Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cheesy Potatoes

 Although they're out of favor with some anti-carb nutritionists, I love potatoes!  My uncle grew them on his farm in Colorado and we were never without the round, red-skinned type that thrived in that climate.  One year Easter came early and their store of farm potatoes was gone.  When my mom said she would make the scalloped potatoes for Easter dinner, my aunt was incredulous, "You still have potatoes?!" she inquired?  "There are grocery stores!" was my mom's exasperated reply, but I had to laugh because I knew no way was my auntie going to trust anyone's potatoes except the ones THEY grew!  I'm not sure if she ate the scalloped potatoes that Easter or not, but I doubt it!
Anyway, I came up with this recipe for Cheesy Potatoes one weeknight when I wanted to serve a yummy side dish, but didn't have time for the long cooking required for scalloped potatoes.  They have a hint of garlic to them also, which really adds to their flavor.  The recipe can be doubled easily, and they even taste good reheated!  
If you don't have Colorado potatoes for this recipe, it will still be edible :) And if you don't have potatoes, well, there are grocery stores!  HA!

CHEESY POTATOES (serves 4 as a side dish)
4 medium potatoes (red-skinned, Yukon gold, or even russets will do)
1 clove garlic (smash on a cutting board with the flat side of a Chef's knife, the skin comes right off)
1.5 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbl. flour
2 Tbl. butter
1.5 cups milk
salt and pepper
1 qt. casserole dish, sprayed with PAM or buttered (better!)

Oven at 350F.
Peel the potatoes and slice about 1/4 inch thick.  Put in a pot and cover with cold water.  Throw in the smashed garlic.  Add about 2 tsp. salt to the water.  Boil the potato slices until they are just tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Try to not get them overdone, but if you do, don't worry about it!
Drain the potatoes and garlic in a colander.  Set aside.  
Melt the 2 Tbl. butter in the same pot and then add the flour.  Stir around until it gets bubbly, but be careful not to burn the mixture.  Off heat, stir in the milk.  Cook and stir over medium-high heat until the sauce gets smooth and thick.  Remove from heat.  Add about 1/2 of the cheese to the sauce and stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  
Put the potatoes and garlic back in the pot and stir carefully to coat with the cheese sauce.  Pour into the casserole dish.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Allow to sit about 5 minutes before serving.

Note:  Doubled, or even tripled, this is a good recipe for a potluck because it stays hot for a long time.  Increase the baking time about 15 minutes if you double the recipe.

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