Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scalloped Potatoes

I didn't take any pictures because scalloped potatoes all look the same. Delicious.

I have been craving yakisoba, but am doing my best to minimize grocery bills. I had initially wanted scalloped potatoes, but then wanted to make what we call "funeral casserole", aka hashbrown casserole. Unfortunately I was missing a few ingredients, so I had to revert back to finding a good recipe for scalloped potatoes.

I've never made them before - I've always used the boxed kind, which I have to say are delicious, inexpensive, and easy to cook. So here's the recipe I used:

4 cups of thinly sliced potatoes (I used two very small potatoes*).
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1 1/2 cups of Milk**
1 cup grated cheese (Cheddar, but you can use any kind you want in combination)
1/2 cup of extra grated cheese (for topping)
paprika, salt, pepper, onions, etc, etc, - you can season it with anything you want.

1) Slice potatoes (make sure you keep them thin and uniform so that they cook evenly) and grate your cheese.
2) Melt butter, over low heat, and blend in the flour (whisk it quickly to make sure it's smooth).
3) Add cold milk, stirring with whisk, over medium heat. (When this begins to heat up it will thicken instantly to a sort of instant-mashed-potatoes thickness).
4) Add seasoning. (I used garlic salt, Mrs. Dash's seasoning, and about two tablespoons of onion flakes).
5) Reduce heat and add 1 cup of grated cheese. Stir this until everything is smooth.
6) In a well-greased casserole dish (or bread pan, if you don't have a casserole dish), place half of the potato slices on the bottom, pour half of the sauce over them, then repeat.
7) Sprinkle with paprika and top with cheese.

BAKE: 350 for 40 minutes.
(Prep time will take anywhere from 3 - 10 minutes depending on how quickly you slice potatoes without cutting your finger and whether or not you have a cheese grater. Yes, you can imagine how much fun I had preparing this......)

Conclusion: Delicious, cheap.

* You can add an extra potato to the recipe depending on how saucy you like your food, and depending on how much milk you use (see next asterisk).
** I used 1 1/2 cups of milk, as the recipe called for. This makes the potatoes very thick, so if you like yours a bit runny I would increase your milk. Add no more than 2 cups of milk or you'll have potato soup! Also, you will definitely want to add a third small potato if you thin your sauce.

Also, for those with sensitive palates (or rather, sensitive tongues), home made scalloped potatoes will be slightly different from the boxed kind. Because you are using actual cheese, instead of the powdered cheese mix you'd use in the box, the "sauce" will have a different texture. My best description would be "starchy". Not gritty or lumpy, but not quite as smooth as you'd find in the box. I think this would be slightly altered by adding more milk, as it would disperse the starchy feel a bit more. As for the cheese itself - I used colby jack and pepperjack cheeses (minimal of the latter). This would be a great recipe for using sharp cheddar cheese. Keep in mind that adding onion (flakes or fresh) will add sweetness to the recipe, and sharp cheddar would definitely help counteract that sweetness.