This practical (and much tastier) alternative to loaded potato skins is both fun and filling. The savory potatoes are crisp and salty on the exterior, and soft and creamy inside.
Place potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with water by 2 inches, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-high, and boil until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F.
Drain potatoes well; let stand 5 minutes. Place potatoes on a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a potato masher or fork, gently press down on each potato to flatten, careful not to go all the way through. Allow steam and excess moisture to escape, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle each potato with pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Whisk together butter, oil, and ranch mix in a small bowl until well blended. Drizzle approximately 1/2 teaspoon butter mixture over each potato. Bake in preheated oven until edges of skin are golden and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Add your favorite toppings. Serve as an appetizer or a side dish.