Cheesy Potato Casserole

There isn’t much I’m going to gab about in this post.  Other than how deliciously sumptuous and belly filling this Cheesy Potato Casserole is.

Yesterday was one of those days that I decided to play mad scientist in the kitchen.  And oddly enough, I wasn’t craving sweets like I normally do, I was craving a comfort food.  Maybe it’s because we’ve had such cold and blustery weather for days on end.  Or maybe it’s because I was preparing myself for a night of cozying up in front of the television to watch the latest episode of Downton Abbey.  Whatever the reason, this mad scientist made the best cheesy potato casserole in her history of cooking.

Since I opted to make this dish later in the day I missed the chance to get nice bright photo’s but I went ahead and took pictures anyways.

Cheesy Potato Casserole

1/2 of a 8 oz. brick of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated

1/2 of a 8 oz. brick of Pepper Jack Cheese, grated

2 tbsp. butter

2 tbsp. diced onion

2 tbsp. diced red pepper

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 tbsp. flour

1 1/2 c. skim milk

1 pinch of salt

1/4 tsp. season salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 can of Cream of Potato Soup

5 mediums sized russet potatoes (with the skins on), sliced thin

1 1/2 cups French fried onions

2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese (set aside for topping)

Grease a large casserole dish with butter.  I used a 10” oval dish.

Grate the cheese into a large bowl.

Slice potatoes.  I used my Pampered Chef Mandoline to get the job done quickly.

Melt butter in skillet on low heat and lightly sauté onions, peppers, and garlic.

Add flour to sautéed vegetables and mix thoroughly.  On medium heat, stir in the skim milk making a white sauce.  Stir constantly until thickened.

Add potato soup, salt, pepper, and season salt to the white sauce, completely mix all ingredients.

Remove from heat.

Layer half of the potatoes on the bottom of the prepared dish.  Pour half of the sauce over the potatoes and sprinkle half the cheese over them. Then sprinkle half of the French fried onions on top.

Repeat the process.

Finish the dish by sprinkling the grated parmesan cheese on top.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees until potatoes are tender – about 1 hour.  Remove aluminum foil and bake for about 10-15 minutes more to brown the top of the casserole.

These potatoes are so good.  Cheesy, gooey, and crusty all in one dish!   I regret that I didn’t get a picture of the casserole bubbling and freshly baked.  We dug in before I even gave it a thought.

This would make a great dish to take to any potluck supper.  I can almost guarantee that you won’t have to worry about carting any leftovers home.

What is your favorite comfort food?

Garlic, Red Onion, and Jarslberg Gratin Potatoes

We all know about comfort foods.  They are typically warm, bubbly, flavorful, and tend to be loaded with carbs and/or fat.  And it’s probably because of those reasons that we crave them from time to time.

These potatoes definitely fall into the comfort food category.  The Jarlsberg cheese makes them one of my favorite side dishes. They are delicious!

This recipe was adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Grilling Book.

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Ingredients:

1/4 of a large red onion, sliced thin

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. salt

1 heaping cup of Jarlsberg cheese (I diced slices of cheese)

9 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

1 cup heavy cream

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Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8”x8” baking dish using non-stick cooking spray.

Arrange half of the potato slices in the bottom of the dish.  Sprinkle half of the garlic, onion, cheese, and salt & pepper over the first layer of potatoes.  Repeat with a second layer of potatoes: add the remaining garlic, onion, cheese and salt & pepper on top.  Pour heavy cream over the top of all the ingredients. Cover and bake for 70 minutes.  Uncover and bake for additional 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and the top turns golden brown.

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This dish pairs well with hamburgers, chicken, and meatloaf.  I can almost guarantee that if you share these potatoes as a dish to pass you’ll come home with an empty dish.

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Oh Fudge

I’ve been working on a project this week that required me to make one of my favorite comfort foods.  I thought about all of them, and settled on chocolate peanut butter fudge. Fudge is one of my favorite sweets, and it’s rich, creamy, melt in your mouth texture screams comfort.  This is a quick and easy recipe that you can throw together in a few minutes time.

The ingredients:

1/4  c. margarine
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. milk
1/3 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. chocolate chips, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1  ¾ c. powdered sugar

In a saucepan, melt margarine.

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Add brown sugar and milk. 

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Bring to a boil, continue to boil for 2 minutes. 

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Remove from heat, add melted chocolate, peanut butter, and vanilla to the boiled mixture..  Stir thoroughly.

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Add powdered sugar, and beat with electric mixer until smooth.

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Pour into an 8”x8” baking pan – I used a 6” round.  Cool completely before cutting.

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Peanut butter fudge, or chocolate peanut butter fudge happens to be my favorite flavor.  What’s yours?  Have you purchased fudge in a candy shop?  It’s outrageously priced and I’m not sure why, the ingredients are as simple as making the fudge.

A casserole you won’t forget

I’ve been stopping by The Pioneer Woman’s website from time to time.   I’m sure you’re familiar with her.  If you aren’t, then I suspect you’ve been living (under a rock?)   I’m drawn to her recipes, stories,  photographs, and photographing tips.   Without question, she is a very talented and creative person.  I know she  doesn’t need a small time blogger like myself  promoting her, she does well enough all on her own.  But…..

Yesterday,  she posted a recipe for a Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole.  The moment I saw the ingredients and her mouth-watering photo’s I knew I was going to be making it for dinner.   

I did make a few adaptations to the recipe.  I used a lighter margarine, not butter, used parmesan cheese from the jar,  and added 2 small garlic cloves of crushed garlic to the mushrooms as they were browning.  I also bought a store roasted chicken to save time, I used vermicelli instead of thin spaghetti,  and  I used skim milk instead of whole.  The biggest change I made was cutting the amount of spaghetti (vermicelli) the recipe called for in half, and increasing the chicken by 1 extra cup. I think if I had used more vermicelli the casserole wouldn’t have been creamy enough.  Remember I used light margarine, and skim milk.  

This casserole is a keeper!  It’s so delicious that I’m adding it to my tried-and true recipes.  Talk about comfort food – oh man!