Sunday, December 5, 2010

Au Gratin Potatoes Casserole

This year I wanted to contribute with a dish for our Thanksgiving dinner up-north and spent a good week searching for recipes on the Internet, although I sort of knew I wanted something with potatoes.  I love Au Gratin Potatoes or Scalloped Potatoes, but it's hard to find a good recipe, and I've tried several versions . . . some of them not even worth mentioning!

And then I came across this one recipe from Southern Living magazine.  The recipe looked yummy and easy, but then I started reading the ratings and reviews and one link even took me to a similar recipe from Cracker Barrel . . . and more reviews . . . so I read them carefully, modified and combined ingredients from the two recipes and came up with my own version . . . of course, I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but this one I "stole" from Taste of Home looks very similar! :)

One more thing . . . I prepared the casserole the night before and stored it in the fridge (covered with foil).  I read somewhere on the reviews that doing so would help the flavors meld better.  I guess you can also prepare the casserole a day in advance and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake.  My problem with doing this was that I wasn't sure if I would have the oven available at the party, since I knew that Bruce (Bobby's brother) was cooking several dishes at once!  Well, all I can (proudly) say is that everybody seemed to like my dish (even me) and a couple of people even asked me for the recipe! :)

Au Gratin Potatoes Casserole

• 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
• 2 tbsps fresh thyme
• 2 tsps Aunt Jane's Krazy Mixed-up salt
• 1/2 tsp pepper
• 2 cups freshly grated sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1 cup freshly grated Colby-jack cheese
• 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1-10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup
• 1-10 3/4 oz can cream of chicken soup
• 1-8 oz container sour cream
• 3 tbsps chives, finely chopped
• 1 bag (32 oz.) Ore-Ide southern style hash browns, completely thawed
• 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses (1/4 cup of each)

1. Fry onion in 1 tbsp olive oil until translucent. Add thyme, seasoned salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
2. In a big bowl mix next 7 ingredients. Add onion mixture. Add thawed hash browns and mix well.
3. Spoon mixture into a slightly oiled 9” x 13” pyrex dish. Smooth top with the back of a spoon.
4. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the mixed grated cheeses on top.
5. Bake in a 350 F oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Note:  If you notice that top of casserole is getting too brown, cover with foil during last minutes of baking time. Test doneness by pricking potatoes with the tip of a knife. There shouldn’t be any resistance at all.