Poke several holes in each potato with the tip of a sharp knife. This allows for steam to escape.
Microwave the potatoes on high for 10 to 20 minutes or until a knife cuts through each one easily. OR you can bake them at 400° Fahrenheit for about an hour.
Meanwhile, in a small kettle, brown the bacon. Scoop the cooked bacon bits out and set aside. Drain all but one tablespoon of bacon fat. I like to save the extra bacon fat for cooking.
In the same kettle, cook the diced onion in the bacon fat until translucent. Add the garlic. Cook until the garlic is toasty and the onion is lightly caramelized.
Once the potatoes are tender, cut a canoe-shaped hole in each one. The potato is VERY HOT at this point, so using a fork or a hot pad might help. Or you can let them cool first since they're going to be baked again shortly.
Carefully scoop out the meat of the potato. I say carefully so you don't burn yourself and so you don't rip a hole in the skin. I usually leave a lining of the meat to make sure I'm not poking holes in the skin.
Place the skin shells on a greased baking sheet.
Remove and discard the peel from the canoe-shaped cut-outs then put the cut-outs and the meat of the potatoes in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher until thoroughly squished. It's okay if it's a bit lumpy.
Add half of the bacon. Stir in the onions, garlic, butter, sour cream, beef stock, salt, paprika, thyme, and pepper. Gradually add a tablespoon or two of milk and stir after each addition until a moist mashed potato results.
Stuff the skin shells with the potato mash mixture. They will be overflowing. Sprinkle with cheese, the remaining bacon, dried dill, and a tiny bit of red pepper flakes.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the potato is heated through (especially important if you let the potato cool before gutting it).