Simple Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes…..

I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like.  What’s not to love about a cheesy, scalloped potato that’s really easy??  They go together in about 15 minutes and bake for about an hour.  These are especially delicious the next day.  Make a day ahead and serve at your next barbeque or potluck.  Simply rewarm in the microwave or oven before serving.

Here we go….

Start by generously buttering a large casserole dish.  Add a couple of crushed cloves of garlic, set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375′.  Peel 5 medium size potatoes or 4 large and cut into thin slices.

We begin to layer.  First a layer of potatoes and season with salt and pepper….

Next the cheeses.  I’ve used sharp cheddar, gruyere swiss and….

Cream cheese.  I like the creaminess it adds to the dish.

Then flour for thickening.  You’ll want to repeat the layers at least one more time.  Now for the liquid.

Pour the milk over the top of the potatoes and cheese moistening any flour you may see.  Bake for about an hour or until the cheese is nicely browned and bubbly.  If you’re serving right away, allow them to sit for 10-15 minutes.

Simple Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
5 medium size baking or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter for greasing the baking dish
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
5 tablespoons flour
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded gruyere swiss cheese or regular swiss cheese
4 ounces softened cream cheese
3 cups room temperature milk, microwave until you take the chill off (for richer potatoes, use whole milk)
1) Preheat the oven to 375’. Grease an oven safe 2 quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of butter. Crush the garlic and spread over the bottom of the dish.

2) Layer the potatoes, salt and pepper, half of the cheeses, and half of the flour, repeat with the remaining potatoes, salt and pepper, and cheeses.

3) Pour the milk over the potatoes and cheese. Be sure to moisten any flour you may see.

4) Bake for 60 minutes. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

*Use any combination of cheeses you like. 

**To rewarm in the oven, 350′ uncovered for 25 minutes.  In the microwave-on high for about 10-15 minutes.

Baked Potato Skin Appetizers with Bacon and Cheese

Who doesn’t love potato skins?  Look to buy small potatoes.  They bake in about 45 minutes and are easy to manage when eating.  Make the skins and bacon ahead of time and bake right before you want to serve.  Save the leftover potato flesh for skillet potatoes

Start by baking 12 small potatoes at 375′ for 40-45 minutes.  

Cook the bacon until crispy.  Drain over paper towels and cut into small pieces.  Set aside.

Once the potatoes are done, cool until you can handle them.  Carefully scoop out the flesh of the potato.

Brush canola oil on the potato skins to coat.  Once they’re all coated with oil, season generously with kosher salt.   Bake in 375′ oven for 14-16 minutes.

The leftover potato flesh will be good for 7 days in the refrigerator.

Top the hot skins generously with cheese and cooked bacon.  Bake at 375′ another 5-7 minutes.  Serve with sour cream and sliced green onions.  Enjoy!

Potato Skin Appetizers
 12 small potatoes, baked, halved, and hollowed out
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ lb. bacon cooked and cut into small pieces
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup sour cream
½ cup thinly sliced green onions

1) Preheat oven to 375’. Bake potatoes for 35-40 minutes.

2) While the potatoes are baking, cook the bacon until crispy. Drain on paper towels and cut into small pieces. Set aside.

3) Remove potatoes from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them. Cut in half and remove the flesh of the potato.  Save the flesh for breakfast potatoes.

4) Brush the inside and the back side with a thin layer of canola oil. Season the inside of the potato skin generously with kosher salt.  Place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and generously top with cheese and bacon. Bake an additional 8-10 minutes.

5) Remove from the oven and top each skin with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of green onion. Serve immediately.   Makes 24.

Loaded Potato Soup

Comfort anyone?  This is the perfect soup to serve to get rid of a “chill.”  This hearty and elegant soup is simple and uses very basic ingredients.   Serve with Irish Soda Bread. (recipe below)  Add a splash of half and half or cream if you wish.  The bacon is optional, but I hightly recommend it!  This soup tastes much like a loaded baked potato, it’s fantastic!

4 strips bacon
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 large cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
3 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into ½” cubes
4 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned
4 cups low fat milk, warmed
¾ cup all purpose flour
Cheddar cheese
3 green onions, thinly sliced

1)  Place a soup pot over medium heat and allow pan to get hot.  Cut bacon into small pieces and add to pan; cook until  nicely brown.  Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on paper towel, set aside.  Remove all but about 1 tablespoon bacon fat, add butter and  onion and cook 5-7 minutes. Add fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook another minute. Continue with medium heat through the entire recipe.
2) Add diced potatoes and broth to the pot.   Bring to a low bubble and cook for 22 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Taste a potato to be sure.
3) Warm milk in the microwave until warm. (not hot) Whisk flour into warm milk a little at a time.
4) Once potatoes are soft, mix the milk/flour mixture one last time to be sure it’s incorporated and add to the broth/potato mixture all at once. Stir often until the soup comes to a bubble and allow to cook for a few mintues longer.   Taste, adjust seasoning if needed.  Ladel into large serving bowls and garnish with cheddar cheese, green onion, and bacon.  Serve with a salad and a couple of slices of Irish Soda Bread and you have a very delicious and statisfying dinner!

*tip* when you whisk flour into warm milk it prevents lumps from forming.
**tip*  if you’d like to omit the bacon , simply add an additional tablespoon of butter.