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Merry Christmas with a side of potatoes

We are looking forward to an incredible Christmas.  We get to be in our home with no expectations to meet, or places to rush off to, or people to entertain unless it happens to work out.  It means showers aren’t mission critical first thing in the morning, PJs are optional day-wear (but still never outer-wear) homemade cookies and milk constitute lunch and laughter comes a little bit easier. It’s every parent’s dream – minus the sleeping in… and in three hour increments.

Aside from lazy mornings in PJs and long walks exploring Vancouver’s best spots for toddlers (Granville Island for boats and musicians, Main Street for parks and coffee shops, Kitsilano for people watching and toy shopping) this holiday has brought with it some awesome food with little to no hassle.

In my last post I wrote about the sweet treats and cookies that we froze some of so that they could be pulled out throughout the holidays… I did the same thing with easy foods.  Each year at Christmas my job is potatoes, other jobs come and go but I always get to make the potatoes.   I’m so thankful my mom still hosts this amazing meal and I still learn from her each year.  I know I need to make as much as possible before my husband is home for the holidays from work and Matty, our son, is home from daycare.  I made two variations of potatoes this year a few days early- and made a double batch of each – separating the seconds into two smaller dishes to be frozen and pulled out at some point during the rest of the holidays to be served for our little family with leftover turkey or ham or roast beef.

My sister and her fabulous clan will host our family on Christmas Eve and we’ll all enjoy our traditional lasagna and Cesar salad (and pizza for the kids just in case).  I get to make the lasagna. This one I made a few days in advance, and tripled.  Making extra for spaghetti for my family the night I cooked it, and storing away a spare lasagna for the 29th or 30th when I know I’ll just want to pull something out and pop it in the oven – getting to worry far more about dinosaurs and train tunnels that day then making something good and knowing my family would still love the outcome.

All these make ahead fabulous dishes mean I may even have more time when the stars and naps align to peruse Martha’s new Entertaining book, and a couple of new favorites “Classy” and “Very Classy” by Derek Blasberg

I’m sure you have fabulous potato recipes and I’d love to hear about them – below is one we all love – tastes amazing and it doesn’t take too long to make compared to a lot of scalloped potatoes I’ve tried:

prep time: 10-15 min    total time: approx 1 hr

ingredients: russet potatoes, 1/2 cup cream, grated cheddar, asiago and Parmesan cheese (1 1/2 cups total), white onion, 1/2 cup of butter, olive oil, 1/4 cup milk, flour, salt and pepper

  • thinly slice the potatoes and the white onion (about 4-5 potatoes to each onion)
  • saute the white onion with a chunk of butter and a dash of olive oil for 4-5 min
  • to make it extra easy add the cream directly and rest of the butter to that pot on med-low heat and add milk according to how many potatoes you have (ie 6 potatoes 1/4 cup more if you cook more potatoes)
  • add flour to thicken 1-2 TBSP at a time (should take 3-5 mins to thicken)
  • add 1/2 your grated cheese as you pull it off the heat and stir
  • dot bottom of a pan with butter, add a layer of potatoes slightly overlapping, s&p, and then enough of the sauce to cover
  • repeat with potato, s&p and sauce layers until you have 3 layers and finally top with the rest of your grated cheese
  • pop in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes.
  • Can freeze for up to a month easily
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