Jazz Up Your Cheesy Potatoes!
Potatoes are an important food staple and are the number one vegetable crop in the world. Also known as a comfort food, potatoes are a common dish any day of the year. Whether it's the main course or a side dish, this tuber is the most commonly consumed vegetable year round.
There are so many ways you can shake up your potato dish, whether it be mashed, baked, roasted, or fried. Having them two, three, even four times in a week is possible without ever having the same recipe twice. Below are just three ways to create cheesy potatoes.
Recipe 1. Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- 4-6 medium baby red potatoes
- Seasonings (salt & pepper, garlic/onion powder, etc.)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Grease a casserole dish.
- Wash, peel potatoes (if desired), and thinly slice them. If sliced too thick the potatoes will not cook all the way through.
- Lay a layer of potatoes in the casserole dish and lightly sprinkle with flour, desired seasonings, and shredded cheese. Continue until 1/2 inch from the top. On the last layer omit the flour.
- Pour enough milk to cover an inch in the bottom of the dish. Cover and cook for 45 to 60 minutes or until potatoes are fully cooked.
Serves: 4-6 people
When we are looking for a light quick meal I like to throw this dish together with bacon or ham (Canadian bacon is very good, too), along with fresh onions, peppers, and mushrooms.
On cold winter days, I turn it into a casserole of sorts and load it with peas, carrots, and corn in addition to the other veggies I usually use. This particular dish is truly versatile and can be altered for any season.
Recipe 2. Cheesy Hash Browns With Optional Bacon
Cheesy shredded hash browns are one of my favorite breakfast sides to serve with any egg main course. Potatoes and eggs are my go-to for a family-style breakfast, especially when I need to feed a crowd during the holiday season. This side pairs with scrambled, fried, and poached eggs as well as omelettes. It even makes a great filling for breakfast tacos or casseroles.
- 1 bag frozen shredded hash browns (I prefer to use real potatoes, but when pinched for time, frozen works equally well)
- 1 can cheddar cheese soup
- Seasonings (I like to keep it simple with just salt and pepper)
- Shredded cheese
- Crumbled bacon (optional)
- Grease casserole dish and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Add potatoes, cheddar soup, seasonings, and enough milk to cover an inch in the bottom of the dish. (Adding too much milk will keep your hash browns from getting brown and crispy.)
- Bake for 45 minutes. Add shredded cheese 10 minutes before the end of your baking time. This allows the cheese to melt without overcooking and turning brown. This is the time to add crumbled bacon if you so desire.
Recipe 3. Cheesy Potatoes With Crushed Corn Flake Topping
Cheesy potatoes are a family classic. We ate this at least once a week growing up with chicken. Today I still love to make this savory side dish at least a few times a month. The flavors of this dish marry well with all meat profiles making it a universal side for any dinner.
- 4-6 medium potatoes
- 1 can cheddar cheese soup
- Shredded cheese
- Crushed corn flakes, for topping
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a casserole dish.
- Boiling the potatoes makes them bake faster; however, it is not necessary.
- Cube potatoes and add to casserole dish along with the soup and enough milk to cover an inch in the bottom of the dish.
- Bake for about 45 minutes and then add shredded cheese. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and cheese is bubbly.
- Top with crushed corn flakes and serve.
Serves: 4-6 people
How to Customize Your Recipes
Each of the above recipes has the ability to be changed and mixed up to each family's individual tastes. Adding cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup adds different dimensions of flavor and creates a creamier sauce, which I love. You can also spice up your dishes by adding diced peppers and onions. My family loves their meats so I like to add diced ham, cooked sausage, or bacon especially to my hash browns which creates the feeling of eating a full course meal.
Potatoes are great for the family budget because they're very inexpensive. A 10-pound bag of potatoes costs as little as $3.99 to upwards of $5.99, depending on where you live and shop. I can usually get a 10-pound bag for right around three dollars. That size bag will last my family of four an entire month.
How Many potatoes per Person?
As a general rule, I tend to make one potato per person. This varies slightly depending on what dish I'm making or what type of potato I'm using. When needing to stretch how much we can get from our potatoes, I always add a little extra butter and milk or sour cream, especially to mashed potatoes. The extra ingredients enhance the flavors of the potato and help me be able to stretch how many people I can feed on only a few potatoes.
Did you know that potatoes are actually really good for you? Russets are chock full of potassium and vitamins C and B-6. Potatoes are also a good source of iron, magnesium, fiber, and protein. They are low in calories, with a medium baked potato containing right around 110 calories.
New research is showing that they are more valuable to our diet than originally thought. Not all potatoes are going to contain the same amount of nutrition; however, it's safe to say that in a world where we are cutting carbs left and right we don't have to worry about completely cutting out potatoes.
Organic facts is a great resource for learning about the benefits and nutritional value of potatoes.
This doesn't mean we can eat potatoes everyday for the rest of our life. In fact, most of the ways we currently eat potatoes (fried and cooked with lots of fat or butter) are extremely unhealthy and could double the risk of health issues. However, when prepared correctly this means without all the butter, cream, milk, and salt they can indeed be very good for you.
Before boiling always allow the water to reach a rolling boil to reduce the amount of time they have to sit in the water. In addition, leave the skin on to help preserve the nutrients that would otherwise be lost during the boiling process. When possible I always like to leave the skins on. Not only is that where all the nutrition is, but it adds flavor and texture to the dish.
My motto is always eat in moderation, and eat them in a variety of different ways. By creating new recipes and changing up the cooking method I'm helping to ensure that my family can get the best health benefits from our potatoes as possible.
© 2012 Cholee Clay