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01/09/2021

~ Doctoring Up a Box of Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes ~

IMG_8546I know I'm not alone on this point,  C-19 has changed what I store in my pantry -- truth told, it's not bad, just different.  In preparation for the lock down that occurred a few months ago, I stocked several boxes of Rice-a-Roni, four boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese, a big box of Hungry Jack instant mashed potatoes, and, a few boxes of Stovetop stuffing mix and Betty Crocker cheesy scalloped potatoes.  Thanks to them being staples in my mom's pantry, I knew these easy-to-make convenience-food side-dishes not only have a long shelf life, they're tasty.

Steamy & creamy on the inside w/a crispy top: 

IMG_8549In the case of the scalloped potatoes, my mom always, always, always made them, even for company and holidays.  She had her method for "doctoring up" (her words) these boxes of dehydrated potatoes.  There were never any complaints and never any leftovers -- everyone gobbled them up.  I so forgot how much like them, I've taken to making them occasionally.  In my kitchen, they're no longer "just in case" food.  They're scrape-the-casserole-clean comfort food.

Prepare two boxes in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.

Skip the water, use whole milk (4 1/2 cups).

Give the potatoes ample time to soften prior to baking.

Rest the casserole about 15 minutes prior to serving.

Better boxed scalloped potatoes -- what the doctor ordered:

IMG_85092  7-ounce boxes Betty Crocker's cheesy scalloped potates

4 1/2  cups whole milk, heated on the stovetop or in the microwave until steaming

4  tablespoons salted butter, sliced or cubed

Place dehydrated potatoes in bottom of 1 1/2-quart casserole:

IMG_8510Slowly add the steaming hot milk:

IMG_8517Add the sliced or cubed butter:

IMG_8518Wait for the butter to melt, 1-2 minutes:

IMG_8524Sprinkle in dry cheese sauce mixture from the packets:

IMG_8527Using a spoon, slowly stir dry cheese sauce into all:

IMG_8528Set aside for 60 minutes, then bake @ 350°, 30-40 minutes:

IMG_8532Every now & then, it's OK to enjoy thinking inside the box:

IMG_8542Doctoring Up a Box of Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes:  Recipe yields 6-12 side-dish servings.

Special Equipment List:  4-cup measuring container; 1 1/2 quart casserole

6a0120a8551282970b0278800f01c5200dCook's Note: I'm no different than a lot of you when it comes to weeknight dinners.  Sometimes I put a small chicken in the oven to roast, other times I fry a few pork chops, sometimes I roast or poach a turkey tenderloin -- easy to make, minimum-fuss fare.  Stuffing goes great with all of them.  That said, on a busy week day, many times, all I  have the time or inclination to make are two easy-peasy satellite side-dishes -- a bag of our favorite steam-in-bag vegetables, and, a box of "doctored up" Stovetop-type stuffing -- and there's no shame in either one.  That's why I keep Stovetop brand stuffing in my pantry at all times -- of course there are other brands, I like Stovetop.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021) 

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