Sometimes, the best of menu planning, just doesn’t work and you have to be able to think on the fly. That happened to me this week when I went to purchase scallops for the Scallops with Toasted Walnut Pesto . I didn’t buy these ahead of time, because I like my seafood FRESH, well as fresh as it can be living in the mountains. When I went to multiple stores, the seafood just looked ugly and oh my goodness the prices…12.99-17.99 per pound. Sorry that just rubs me the wrong way for previously frozen seafood. So, on the last few miles home, I have to think of something to cook. Since nothing was out and thawed, I grabbed some Shake and Bake, frozen BLSL chicken breasts and started microwave thawing the chicken.
Ok, main dish down now for sides…
I have a bag of potatoes that are going to start going bad if I don’t do something with them, a head of cauliflower from last time’s Bountiful Basket and some block cheddar… Wheels are turning…smell the smoke….
Au Gratin Potatoes
Potatoes (I used about 1/3 of a 5 # bag)
1 can condensed Cream of Whatever soup ( I used Campbell’s 98% FF)
About a pound of cheddar cheese, shredded
Wash the potatoes and evenly slice, I did not peel mine, but if you have an aversion to skin you could. I am the absolute worst slicer in the world so I use a mandolin.
Pour the soup into a sauté pan and heat on med-low. Once the soup has started to loosen, gradually add the cheese stirring constantly until all cheese is integrated and evenly distributed. This will be slightly thick at this point and very sticky. I gradually added some milk into the sauce, stirring constantly until the desired consistency is reached.
|Mixing in the cheese|
|Finished Cheese Sauce|
At this point, since I had never attempted this before, I had to have the official taste tester check it out…
Exact Quote…” Are you kidding me??!!?? ( At this point I am thinking another kitchen failure) This stuff is GREAT!!!!”
Yay!!! Success!!! Onto the oven…
I had a lot of potatoes to use up so this made enough for at least two meals…I did a 8x8 and a 13x9 glass baking dish. If you did only one, it would be piled higher and extra cheesy, but this worked for us.
Prepare the pan with cooking spray, preheat oven for 400 degrees (what the shake and bake had to cook at, you could also probably do 350, just a little longer).
I placed one layer of potatoes in a large mixing bowl, then spooned the cheese sauce over top and repeated until all the ingredients were layered. Take a large sturdy spoon and mix thoroughly to ensure that each slice is properly coated, then spoon into prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, remove the foil and add additional shredded cheese to the top if you wish ( I had some White Cheddar shreds just looking for love also, so what the heck.) and continue baking until the tops are browned and beautiful…about another 15 minutes.
Hope this inspires you to get creative in your pantry ( LOL almost wrote panty, we won’t go there) ! What are some of your creative go to pantry dishes?
Meet me in the comments to share… all comments will be acknowledged and responded to .