We've been so busy lately that I just haven't had the time to go shopping - even online. Do things ever get that way at your place?
During the school holidays I avoid the stores as much as possible. If I shop with kids the budget seems to blow out the moment we step foot in the supermarket, no matter if I've gone to the effort of writing a list. Don't even get me thinking on the horrifying limitations of shopping with kids heading in every different direction, touching things they shouldn't and asking for everything they lay their eyes on...
Over the school holidays I took a glorious break from shopping altogether and my supermarket vacation continues this week with the re-commencement of school. (Long may it continue too!) With the exception of buying the absolute essentials, (Husband takes care of these on his way home from work), I decided to get busy on using up the supply in the overstocked pantry instead.
How many meals can I prepare from the provisions that we already have and while we're at it, what do we have?! (Loads of canned foods that's for sure.) Do you let foods build up in your pantry until you have no idea what you have as well?
Like everyone, potatoes, cheese and onions are something we have in abundance at any time and combined, these items make a great side-dish that's perfect for serving with steak, leftovers, eggs or whatever there is lying about and intended for dinner. Cheesy Potato Bake makes an easy weeknight meal addition and you can prepare it early in the day when things are a little less hectic - just cover and refrigerate until required.
I have been making this meal for years and it's easy to prepare. You can modify this recipe to suit your needs very easily. As a side dish, the following will yield around five decent sized portions or more if the serves are smaller in the case of children. Preparation takes around 15 minutes, (even faster if you slice and grate with an appliance) and baking time is around 50 minutes to an hour.
5-6 good sized potatoes. Use baking varieties that are known to soften well in the oven such as Dutch Cream.
1-2, small - medium onions,
1 cup of grated tasty cheese,
Paprika and parsley to garnish,
Half a stock cube,
Butter or margarine,
Peel potatoes and slice thinly. I use a Tefal Fresh Express appliance to do this quickly but you can do it by hand too. I pop the potatoes in a microwave container and give them a little zap in the microwave to soften them. (Around two minutes on medium to high power.) This speeds up the cooking process and ensures the potatoes don't come out undercooked in the end result.
Slice onions finely and reserve in a bowl.
Grate the cheese and place in a separate bowl too.
Use a medium sized baking dish and sprinkle with olive oil to cover the base. Begin by placing a layer of potatoes to line the dish, followed by a layer of onion, then cheese before starting the whole layering process again. Finish with a top layer of potatoes and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Dissolve the stock cube in a quarter of a cup of boiling water and gently pour this over the potatoes making sure you cover the surface evenly. Dot the dish with small blobs of butter or margarine and sprinkle the top with paprika and a small amount of dried parsley.
Bake for 50 minutes to an hour at 200 degrees C. Baking time may vary depending on the potato variety you are using and your oven so keep an eye on them and adjust as required. If you find the top is browning too fast, place a sheet of foil over any areas of concern. Personally, I like the little crunchy bits and have to hold back from picking at them when it's fresh from the oven.
Leftovers reheat beautifully in a covered baking dish the next day.
There are lots of variations on Cheesy Potato Bake. Do you have one that you like to make too?
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