Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Potatoes ‘n’ cheese

Now that we’re back in business here, I’d like to share a dish I invented a few days ago.

Backstory: as much as I enjoy scalloped potatoes, they seem a little watery with all that milk and stuff squishing around. It occurred to me that you ought to be able to cook potatoes much the same way you make macaroni and cheese: layered with white sauce and cheese.

The possible trap is that macaroni is already cooked, and so traditional macaroni-&-cheese bakes only about 20 minutes. Being at heart incorrigibly lazy, I didn’t want to have to precook the taters. So I decided to use a mandoline to slice them very thin, which I hoped would allow the oven to heat them more efficiently. This trick results in a lot of potato slices! To accommodate them, I used the largest flat baking pan in the house, preparing it with a liberal coat of butter.

Because of the amount of potatoes involved, I prepared a double recipe of white sauce, which I flavored up with a little New Mexico chili, nutmeg, and parsley. I pulverized about 12 or 16 ounces of cheddar cheese in the food processor, and then did two layers of potatoes, white sauce, and cheese, ending with the cheese. Didn’t have any bread in the house, so to make crumbs I crunched up some rice crackers. Actual bread crumbs would have been better, but the cracker idea worked adequately.

The result is pretty darn tasty, and it made enough high-protein food to fill half the freezer:


Last night I had some for dinner, with a couple of breakfast sausages and a salad. Couldn’t be easier!

Here are the specifics:

You need:
-about 4 cups milk
-about 5 or 6 Tbsp butter (plus enough to butter the pan)
-about 5 or 6 Tbsp flour
-salt and pepper to taste
-dash of nutmeg
-a few tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
-something for zing, such as ground pepper, paprika, or Tabasco sauce, to taste

-about 8 or 10 thinly sliced small cooking potatoes, or more, depending on what’s in the fridge
-about a pound (more or less) of tasty cheese, shredded
-bread crumbs

Make the white sauce:

dcp_2436Heat the milk in the microwave or on the stovetop, as desired. It should be almost simmering. Heating the milk isn’t really necessary, but it speeds things along.

Melt butter in a pan large enough to accommodate the amount of milk you’re using. Add the flour and stir over medium heat until the butter foams. Don’t allow it to brown. Now stir in the milk. Heat, stirring, over medium or medium-high heat until the sauce thickens. While stirring, add nutmeg, salt, pepper, parsley, and any other flavoring you’ve selected.

Assemble the dish:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a buttered baking dish, lay down a layer of thin-sliced potatoes, using about half of them. Spread about half the white sauce over these, and then sprinkle on about half the shredded cheese. Layer the rest of the potatoes over this, and repeat the layering of sauce and cheese. Sprinkle some bread crumbs over the top.

Cook:

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Test by poking the potatoes with a thin knife to assess whether they’re cooked to your taste. If not, let them bake a few minutes longer. Remember that if you take the pan out and allow it to set for ten minutes, the food will continue to cook from its retained heat. So, use your judgment in deciding when the potatoes are “done.”

Author: funny

This post may be a paid guest contribution.

7 Comments

  1. Sorry, I am on vacation & someone else’s computer. I can’t get to my archives.
    A while back you mentioned needing a new composter? Costco has one on sale this week. Thought you’d like to check it out.

    http://www.costco.com/service/Featurepage.aspx?productno=11473627&cm_mmc=BCEmail_403-_-QUAD-_-1-_-AprilMVMandMailer

  2. This is quite a contraption! Very avant-garde in appearance. It looks like it’s available online only — the other day I looked in the garden dept for a composter & didn’t see it.

  3. The price does include shipping to your door. You can have your own little space ship! A few green “Martian” gnomes running around?

  4. Those look delicious!! Nothing better than potatoes and cheese. Mmmmmmm! Thanks for sharing this recipe. Maybe I’ll try making it tonight. Chicken breasts, and fresh greens from the garden are already on the menu.

  5. I got a composter from the City of Phoenix trash place. $5.00. It’s just a cut in half used trash can with holes but it works pretty good.

  6. Exactly!

    My son says the composter I made for him works great–and the stuff he made in it is gorgeous! It’s a plastic trash barrel with a lid. I took my handy-dandy electric drill and punched holes all over it. With the lid on, you can roll it around on its side to mix the composting materials. Only problem is, it gets pretty heavy.

  7. Now that looks tasty. I wish I’d had this recipe when I let those potatoes take root. I’m going to store this for later.