Slow Cooker Sunday: Scalloped Potatoes

In my last Slow Cooker Sunday recipe you may recall that I mentioned purchasing a new booking filled with recipes tailored for 2 people. Well, I was beginning to lose hope that the recipes in the book were good. I had two fails, well, they weren’t really fails, I just didn’t like the way they tasted in the end so that’s sort of a fail, but, more so due to my taste buds than the recipe itself I should say. But then I tried another recipe and my faith was restored. Sounds kind of funny to say about a cookbook, but, I am sure some of you will understand. No one likes buying a cookbook only to discover that a majority of the recipes you try aren’t appealing. So, what was this recipe…? Scalloped Potatoes. You might be scratching your heads wondering what could be so special about them since you could easily make them in the oven – which I have. But, the few times I have made them I ended up with overcooked and undercooked potatoes in the same dish. No Bueno! Following this slow cooker recipe I ended up with perfectly cooked potatoes that held their shape and didn’t fall apart easily… YAY!

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture to share with you. The one picture I did take didn’t make the dish look all that appetizing. I was planning on baking a cake and wanted to move my slow cooker out of the way to pull out my stand mixer so I transferred the potatoes to a dish without taking a picture of them in the slow cooker and when I transferred them, even with my best effort, I wasn’t able to transfer them as one dish and then ended up breaking apart a little. Oops!

I began by slicing three russet potatoes into thin slices. They were roughly 1/8-inch thick. In a medium bowl I combined a chopped yellow onion, minced garlic, grated Havarti & white Cheddar cheese, dried basil, salt and pepper. After spraying the insert of my slow cooker with cooking spray I placed a layer of potatoes and then sprinkled the cheese mixture over it. I did this a few more times ending with a layer of potatoes.

In a small saucepan I heated heavy cream and butter over high heat until the butter melted. I then poured this mixture over the potatoes and sprinkled the top with grated parmesan cheese.

After covering and cooking it on low for 7 hours I had the best scalloped potatoes I have ever made.

 

Slow Cooker Scalloped Potatoes

Ingredients:

3 large russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup grated Havarti cheese

1 cup grated white cheddar cheese

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

Spray the insert of the slow cooker with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine the onion, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and Havarti & Cheddar cheeses. Stir to combine.

Begin by placing a layer of potatoes in the bottom the slow cooker, top with the cheese mixture. Continue this layering pattern finishing with the potatoes.

In a small saucepan heat the heavy cream and butter on high heat until the butter melts. Pour this over the potatoes and then top with the Parmesan cheese.

Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

Recipe slightly adapted from The Complete Slow Cooking for Two Cookbook

Homemade Gnocchi In A Mushroom Sauce

I’ve been wanting to make Gnocchi for quite some time. Not really sure why though because I’ve only had it once or twice. I think it’s the challenge of it all… Can I really make it? One thing that was holding me back is that most recipes call for a potato ricer. Something I don’t own and was reluctant to purchase. I went to a couple of stores and couldn’t find one and truthfully didn’t want order one online. I did find a few recipes that said you could mash the potatoes but then I found some recipe reviews that said mashing the potatoes wouldn’t turn out good gnocchi. And then, I found a recipe that used a large hole grater and I was ready to go.

To make the dough I baked 3 medium Russet potatoes at 400 F for about 45 minutes. I let them cool for a few minutes, then peeled them and grated them using the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. I added in a lightly beaten egg and salt and then added in flour, a little at a time, until the dough wasn’t sticky. I then dumped it out on a lightly floured surface and kneaded it.

Next, I divided the dough into 6 smaller balls and rolled out each ball into a rope about 3/4-inch thick.

I then cut the dough into 1-inch pieces.

Once I had rolled out all of the dough and cut it. I boiled them in a pot of well-salted water. I knew the gnocchi was ready once it floated to the surface of the water.

Next, I finished off the gnocchi in a mushroom sauce. And here’s the funny thing about this… the first day it tasted good, the 2nd day it was delicious, but, on the 3rd day not so much. I think by then the gnocchi had absorbed a lot of the sauce and it just turned an odd color and the flavor was off. So, apparently homemade gnocchi is good for 2 days and that’s it.

 

Homemade Gnocchi In A Mushroom Sauce

Ingredients:

Gnocchi:

3 medium Russet potatoes (about 2 lbs.)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Mushroom Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

12 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup shallots

1 14.5 ounce can low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

5 ounces baby spinach

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

For the Gnocchi:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork and place on a baking sheet and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Flip the potatoes halfway through the baking time. Let the potatoes cool slightly.

Peel the potatoes and then grate them over the large holes of a box grated over a large bowl. Add the egg and the salt and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Add the flour to the potatoes, a little at a time, using only as much as you need so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. When the flour has been incorporated dump it and any remaining floury bits onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough. Press down and away with the heel of your hands, fold the dough over, make a quarter turn and repeat. Knead for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball and then divide into 6 smaller balls. Using your fingertips roll each ball into a rope about 3/4-inch thick and cut into 1-inch pieces.

To cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the gnocchi in batches. Once it rises to the surface remove from the water and set aside on a baking sheet.

For the Mushroom Sauce:

Cook the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the butter begins to brown. Add the mushrooms and shallots and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and parsley; simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the gnocchi and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and stir until wilted.

Divide among bowls and drizzle with parmesan cheese.

Gnocchi Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Mushroom Sauce adapted from Epicurious

Twice Baked Potato… In the Microwave

I made Twice Baked Potato a month or so ago for the first time the traditional way – in an oven. Just in case you don’t know, Twice Baked Potato is exactly what it says… A potato that’s baked 2 times. First you bake the potato, slice it in half, scoop it out, mix it with some toppings, spoon it back into the potato skins, top it with cheese and bake it again. And it’s delicious! But, I was left wondering if I can bake a potato in the microwave then why can’t make Twice Baked Potato in there also, so, I decided to try it out and I am so happy I did. It came out perfect and just as delicious.

I began by scrubbing two russet potatoes and pricking them with a fork a few times. Next, I baked them in the microwave. Luckily my microwave has a potato button, but, if yours doesn’t the average time is about 8-10 minutes.

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I let them cool for a few minutes and then sliced them in half and scooped out the inside.

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I mashed the potato with butter, sour cream and bacon bits. I then added in shredded cheddar cheese, milk, salt and pepper to taste.

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I then spooned the mixture into the potato skins and topped it with some more cheddar cheese.

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And finally I placed the potato back in the microwave and heated it for about 2 minutes, until the cheese melted.

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And that’s how simple it is to make Twice Baked Potato in the microwave!

 

Twice Baked Potato... In the Microwave

Ingredients:

2 medium russet potatoes

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, sliced

1/4 cup bacon bits

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping

2 tablespoon milk*

salt and pepper

*I’ve used whole milk and 2% milk

Directions:

Scrub the potatoes and prick with a fork. Place the potatoes on a microwave safe plate and bake in the oven, using your microwave’s potato button, or for 8 – 10 minutes.

Let potatoes cool for a few minutes and then slice them in half. Scoop out the insides (be careful not to tear the potato skins) and place in a bowl with the butter, bacon bits and sour cream. Mash these four ingredients together and then add in the cheese, milk, salt and pepper.

Spoon the mixture back into the potato skins and top with cheese and return to the microwave for another minute or two until the cheese has melted.

Recipe modified from The Pioneer Woman on The Food Network