Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

 

2017-03-30 18.06.00

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”
A.A. Milne

There are so many “time saver” side dishes on the market that if a body was in a rush to make dinner they would have an aneurysm figuring out which one they were going to use so this post is my attempt to show that a good side dish need not come out of a box with a massive amount of sodium but with a little bit of patience and the right equipment it can be done in no time at all.

The secret, in my opinion, to this dish is a good cheese sauce and a good cheese sauce begins with a good “Bechemel Sauce” and then is enhanced with a good cheese and don’t let the term Bechemel intimidate you because it is merely flour, butter and milk mixed until it is the consistency that you want. I used a Mexican 3 cheese blend because I just happened to have it in the pantry but feel free to use whatever you wish.

Here is how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold Potatoes – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 1/2 Flour
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 1 cup Chicken stock
  • 3 cups Shredded Cheese
  • 1 medium Sweet Onion – diced
  • 3 Garlic cloves – chopped
  • 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon White Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Green Onion for garnish (optional)

Putting it all together:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°
  2. In a large pot or dutch oven heat the butter until melted. Add the sweet onion, pepper, nutmeg and garlic and saute for about 4 minutes. Whisk in the flour and continue cooking for about another 4 minutes being careful not to let it brown.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock and whisk until incorporated. Slowly add the half and half while continuing to whisk. Bring to a boil for three minutes then reduce the heat and add the shredded cheese a bit at a time whisking until smooth.
  4. In a 9 x 6 greased pan place a layer of potatoes and cover with cheese sauce. Alternate the process until all the potatoes and cheese sauce have been used. Top with Parmesan and green onion
  5. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time……….

                          Bon Appetit

Apple Pie Bread Pudding

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Apple Pie Bread Pudding

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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“The greatest dishes are very simple.” 

Auguste Escoffier, the “Emperor of Chefs”

When I was in culinary school I was terrified of my Chef Instructor putting me in Bakeshop with a specific item to bake and giving me a set time it had to be ready by mainly because baking was not at the top of my “interest list” and I didn’t want to screw things up thereby throwing a wrench into the Lunch Menu.

As I have now become completely retired both from my regular job and restaurant kitchens I can take the time to practice baking and by using my family as Guinea Pigs I don’t have to worry about ruining someone’s business…….. just my families stomachs.

Here’s how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 1 19 ounce can of Apple Pie filling
  • 6 1/2 cups of Raisin Bread – cubed
  • 3 Eggs – whisked
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure Vanilla
  • A 9 x 13 Baking pan

Putting it all together:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 350°
  2. Cube the Raisin bread and place in a large bowl.
  3. In a second large bowl mix together the remaining ingredients and allow to sit at room temperature for about ten minutes
  4. Combine the wet ingredients with the cubed bread and mix until well incorporated being careful not to break up the bread.
  5. Grease the baking pan or spray with a non stick cooking spray, pour in the bread pudding mixture making sure it is evenly distributed and bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

There you have it another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until next time………

                           Bon Appetit

Applesauce and pumpkin loaf

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Applesauce and pumpkin loaf

  • Servings: 1 9x3 Loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
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As a general rule I don’t do a lot of baking even with a six year old in the house who likes cookies, muffins and cake so when I get the urge to bake it’s quite the surprise to all in the house… especially me. This recipe, then, is from one of those urge moments and with the help of an electric mixer the “prep” time is a breeze.

The baking time on this one is a little longer due to the loaf pan being used however if you wish to use a regular 9×13 cake pan the time will be reduced.

Here is how we do this one.

Shopping list:

  • 2 1cups All purpose flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cloves
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 1/2 cups Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 2 Eggs

Putting it all together:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Put all the dry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low for about two minutes
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low for about three minutes then on medium until all ingredients are well blended
  4. Pour the batter into a greased loaf or cake pan
  5. Bake for approximately 90 minutes if using a loaf pan, 60-65 minutes for a cake pan or until a toothpick comes out clean

There you have it “another simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond.”

Until the next time……..

                           Bon Appetit

 

Spanakopita in a Croissant

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  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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The Greeks have given the world many many great things over the centuries…… Democracy, Theater, Philosophy and of course—- FOOD. While most of us tend to forget that they gave us Democracy, Theater and Philosophy we can all certainly remember the Food. I mean, seriously, who can forget such toothsome foods as Souvlaki, Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and one of my all time favs Spanakopita which is a Greek spinach pie. Just the thought of spinach with onions, garlic, ricotta and feta cheese nestled between flaky Phyllo dough has me drooling. The fly in the ointment for this recipe, for me at least, is that I simply despise using Phyllo so when I found this particular recipe in my book Grilled Cheese & More (Publications International Ltd) I could not have been happier.

Here’s how we do this one…..

Shopping List:

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package (ten ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 4 ounces crumbled Feta cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 4 medium croissants
  • 8 slices (1 ounce each) Monterey Jack cheese

Putting it all together:

  1. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heaat. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add spinach; cook 5 minutes or until spinach is dry. Remove from heat; stir in Feta cheese, oregano and nutmeg. Season to taste with black pepper. Divide spinach mixture evenly among croissant bottoms; top with Monterey Jack and croissant tops.
  2. Wipe out skillet with paper towel; place over medium heat until hot. Add sandwiches; cover with large lid. Cook sandwiches over low heat 5 to 6 minutes or until cheese melts and bottoms are golden brown.

There you have it…… another “simple but tasty recipe for the grilling season and beyond”.

Until next time……….

                    Bon Appetite