I’ve made these potatoes for years and years, adapted from a 1950′s Betty Crocker recipe, and they have always gotten rave reviews – I’m pretty sure this is how my Grandmother made them, and my Mother, as well, although they were both a little “iffy” about recipes – they’d made this for so many years it was second nature.
This is truly a down-home comfort dish, making 6 one cup servings. The cost as a side is about $1.20, but you can also add 1 – 2 cups of ham and/or 4 oz of grated cheese in the layers for an easy main dish casserole; just serve it up with a vegetable, broccoli is perfect, and you’re done. If you add the ham or cheese, you’ll need to adjust the price to around $1.65. This is one of my “go to” recipes after we have a “Holiday” ham.
It comes together quickly, especially if you make the sauce as you cut and peel the potatoes and onions, but does need to bake for an hour to an hour and 20 minutes. I often cook it on days when I’m around the house before dinner, although you can certainly make it the day before and reheat though it’s not quite as “pretty.” You can certainly half the recipe and have something more comparable to the size of a box of scalloped potatoes – it will not need to cook as long, either. In my opinion, it doesn’t freeze well.
Recipe: Scalloped Potatoes
- 2 lb of potatoes, peeled and sliced (6 medium)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups 2% low-fat milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pare potatoes and slice thinly. Butter a 2 qt casserole dish. Layer potatoes in casserole with onion; a layer of potatoes, sprinkle on the onion, another layer, etc. until all gone. Finish with the potato layer on top. I do try to make an effort to layer the potatoes neatly on the top layer so it’s gorgeous when it comes out of the oven.
2. In medium saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook one to two minutes. Pour in milk, whisking constantly until thickened. Use the spoon test: when you dip a spoon in the sauce, turn it over, rounded side up and run your finger from the handle to the end. If it leaves a track that doesn’t fill in, it’s thickened properly.
3. Pour sauce over potatoes – I take a knife and nudge the layers a bit, so the sauce seeps down throughout. Bake, uncovered for one hour and 10 minutes, until soft when tested with a fork and lightly browned on top. Let stand several minutes before serving.gmail
4. Makes 6 one cup servings, or 12 smaller 1/2 cup servings.
Money Saving Strategies:
For pricing, remember to use your coupon matching sites for your local stores. My favorite is Pocket Your Dollars in my area, but every store has a group of enthusiastic couponers who can point you to the best bargains. Don’t be discouraged if your prices are higher at first – just keep shopping the best sales and follow the strategies and you’ll get there! Check under Saving on Basic Ingredients for more detailed information and storage hints – use <control f> to search each page to bring you to the item you want to check out.
- Potatoes: Buy on sale: This is a good recipe to have in mind when you see the larger bags on sale. I bought 10 lb for $1.99; my cost 44 cents. Keep your potatoes well aired and in a cool dark place. I take mine out of the plastic and put them in a heavy grocery bag and roll the top down.
- Onion: Again, buy on sale; they keep well. If you’ve bought too many onions to use, don’t let them go bad. Slice or dice them, give them a quick saute and portion into ziplocs labeled “onions” for casseroles. You’ve just saved yourself a step for next time you make a dish. They say not to store next to your potatoes. My onion was 5 cents.
- Milk: Always on sale somewhere! $1.98 a gallon means I spent 31 cents.
- Flour: Again, another item that goes on sale often, especially around Holidays. You usually do not have to buy large quantities because it’s on sale so often. 5 lb for $1.99, totaL for three tablespoons is 8 cents.
- Butter: Again, often on sale around any Holiday. Keeps in the freezer for about 3 months. My cost is $1.49, so for 3 tablespoons I paid 8 cents.
- Ham: Buy an extra every time they are on sale for the Holidays; they keep a long time and freeze well. Cut off a slice or two before you bake it for “ham steaks”, serve your ham for dinner, then cut up the leftovers and bag in one or two cup portions and freeze. And of course, make split pea or navy bean soup with the bone. My ham usually runs about 88 cents a pound in this area on sale. if I use a cup, add about another 44 cents to the recipe.
- Cheese: Look for the buy one get one specials. I freeze for short periods if I need to, but only when I’m using it in casserole or pizza. My cheese, if I were to use it would run about 25 cents.
Nutritional Analysis: Cal: 240; % of Cal fr 29.1, Tot Fat 8g, Sat fat: 5g, Chol: 23gmg, Fiber 3g, Prot: 7g, Sodium 474mg
Not much better than the Betty Boxed Version at first glance, but this includes the butter and milk, and has more fiber, less salt and certainly not the additives!
Put Your Own Spin on It:
- A pinch of nutmeg in the sauce gives this “a what is that?” flavor that’s wonderful. White pepper is always a good substitution for black in bechamel sauces.
- Sometimes I add two cups of ham, sliced or shredded and serve as a main dish.
- Add 4 ounces of grated cheese (about 1 cup) to the bechamel for a cheesy casserole, either to the plain version or the ham version.
- Try skim milk for lower fat and calories.
My Payoff: I have a very inexpensive main dish or side dish that has a big comfort factor. And I know I’m serving a filling, nutritious food with no additives.
Scalloped Potatoes made in March of 2010.