These last few days and nights have been really tough! Not only did two of my kids get sick, but so did I. We all had fevers, coughing, trouble breathing, headaches, and runny noses. To say it has been tough, well-that would be an understatement of sorts because it just so happened that my hubby had to go out of town for work… so I had no help caring for my sick children day in and day out, all the while battling this nasty virus myself.
And to top it all off, I ran out of coffee 3 days ago (I guess that wasn’t the worst part). But what kept me going was knowing that this would all be over soon. The day would come when our fevers would break, our coughs would ease, and our noses would stop dripping. Praying over my children for healing, asking God for increased patience kept me sane and gave me hope that this would all soon be over. This morning I woke up expecting to battle another day of body aches and rising and falling temperatures, but instead I woke up feeling rested and refreshed! What a great morning it was. I was able to get my laundry room organized, made my kids pancakes for breakfast, and we even managed to go on a short walk around the neighborhood! We came home to find fresh strawberries on our porch- a sweet surprise from one of our neighbors. Then my oldest went back to bed to try and sleep through another fever episode. For lunch today I thought I would make something warm and hearty, since I wasn’t able to cook much this past week at all. I made scalloped potatoes with corn on the side. It was delicious! My kids thanked me over and over again for making them such a yummy lunch. And it was pretty easy too. The creamy corn was canned, I just heated it on the stove. But hey-sometimes you compromise and canned corn it is! The original recipe for the scalloped potatoes I found here. I modified a few things: added another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and used sea salt instead of Kosher salt. I also didn’t have the specified cheeses, so I used what I had which was 3 mozzarella cheese sticks and 2 slices of havarti cheese. I grated what I could and chopped up the rest…it all melted anyway. I used small white potatoes instead of the large baking potatoes the recipe called for. The point is, use what you have. It took me a long time to learn this. Also a note about the heat. This recipe calls for 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. The dish does come out to be pretty spicy, which is perfect for our family. But if you have smaller children, or just prefer a milder version, I would recommend cutting those ingredients in half. Oh, and one more thing before I get to the actual recipe. Use a mandolin slicer for the potatoes if you have one. Makes the slicing part easier and the potatoes come out thin and cook evenly.
- 4 large baking potatoes, sliced thinly (or any other potatoes you have available)
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk or heavy cream (I used 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup organic whole milk)
- ½-1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground black or white pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or half this amount for milder version)
- 1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese *
- 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese *
*I substituted Monterrey Jack cheese and Cheddar cheese with mozzarella cheese and havarti cheese (together equaled to about 1 cup)
- Wash potatoes, slice into thin circles. Keep in cold water to prevent them from turning brown until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray 9×13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat in a small saucepan or skillet. Whisk in 1/4 cup flour until well combined, then whisk in 2 cups milk/heavy cream, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and 1 cup of cheese. Reduce heat to simmer and continue to whisk until sauce simmers slightly around the edges and has thickened slightly.
- Arrange potato slices in casserole dish and then pour cream sauce over potato slices. Mix the potatoes with the sauce.
- Bake uncovered for 1 to 1.5 hour. Taste the potatoes to check for readiness.
- Serve warm