Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It Ain't Over 'til the Fat Lady . . .

. . . smothers potatoes in a cheezy sauce!

My husband brought the flu home from work, and walking to the library in Saturday's snow didn't help matters any. I had to listen to both him and our son coughing, sneezing and sniffling all day and all night since Sunday. I had my flu shot, which is probably why I'm not joining in the mucus chorus. As lousy as he felt, because he doesn't have too many days off left for the year and he'll need them to finish closing up his aunt's house and the sale of it, he went into work. He said it was the people in work that gave it to HIM so he may as well just go.

Tonight for dinner I already planned on making this, one of his favorite meals. Actually, anything covered in cheese sauce is his favorite, be it potatoes, pasta, rice or pizza!

Officially, it's called Cheezy Taters, and it's not even a real recipe, just stuff tossed together in a bowl and covered with the Cheezy Sauce from Veganomicon. To McDougallize the sauce I saute the garlic in water and use 2 cups of broth made with Bryanna's broth powder (minus the salt and soy milk powder).

The dish itself is a casserole made from a bag of hash brown potatoes (the diced kind), a bag of frozen spinach, and a box of sliced mushrooms (I prefer Baby Bellas but plain white ones will do just fine). I'll probably toss some onions and lots of garlic in it tonight, too. Add a bit of liquid, like a cup or so of water or broth. If you're opening a quart box of broth for the sauce you may as well use some of the rest of the box here.

Mix it up in a big bowl, then plop it all in a big casserole dish (9" x 13" or similar), cover with parchment paper then foil if you don't have a glass lid like I do for my Corningware in that size, and bake for an hour or so at 350ºF. If you like the taters a bit crispy you can uncover it for about 15 minutes more until it browns to your liking.

Timing isn't exact in this dish - I've had it in the oven as long as 2 1/2 hours and as short as 30 minutes, but it was still a bit cool. The quickest way is to pop it into the microwave for 20 - 30 minutes if yours is big and powerful enough for the job. If want to do it slower, you can even stick it in a CrockPot on Low before heading out to work and come home 6 to 10 hours later to a hot meal.

While the casserole is cooking, make your Cheezy Sauce, and when the taters are done, pour the sauce over them and mix well.

There you go - a nice, easy and filling meal of comfort food for the ailing people in the family.

To add a bit more comfort to this comfort food dinner I'll also heat up my last box of Trader Joe's Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup. Between the soup and that cheezy casserole hubby will be asleep before Jeopardy!