Yeah – so go look around the internets and you will see many recipes for Potatoes Au Gratin. You almost never see recipes for twice fired potatoes au gratin. Why would you fire a potato anyway? And TWICE? Isn’t that overdoing it just a little, Wendi? Well, no, because every single time I have tried to make potatoes au gratin, the potatoes never cooperate. They do tricks where they go rubbery. Conversely, sometimes they aren’t done all the way and believe it or not, yours truly can make a potato that is both rubbery AND crunchily not done all at the same time. One night, I got mad at my potatoes and decided “I’ll fix these potatoes little red wagon! I’ll cook them TWICE!
Some of you have told me that you just want the recipe. You do NOT come to Loaves and Dishes for my witty comments and charming stories. REALLY? How could that be? So for you recipe seekers, I have installed an express lane just for you. The rest of us who LOVE to talk about food will hang on together through the recipe and the process photos and we will meet up on the far side to chat about potatoes who behave badly as well as information about this recipe inspiration (although I think I just told you), Tips and tricks for this recipe and I really want to talk about grocery prices. So without further adieu, here is the recipe
THE RECIPE FOR TWICE FIRED POTATOES AU GRATIN
- 3 lbs russet potatoes
- 5 Tbs Sweet Cream Butter
- 6 Tbs Flour
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 C milk
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 dash Cayenne Pepper - ground
- 3 Cups Shredded Cheddar
- ⅓ Cup grated parmesan (the real stuff is better - green can is ok if needed)
- Preheat the oven to 350. Fill a 6 quart pan with water. Peel the potatoes and put the potatoes in the water whole. Boil until a fork pierces the potato flesh easily. Remove the potatoes from the water with tongs. Set on a cutting board and cool until you are able to handle without burning yourself. Hot potato! Once cooled enough to touch, cut into ¼ - ½ inch slices (close is good enough) and place in a 3 quart casserole dish.
- In a medium sauce pan while the potatoes are cooling, add the butter and allow to melt over medium heat. Add the flour and allow it to cook with the butter for 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Use a whisk and whisk in the milk. Allow to cook - stirring constantly until milk is warm. Add the salt and the cayenne. Stir in the cheddar and the Parmesan and cook till melted. Pour the cream/cheese mix over the potatoes and using a fork move the potatoes around to allow the cream to go between the potato pieces.
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with pepper and green onion.
THE PHOTO INSTRUCTIONS FOR TWICE FIRED POTATOES AU GRATIN
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR TWICE FIRED POTATOES AU GRATIN
- I recommend using Russet Potatoes, but I suppose other kinds of potatoes would work just as well.
- Really, if you like peel, you could leave the peel on.
- If you decide to cut the potatoes up hot – like I did – use tongs to hold them while you slice them. Cause, you know, hot potato!
- Once you put the potatoes in the baking dish and pour the cream mix over – rustle them around a little with a fork or spoon or something – so that all of the cream works its way around all of the potatoes.
- Make sure to give your potato water only a little salt. You can always salt more later if you need to. Taste it once you have the cream on it – and see if it needs more salt then. Cheese tends to be more salty than you think.
- When you cut up the potato – it is going to fall apart some – don’t sweat it – just put all of it in the baking dish. Its all good!
RECIPE INSPIRATION FOR TWICE FIRED POTATOES AU GRATIN
I won’t bore you by telling you again how I am a failure at making traditional potatoes au gratin. I’ll just say that I have read many many recipes for potatoes au gratin and I have tried so many you would be surprised and none of them have ever worked out because MY potatoes never cook properly. Potatoes must behave for other people, but they do not for me. That is when I became inspired to precook the potato!! Thus you have TWICE FIRED potatoes au gratin.
Which reminds me about what I wanted to talk to you about. The price of groceries. Is it just me or have you noticed that the price of groceries is going up up up? Please tell me if I have this wrong. Back a few years ago after hurricane Katrina the price of gasoline went crazy high – up near $5 per gallon. Right? I remember that in my tiny town there was times in which there was NO GAS at the local gas station! NONE. Not for any price. The tanks were dry.
The price of groceries also began to rise at that time. That makes sense, the price of gas goes up – our food is trucked ALL OVER this great nation – and thus the price of food must go up to cover the cost of the gas. Makes sense. Now, however, the price of gas has gone back down. When was the last time gas was this inexpensive? So, grocery prices should have returned to a lower level, right? WRONG.
It costs a fortune to feed my little family of three. A FORTUNE!! It is true that I have a teenager still at home and I am often feeding several extra teenagers. It is also true that I own a food blog and buy extra food just for blog photos etc. However, we do end up eating most of what I cook for the blog. So, WHY do groceries cost that much?
I usually shop at my closest grocery store which is a Food Lion. I have tried out the other closest stores: Lowes Foods and Ingles. Both end up costing about the same as my usual store. I have tried couponing. It works, but it is a LOT of work and organization. I am not that good at either of those, especially organizing. I finally gave up and just shopped the weekly sales at my store. Our grocery bill for the last month has looked like this – I know, I am almost embarrassed to show you. We did feed a LOT of extra people during one of those weeks. But look: $150, $320, $250, $175 = $895. WHAT???? For a month??? We ate out in there too – so that was even more!!
Years ago, I shopped at Aldi Grocery like a religion. I LOVED their low prices. I loved the green ideas like having people bring their own grocery bags and “renting” the grocery cart with a quarter. I love that people take their own carts back and are even nice to each other at the cart return! (I AM NOT BEING PAID BY ALDI TO WRITE THIS POST – ITS JUST MY OPINION!)
As the kids got older and our little family dwindled to three I quit shopping there because it is a pretty long haul from my house. Then, last weekend we were in the city for other things anyway and I decided to give Aldi another go. Besides, I had just read that they were adding more organics to their line up.
Friend. I want to tell you something. I bought enough groceries to feed my little three person family for a week. Exactly what I would have bought at any of the other major three. It wasn’t a week where I needed to stock up on spices or where I had any specialty items, but it was a week that I know I would have spent $150 at any of my local big three. Do you know what I left Aldi paying? Guess. JUST GUESS?
I almost wish I could hold a contest for this. (When my kids were little I would let them guess what the grocery bill would be and whoever got closest without going over got to keep the quarter from the grocery cart – but they also had to take the cart back) The total bill was $65!!!!! SIXTY FIVE DOLLARS!!! Can you believe that?
It is true, as my sweet hubby says, we don’t buy food, we buy food to make food with. So- that saves quite a bit of money. He was a bachelor for about 10 years and is familiar with all kinds of premade foods and pseudo-cooking items like a certain boxed meal where you simply add hamburger. However, WHAT A TREMENDOUS SAVINGS!! I’m gonna keep track of this and let you know how it goes. Just as an example – and how I got started on this anyway – a small 3lb bag of russet potatoes at my local grocery costs about $3 (sometimes more and sometimes less – but basically $3). At Aldi last week, I bought a 10lb bag of NICE Russet potatoes – there were some BIG ones in that bag – for a little over $3. You might see a lot more potato recipes around here!
With that, dear friend, I have to go because it is time for me to fix breakfast for the fam and mentally prepare myself for my regular ol day job. Plus, I need more coffee (another terrific Aldi find – I’ll have to share that with you another time). Please share with me your grocery frustrations. Have you noticed the prices going higher and higher? How do you cope with the higher prices? Has it changed how your family eats? Tell me all about it right down there at the bottom of this page in the comment section!!
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. ~ Psalms 34:14