I quit with Jess when she was only 4 months for sanity… and energy… and … the list goes on. IT was worth quitting. Especially for you now looking after 3 littlies… you NEED to be on top of things!!! God bless you!!! xoxo

  13. says

    Mmm I love these kind of potatoes. Also, I don’t even have kids and I’m already scared of how militant parents can be. I just try to trust that no one loves the kids more than their parents and we’re all just trying to do our best. Hope you and Theo are feeling better soon.

  14. Esther says

    This looks delicious! Great photos too.
    We make some tough decisions as mothers, don’t we? Don’t be hard on yourself, Anna. I hope things improve very soon in the sleep department. I totally know how that is!

  15. kate says

    First of all these potatoes sound amazing! Second, you are amazing. You’re one of the most intelligent, kindest, creative, loving, faithful women I know! I look up to you as a mother, wife and friend. Thank you for posting this rant because its something so many of us mums go through with our babies. Those who judge either have clearly forgotten about their own experience or have never experienced that dilemma. Us mums love our babies so much and always will make the best decision we know how. Your kids are so lucky to have you as their mum!


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