A Grandma's spin on crafts, games, recipes & lifestyle

Category: Family Recipes

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes that are Ahhh…mazing!

You may already have a scalloped potato recipe that you love.  However, do yourself and your family a favor and give this recipe a try!  Then once you try it, please come back and let me know if it is the new family favorite.  This recipe has been handed down through my family for years, and I decided to be very nice and share.  These, my friends, are cheesy scalloped potatoes that are ahhh…mazing!

It’s been a family debate over whether we should share special recipes.  One common belief is that if you keep the recipe secret everyone looks forward to you  bringing that special dish to family gatherings, right?  While this is indeed true, I am here to attest that your are still thought of when someone else makes your recipes.  I can’t tell you how many times I have made a special dish and stated to everyone, “Now you guys are going to love this because it is so and so’s famous recipe!”

Helpful Tips ~

There are a couple of different secrets I am going to share with you.  Mainly, just because I’m a nice gal! 😏

  1. This recipe is best if you cut the potato slices thicker.  You may be asking yourself, “If I make them thick, how can I ensure they will get done all the way when baking?”  There, my friend, is the first secret.  You need to parboil your slices.  Parboiling can be tricky because if you overcook them they will get too soft.  I truly can’t give you a specific amount of time needed because it depends on how many potatoes you are using.  I use the old fashioned fork test.  After about 5 minutes of boiling, I consistently and gently poke one of the potatoes with the fork to see if it is slightly soft.
  2. You are going to cook the sauce over the stove and then pour it over the potatoes in 2 layers.  Many people just layer cold cheese, however, by making a sauce you are creating a much more flavorful and saucy potato dish.
  3. Timing everything while cooking is one of the hardest things to learn for new cooks.  Once you put your potatoes on to parboil, you should start your cheese sauce.

How to Make Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes ~

Ingredients ~
  • 10-15 Medium Sized Russet Potatoes – sliced thick
  • 32 Ounce Block (2 lb) Colby Cheese -cubed
  • 2 Cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 Cans Milk (using cream of mushroom soup can)
  • Salt & Pepper – to taste
Directions ~
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Peel and slice potatoes.                                                                                                                                                   
  3. Parboil sliced potatoes for 10-15 minutes.  Check for softness with fork starting at about 5 minutes.  The time needed will vary according to thickness of potatoes.  You want them to be slightly soft.
  4. While potatoes are boiling cut cheese into cubes.                                                                   
  5. Mix cheese cubes, soup and milk in pan.  Cook over medium heat until completely melted, stirring occasionally so mixture doesn’t burn.                                                                                                                                                   
  6. Spray a 9 X 13 casserole dish with cooking spray.
  7. Drain potatoes.  Place half of cooked potatoes in casserole dish.
  8. Top with half of cheese mixture and salt and pepper to taste.                                                                 
  9. Layer remaining potatoes on top of cheese mixture and then top with remaining cheese.  Sprinkle again with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  We like ours with the cheese browned quite a bit so I bake it for the longer amount of time.
More Tips for those Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes that are Ahhh…mazing ~
  • If your casserole dish is filled to the top, place it on a foil lined baking sheet to catch spillage of cheese as it melts.
  • Since parboiling potatoes can be tricky to get the perfect consistency, I always insert a fork into my casserole when done to ensure they are completely cooked through.  If they still seem a bit hard but your top is browned, put foil over them and bake for 15 minutes or so longer.
  • Since you are parboiling the potatoes, there is no reason to cover with foil when first baking.  However, see bullet above for example of when you may need foil.

I get requests to make this recipe ALL THE TIME.  I sometimes feel like I should stop making them for awhile because I don’t want people to get bored with the side dishes.  However, they just keep requesting them.  This alone tells you how awesome they really are!

Also, if you are thinking that your family may not like them because it is Cream of Mushroom soup, stop thinking that right now.  If it is that big of an issue just don’t let them know what is in it.  I promise you that once you make that cheese sauce, they will have NO idea!

