Potatoes Au Gratin

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The other day while browsing Instagram, I came across a Food52 post about their new app (Not)Recipes.  Basically, the premise of the app is that it is a place for cooks to share recipes, without measurements, that they make up on the spot when they’re too busy to bother with a super complicated list of ingredients and 100 steps until completion.  A.K.A. My perfect dream app (which is saying a lot, because to be honest I’m not huge on having a bunch of apps on my phone).  I immediately decided on my (not) recipe, put on my Lumineers CD, and got to work melding potatoes and cheese together in cute, tiny ramekins.  Then I went to download the app, but damn it, my ancient, Mesozoic era iPhone (an iPhone 5, but whatever..) wouldn’t let me download the thing, because it’s too outdated (thanks Apple!).  Plus, there’s no iPad version.  Wah-wah.  I was sorta bummed, because I cook without recipes all the time, but I guess not all hope is lost, because really, the whole point of writing a blog is that I can share whatever recipes I want, even if they’re not necessarily recipes.  (P.S. definitely not saying anything bad about Food52 or Apple!  I’m a big fan of both, although I wouldn’t mind if they made a  version of the (Not)Recipe app for oldie-iPhones :-))

When I think of meals made without recipes, I think of potatoes au gratin.  While this may not necessarily be a meal to most people, I have definitely eaten my fair share of potatoes au gratin for dinner on Sundays after long days of work and studying.  Plus, I’m pretty convinced that if you add bacon, it qualifies as a meal (probably).  However, I’m always a fan of potatoes au gratin as a side dish too.  Essentially, cheesy potatoes are always a good idea.

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With Easter around the corner, I was also hoping to post a nice Easter-y recipe.  In my family, Easter always involves potatoes + cheese, and since I was already planning on making potatoes au gratin for my failed (Not)Recipes submission, it seemed like fate, or at the very least, convenient.  Potatoes au gratin are perfect for Easter Sunday, but you could also add leftover ham as an easy weeknight meal.  Definitely not a healthy dinner route, but sometimes potatoes, cheese, and ham are necessary for getting through life.

Growing up, my family always celebrated Easter with a nice brunch or dinner, and the Easter bunny left my brother and I presents on the bench on our front porch.  We almost always got a VHS tape, new shoes, and some Easter candy in our baskets.  Sometimes we would get a small toy to play with, and I distinctly remember getting a lime green Skip-It one year.  My parents recently decided to move back to their hometown of Reno in the next couple of months, and today I found out that they accepted an offer on my childhood home.  The sale is incredibly bittersweet, since my parents will be much closer, but I also will be losing the home that gave me the best childhood memories, such as hunting for Easter eggs or playing with my new Skip-It.  Today has been kind of sad, but I know that I will always fondly remember cheesy potatoes on Easter, opening Christmas presents with my little brother, Thanksgiving family dinners, and all the amazing memories I had growing up with my friends and family in that home.

Thanks to Potatoes Au Gratin for the nostalgia!

*Note: When I made this recipe, I just threw all the ingredients together, but in the recipe I included some approximate measurements from potatoes I have made in the past.  For this recipe, I used thyme and cheddar cheese, but the recipe can be adapted to use whatever ingredients you want.

Potatoes

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Happy Easter!

XO SaraLynn.

*Song of the Day: Flowers in Your Hair by The Lumineers

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Cheesy Potato Casserole

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Happy Thursday!

Every day is a reason to celebrate, in my opinion.

So last night, Brandon and I were talking and I mentioned that he should eat healthier (to which he disagreed).  After explaining various reasons why he should eat apples instead of ice cream, I was intending to say “I’m just throwing it out there that you should eat healthier.”  But for some reason I was thinking about the word ‘freeballing’ (and no, I don’t know why) and it came out as “I’m just throwballing it out there…”

Needless to say, throwballing is the new word of the year in our house.

I blame it on college brain.  Where you go to school full time, work, and other stuff like that.

So to all you busy people, cheers.

On another note, I’ve been pretty homesick lately and I cannot wait to go home for Thanksgiving, so I decided to make a casserole that reminds me of holidays and home.

Cheesy potato casserole.  We actually normally have it on Easter, but it is definitely a Thanksgiving dish too.  And trust me, it is absolutely the best EVER.  I’m serious, people.

Some of you guys may recognize this casserole as Mormon Funeral Potatoes.  That’s actually what we call it at home even though we aren’t Mormon.  However, all my Mormon friends think it’s absolutely hilarious.

So make this for Thanksgiving and watch it disappear.  I swear, you will make a lot of people very happy.

Ingredients:

2 lb. refrigerated hash brown potatoes (the shredded kind)

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 pt. sour cream

1/2 c. onion, shredded (I usually omit)

1 stick butter, melted

8 oz. Cheddar cheese (plus more for top), shredded

1/2-1 c. corn flakes, crushed

Salt and pepper, for taste

In a bowl, combine the hash browns, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, onion, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper.  Spread in a greased 9×13 pan.  Sprinkle with more cheese and crushed corn flakes.  Add as much or as little as you need.  Bake at 375* for 1 hour.

To reheat: Bake at 200* for about 30 minutes after letting it warm up at room temp for about 45 minutes.

To make this extra yummy, prepare it the night before so the flavors can meld.  Just don’t add the corn flakes on top or they’ll get soggy.  Before you bake, just add them on top and bake as directed.

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Can you imagine this with Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixings?  I’m in.

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Have mashed potatoes and cheesy potato casserole.

I won’t tell.

XOXO Sara