Years ago, when I was hitting the library each week for new cookbooks to read, I found a recipe for Cheesy Potatoes in Down Home with the Neely’s that I copied and started making. It was divine. Over the years, I have adapted it to fit my cooking style and this is what it is today. It is a winner. I have been so unmotivated to write this post this morning. I spent the last ten minutes petting my cat just to put it off. I don’t talk about Malcolm very often. But because I really don’t want to talk about potatoes today, you are going to hear about him. He’s just about the best cat ever, though my kids might disagree.
We adopted him from the Humane Society when he was one. He was small-ish and very friendly. We were hoping we had found a great family cat. It turned out that he had a tape worm. I discovered it within a day or two of his coming to our house. Quick as a wink, he was at the vet getting a shot to clear up the parasite. After that, he was not nearly as friendly. Talking it over, we decided that he was friendly because he needed help.
Malcolm didn’t know how to purr properly when we got him. He’d hyperventilate after about 30 seconds of us petting him and then he’d have to leave us to get his breath. It took him about ten years to get it right. He still doesn’t lie on his back. You know how most cats will roll over onto their backs and bat at things, or maybe bring their back legs up to “attack?” Not Malcolm; I don’t thing he ever learned how because he was so young when he was removed from his mother. So now, he is thirteen years old. This month is his birth month. We don’t know the exact date he was born, but the records said March. He weighs about fifteen pounds, with a nice little paunch that hangs down from his gut. He never scratches the furniture or carpet, only his scratching post. He is very careful to only use the litter box and he never sprays. He doesn’t bite or scratch unless my daughter tries to handle him too much. Even then, he never bites to break the skin, just to give her a warning.
Lately, he has started coming out of his domain (my bedroom) into the main family area. He will sit on the couch next to my sons or lie on the back of my comfy chair in the kitchen where I do all my blogging. I think he may have finally realized that no one is going to hurt him. The noise of the house has diminished as the kids have gotten older. Everyone is more laid back and Malcolm is getting brave.
So that had nothing to do with potatoes. In fact, a tribute to Malcolm should have been written on a tuna or bacon post. Those are the only human foods he ever gets to taste. However, this is where I wrote it and this is where it’s staying.
Frugal Tip: This recipe is best made with a couple different types of cheeses. Often I make it with blue cheese and cheddar. A little while ago, I was in Target and happened to look at their cheese (Okay, I will confess, I scour their aisles for marked down products) and found three packages of blue cheese crumbles for $.75 each. They were usually $4. The pull date was months away, the packaging didn’t seem damaged, in fact, I couldn’t see anything wrong with them, so into my cart they went. Later, as I used them, I realized that the crumbles were tiny, more like crumbs than curds. I think that was the problem. They were simply not up to normal standards. So, my tip for you is to look at marked down things in your grocery store. Some people won’t buy them because the foods are close to the pull dates and they are worried about the food being bad. Not all things are marked down for that reason, though. Some are simply not pretty.
- 9 medium russet potatoes, cleaned, peeling is optional
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3 Tbsp gluten free flour (or all purpose)
- 4-6 cups shredded cheese (try two kinds, like cheddar and blue or fontina or jack)
- 1 12 oz can evaporated milk
- 1½ tsp salt, divided
- ¾ tsp ground pepper, divided
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Take the 1 Tbsp butter and smear it all over the inside of a 9X13 pan.
- Slice 3 potatoes thinly and put them in the bottom of the pan, overlapping them to completely cover the pan.
- Sprinkle 1 Tbsp flour all over the potatoes.
- Sprinkle 2 cups cheese over the flour.
- Sprinkle with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper.
- Repeat the same process two more times, ending up with three layers of potatoes and cheese.
- Pour the can of milk all over the potatoes.
- Sprinkle with the thyme.
- Cover the pan tightly with foil.
- Bake at 375 for 90 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes to slightly brown the top cheese.