What’s even better is that these potatoes can be paired with so many different meat items.  In fact, they would go awesome with the Smoked Poor Man Burnt Ends that I wrote about…see that by clicking here!  Heck, there are times we warm them up the next day (that is IF there are any leftovers) and have just potatoes for dinner!

As always, good food keeps people coming back….so be sure to give this one a try!

Printable Version of Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes that are Ahhh…mazing ~

Happy Cooking ~

Mimi

Cooking Fun with Grandkids

I got the best phone call the other day!  Picking up my cell phone, I expected to hear my daughter on the other line.  To my surprise, it was my sassy six year old granddaughter, Addi.  Excitedly, she says, “Mimi, I’m making dinner tonight.  Would you like to join us?”  Are you kidding me?  Of course I do!  I’m not missing out on a night of cooking fun with the grandkids!

What was on the menu you ask?  We were served mini pot pies/shepherd’s pies and a strawberry rhubarb tart.  Wow!  It was delicious!

       

Let’s back up to Addi’s birthday earlier this year.  We always like to find one special “big” gift to get for the kids.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be big in size, but it needs to be extra special!  A lot of time is spent thinking and shopping for that perfect gift.  Addi has recently become fascinated with the kid’s cooking shows so ideas started formulating around that.

The Birthday Gift Idea ~

I have enjoyed watching various bakeoff shows with the grandkids.  Have you ever watched them?  Let me tell you, that they are nothing short of amazing.  I truly would have never realized that kids can cook as “professionally” as they do…even better than a lot of us adults!  Through this the birthday idea came to life!  Addi needed all of her own kitchen tools.

We have already done some cooking with Addi over the past couple of years, so I knew her passion for time in the kitchen wasn’t going anywhere.  After watching the different episodes of Chopped Junior and MasterChef Junior, we realized Addi was ready to step up her game a bit.

Now, first of all my thoughts went  to purchasing  Addi her very own kitchen prep and storage rolling cart.  I will admit that I spent time shopping for the best one.  I then realized I should probably chat with my daughter about this.  Afterall, this would take up a lot of space in the kitchen, and I had to admit to myself that it is her kitchen and not mine.  So I scaled my gift idea down a bit so that Lauren could keep her kitchen in tact.

Cooking Basket Gift Items ~

These are a win/win…Addi was able to cut food by herself and we felt safe with her doing so!

 One thing Lauren and I noticed, having the tongue out while cooking is a MUST for any great chef! 🤣

Cooking Fun with Grandkids ~

As you can see, we tried a variety of different kitchen gadgets.  This will definitely be a gift that we can add on to in the years to come.  Fostering a love of cooking in kids has so many benefits…to the kids as well as the adults.  The important thing to remember is it’s going to get messy…and that’s ok!  If kids become afraid to mess up they will lose the passion to learn.

In an earlier post, I wrote about a great recipe book software.  You create your own cookbook…family, church, neighborhood.. or whatever you choose.  The first book I created was Pappy on the Penarve…Check out my fun cookbook here!  My intention was to make an “Addi” cookbook next…epic fail!  However, I am still going to make it and include new recipes for her to try plus old ones that she has made with the family.  What fun memories!

Make time to have some cooking fun with the grandkids….you will be glad you did!

Enjoy!

Mimi

 

 

 

 

Velvety Potato Leek Soup

What a tantalizing soup to serve with salad and a sandwich or just a crusty piece of bread!!!  Make it lunch or dinner….just MAKE it!   Blend the sweet delicate flavor of leeks with potatoes to create this creamy soup.  Velvety potato leek soup will quickly become a family favorite!

Have you cooked with leeks before?  They are a member of the onion family and look like a very large green onion.  Leeks add a mild yet sweet flavor to any dish.  You will, however, need to take time to clean them as dirt and grit get caught in the layers easily.  It is best to clean them by cutting off the end and then slice in half length-wise from root to top.  Pull the layers of the onions apart and run each under the water to clean thoroughly.

