If you have read my Traditional Southern Macaroni and Cheese post, you know I don't care for boxed macaroni and cheese. That might be an understatement actually...lol. As much as I hate boxed mac and cheese, I have an even greater dislike for boxed au gratin potatoes. They are disgusting with a capital 'D'! I am not sure what Einstein came up with freeze drying potatoes and putting them in a box with a dry powder that is supposed to be cheese, but it was someone who doesn't eat au gratin potatoes, obviously. I just don't get it y'all! This recipe for homemade au gratin potatoes is almost just as easy.
There is one advantage to those boxed potatoes, they cook up quick and in this day and age, quick is what everyone is looking for understandably, at times. Have you ever tried to make au gratin potatoes from the start, in the oven in a short amount of time? It's not happening folks. It takes well over an hour and even then it's tricky to get the potatoes tender and not burn the top.
This is a shortcut method that I really like to use. You partially bake the potatoes in the microwave, then peel (or not) slice and finish in the oven. It cuts the time in almost half and you won't have to worry about crunchy potatoes. Here is what you will need:
5-6 medium baking potatoes
1 can evaporated milk
2 cups half and half or whole milk (don't use reduced fat milk in this)
1 Tbs. cornstarch
4 Tbs. butter or 1/2 stick
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Scrub the potatoes and place on a plate, pierce the skins a few times and bake about 7-9 minutes, depending on your microwave. They should be starting to get tender but not baked all the way through. Let them cool, then peel and slice. You can bake them ahead and place them in the refrigerator to get cold before peeling and slicing. They actually slice up nicer if they are cold, but it doesn't matter.
Spray a 2 1/2 quart casserole with nonstick spray. Lay half of the potato slices in the casserole. Dot with half of the butter and sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and seasoned salt.
Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese and half of the cheddar cheese.
Repeat on the next layer with the rest of the potatoes, sprinkle with seasonings again, dot with butter, Parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese. Pour the can of evaporated milk around the edges. Be sure to shake it up first, because it sometimes separates. Stir the cornstarch into the milk or half and half until it's smooth and pour that around and over the potatoes. The milk should come to the top of the potatoes and start to come over the edge of them. It doesn't have to cover the entire top, because as it cooks it will bubble up over the top. Be sure your casserole is big enough to have some room at the top to prevent spill over. Place the casserole on a cookie sheet or pizza pan and if it does spill over it saves your oven. Cover the dish, either with the casserole lid or foil and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Remove the cover and increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and cook for another 15 minutes. The top should be just starting to brown and the cheese nice and melted.
Easy Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes!