Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

I’ll shout it from the rooftop any day, “I am a comfort-food lover!”  Except if it’s raining, or if I don’t happen to have a ladder handy.  There’s just something about comfort-food that is just so……..well…….comforting.

Sorry if that’s redundant.  For me, it’s the equivalent of coming home from a long day and slipping on your cozy sweat pants, soft cotton tee and fuzzy pink slippers with the bunny ears on them.  Who can say no to that, right?!

Well, my good friend Katie is a whiz with comfort foods.  She grew up in rural Iowa on a ranch, so you can imagine the wonderfully comforting family recipes that came out of her house.  She shared this one with me and it’s been a favorite in my family ever since.  This is a great side dish to serve with any type of beef or pork or chicken dish.  I chose to serve it along side pan-seared sirloin steak and roasted broccoli spears.

My favorite part of it is the crusty edge, with the charred cheese bits.



I sliced these potatoes thinly by hand, but it would be a lot faster if you have a mandoline slicer.

Sprinkle green onions on top.



Add in the cheddar cheese to your bechamel sauce.  Bechamel is French for a white sauce made from butter, flour and milk.



Here’s the resulting cheese sauce.



Pour the lovely creamy cheese sauce over the whole thing and pop into the oven until bubbly, gooey and oh so good!

The next time you have one of those long days, come home and do the sweats, tee and bunny slippers thing and then make this.  I guarantee you”ll feel better!



Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

6 cups potatoes, sliced thin

2 green onions, chopped

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

2 cups milk

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the thinly sliced potatoes in a greased 13×9 baking dish and sprinkle the green onions on top.

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.  Whisk in flour and allow it to cook for one minute.  Add in the salt, pepper and milk.  Stir constantly until mixture has thickened.  Sprinkle in the cheese as you whisk, until all the cheese is melted.  Pour the cheese sauce over the potatoes.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.  Bake for 1 hour.  Remove foil and continue baking for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.


Shepherd’s Pie

So here I was, stuck with 10 pounds of potatoes because I was silly and bought 10 pounds of potatoes while they were on sale.  (I’m a sucker for a bargain!)

I didn’t have a recipe in mind when I bought these potatoes, so I searched the web to see what would look interesting.  I finally decided on this shepherd’s pie.  It was quite easy to make and the whole family loved it!  It is the ultimate in comfort food.  Ground beef and mashed potatoes, what’s not to love right?

If you are ever stuck with lots of potatoes, here’s a great recipe for ya!


Shepherd’s Pie

Adapted from Alton Brown

For the potatoes:

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes

1/4 cup milk

2 ounces unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 carrots, peeled and diced small

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves

1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas

Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the beef mixture and spread evenly into an 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.