Velvety Potato Leek Soup Ingredients ~

  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 2 Medium Leeks (sliced)
  • 1 Medium Onion (diced)
  • 3 Green Onions (diced)
  • 5 Russet Potatoes (peeled & sliced or cubed)
  • 32 Ounce Chicken or Vegetable Broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Thyme
  • 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic (minced)
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions ~

Melt stick of butter in stock pan. Add sliced leeks, green onions, garlic and onion to pan.  Saute over medium heat until vegetables are translucent (be careful not to brown).

Add potatoes, thyme and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are softened (about 20-25 minutes depending on thickness of potatoes).

Using a food processor or immersion blender, blend about 3/4 of the soup until it is pureed.  *You can puree the whole batch, but I prefer to leave a small portion of it a bit chunky.  If you are using a food processor, ladel portions at a time to the processor depending upon the size of your processor bowl.

Return puree to pot and add heavy cream.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook over low heat until heated through.

Garnishments ~

  • crumbled bacon, bacon and more bacon!!!
  • shredded gruyere, parmesan or cheese of your choice
  • sprinkle of cayenne pepper
  • chives
  • cracked black pepper

Notes ~

You can omit the heavy cream or substitute half and half for a more low-fat version of velvety potato leek soup.  The soup will still have a creamy texture to it as the pureeing process creates a creamy a nice cream consistency.

Slice or dice the potatoes to your preference.  Whichever method you choose, you will not want them to be real thick or it will take longer for the potatoes to soften while cooking.  The picture belows shows slices, but I actually prefer dicing the potatoes.  Small chunks of potatoes give a nice texture for that 1/4 of the soup I do not puree.

Don’t let the idea of pureeing turn you away.  This soup is super easy to make and is well worth that extra step.  I love my Ninja.  Get your Ninja Mega Kitchen System Here!

  • Includes: 1500-Watt Motor Base, 72-Oz. Total Crushing Pitcher, 8 Cup Food Processor Bowl, Dough Blade, (2) 16-Oz. Nutri Ninja Cups with To-Go-Lids

As mentioned earlier, you can also use an immersion blender instead.  Check out the immersion hand blender here!

  • Hand-held immersion blender for mixing soups, sauces, smoothies, and more

Both of these gadgets have numerous benefits, you only need to decide which one works best for you!  In fact, maybe you already have one of these.  MAYBE, you have it tucked away and haven’t used it in a while.  Do me a favor, get it out and use it for this amazing recipe!

Serve this luscious soup with a leafy green salad or a side of pasta salad.  Add  some crusty bread that is great for dipping for a hearty and cozy dinner.  What’s even better is that this fun idea is coming to you right before St. Patrick’s Day.  Afterall, it is also called Irish Potato Leek soup!  Enjoy!

Happy Cooking ~

Mimi (Shelly)

 

 

Veggie Filled Stuffed Peppers

As a child, when I would ask, “What’s for dinner mom?”  and I would receive the answer, “stuffed peppers,” I was a happy girl.  Stuffed bell peppers were considered a “comfort food” in my household.  (Although mom referred to bell peppers used any other way as mangos…did anyone else’s parents call them mangos??   I think it is a definite Midwest thing.)   My mom made them quite regularly following the traditional recipe with ground beef and tomatoes.

However, in our household now, Pappy usually prepares the meat on the grill while I cook side dishes to complement.  Wow, these veggie filled stuffed peppers are an amazing complement to chicken, beef or pork!

This past weekend, I wanted to create something new.  Something different.  Something fun!  This is what I came up with and they were delicious!

Veggie Filled Stuffed Peppers~

Dice all of your vegetables.  You are going to want to dice them pretty small.

Sautee your vegetables in olive oil.  Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Add your chopped spinach in and cook until wilted.

Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions.

While both of these are cooking, slice your bell peppers in half and remove the seeds

Place the bell pepper halves on a foil lined cooking sheet (I did not line my cooking sheet with foil and regretted it).   Add one slice of monterey jack cheese to the bottom of each pepper.

Add cooked veggies and rice together in mixing bowl.  Add shredded parmesan cheese and mix well.

Fill each pepper with the vegetable and cheese mixture.  Top with shaved parmesan.

Cook at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until browned.

Definitely a different twist on the traditional bell peppers, however, still a “comfort” food!  Enjoy!

 

 

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