Thursday, April 8, 2010

Scalloped Potato Muffins

On some days self-control fails me, willpower takes a break, and I am tempted to go crazy with carbs. Wednesday was that kind of day - well, it really began Tuesday evening. Two foodblogs (especially this one) featured muffin-sized scalloped potatoes, not something that typically sends me over the edge, but the descriptions were tempting, and the photos almost drool-worthy. The combination of stacked sliced taters, diced ham, minced scallions, grated cheese, butter and a bit of cream called out to me... loudly... even insistently. So I gave in and prepared a small batch for a dinner side dish, purposely making two extra muffins. Extras, just in case RL wanted seconds, but really hoping I would have them all to myself in the morning.

My photo features the morning-after, reheated-in-the-micro, leftover serving. The taters were creamier and crispier for Tuesday’s dinner, but they still tasted heavenly for Wednesday’s breakfast. The basic technique will definitely be repeated, with a variety of ingredient swaps and flavorful herb add-ins. Garlic, rosemary, jalapenos... the possibilities are endless.

Oops! Wednesday also happened to be an impromptu pizza lunch with friends. The available salad bar provided no competition for the delicious, all-you-can-eat, try-a-variety-of-toppings pizza slices I inhaled, one after another. At least I stopped eating before it hurt.

Garlic chicken pizza plus cheesy scalloped taters with ham, sigh! Does carb loading get any better than this? (Too bad I'm not training for a marathon.) Now I’m ready for some fruit, vegies and salad to balance these choices… just not today, not yet. For now, I think I’ll let my stomach rest.

Here's the recipe (not scaled down) that I worked with. It came from The Noshery, via a post on ThePioneerWoman in Tasty Kitchen. Whatever the history, it's now a keeper in my kitchen.

Individual Scalloped Potatoes

Prep Time 20 minutes     Cook Time 25 minutes     Servings 12

8 whole medium potatoes (I used Russets)
1 stick butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cups scallions, chopped
1/2 cup cooked ham, small dice
12 teaspoons half-and-half
Salt and pepper to taste
Pierce potatoes with fork, sprinkle with salt, wrap in damp paper towel and microwave until almost done. The potatoes should still be firm. Set aside; let cool till they can be handled, then slice.

Place 1/2 Tbsp pat of butter in each mold of the muffin/cupcake pan, then a slice of potato, a pinch of salt and pepper, then ham, cheese and scallions. Repeat layers: potato, salt & pepper, ham, cheese, scallions. (I did 2 layers, but up to 3 would work) Top each mold with another pat of butter and drizzle each with 1 tsp of half-and-half.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes, until cheese is melted and potatoes are brown.

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