Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cheesy Potatoes & Thankfulness

Thanksgiving menus are being planned, emails and phone calls this week are filled with discussions about "What should be on the Thanksgiving table?" and "Who's bringing what?". Our family loves to eat and Thanksgiving is our chance to make a lot of tasty dishes.  There are times in life that the saying "less is more" is an appropriate principle, however, the philosophy of Thanksgiving Dinner with my family, is that "more is more".  We are thankful that we have a full house coming to the Dinner this year, so that we can justify having multiple starches and salads and a couple of meats and a buffet filled with desserts!

Dave suggested that I post this recipe, to pitch it for your consideration as you are planning your Thanksgiving meal.  These are certainly special occasion potatoes (since the main ingredients, other than potatoes, are lots of cheese and heavy cream). We have been making them for Easter dinner for the past few years, but today I share them with you in case you want to make them for your Thanksgiving meal.

These Cheesy Potatoes  have just a few ingredients and are simple to layer and put together.
You can slice the potatoes ahead of time and keep them in water until the time of assembly.
You can choose which cheese you want to use, though we have stuck with Havarti because the flavor is so amazing and it melts so nicely.

3 ½ pounds baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups shredded Havarti cheese, divided
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups heavy whipping cream
6 tsp. chicken bouillon granules or chicken base, divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray large baking dish with cooking spray. 
Arrange 1/3 of the potatoes in the dish. 
Sprinkle with 1 tsp. bouillon and season to taste with freshly ground pepper. 
Add 1/3 of the cheese (about 1 cup) and 2 Tbsp. flour.
Continue adding 2 more layers of potatoes, bouillon, pepper, flour and cheese.

In a bowl, combine whipping cream and remaining 2 tsp. of bouillon. 

Pour mixture over the potatoes.  Bake for 55-60 minutes or until top is golden brown and the potatoes are tender.

Slice thinly with a good knife
Or slice with a food processor

layer potatoes, cheese & dry ingredients

bake until golden and bubbly
Photos do not do this justice...I wish this was a
"scratch and taste" blog!

However, If you already have plans for the potato dish at your table, or if you think that dressing and rolls and sweet potatoes are enough starches for the menu,  then you might want to consider one of these favorites:

This cranberry salad is delicious and holiday-worthy. I have been craving it for weeks now! It's sweet and tart and chock full of yumminess.  It is a perennial favorite!

[Since my post about this salad last fall,  I learned the history of this dish in our family. In 1964, my parents were celebrating their first Thanksgiving as a married couple and were living in Texas, 750 miles from home.  My mom was excited to make her first Thanksgiving feast and was determined to do it right.  She invited a couple, the Smiths, friends of the family, who didn't have plans for the holiday, to join them for the meal.  
This is a copy of mom's recipe,
which she wrote while Mrs. Smith
dictated it over the phone!
Mom committed to make her first turkey and asked Mrs. Smith, a more seasoned cook, to share a good cranberry recipe that Mom might fix. This was the recipe she gave her.  And 47 years later, with just a little tweaking over time, it has remained a favorite at our family table.]

And this sweet potato apple scallop is simple and lovely and very verstile.

And in the midst of it all, let us not forget to be thankful.  We have a day set aside for Thankfulness!  Let's Seize this Day of Gratitude.  And though busyness, and football, and cooking, and cleaning (and sometimes complex family dynamics) may dominate this day, hopefully we can practice and pursue gratitude.

At our house we have gathered the branches from the yard and set up our Thankful Tree as a focal point for our thankfulness this week.  What are you doing to pursue gratitude?  There are so many simple things you can do. Start a list on the fridge of things for which you are thankful and add to it when the thought strikes you, make a thankful tree, write notes of gratitude to people in your life, spend some time in prayers of thanksgiving...and give thanks as you enjoy a tasty feast!


  1. I wish this was a scratch and taste blog, too, Julie. I'll have to try those potatoes soon! Hope you're doing well.

  2. Leigh, It's great to hear from you. Thank you for being a faithful reader. I hope you are well!

  3. this will likely not be TOO surprising, given our creepily similar selves, but that exact same cranberry salad recipe is what my grandma (and now, since her death a few years ago, my mom) made every single thanksgiving for my whole life! I'm going to miss it so much this year since i won't be home....i may have to make it myself. :)

  4. I am seriously working on more gratitude in my life!! One day I will do more than just read your blog, I will try to make a recipe!!

  5. Besides the yumminess of the recipe, I am super excited about the "Thankfulness Tree" idea! Iris and I are starting it today!! Love to your family this week!

  6. Amy, of course that is your family salad!!! I think you should totally make it this year in honor of your grandmother and mother and the SOUTH. I miss you!

    Betsy, working on Gratitude is much more important than Cheesy Potatoes or Ginger Snaps! I am glad you are on the journey with me.

    Kath, So glad you and Iris are making your thankful tree. I hope it causes you to think Gratefully! My Lucy has added the funniest assortment of items to our tree this year: horses, cats, puppies, calves - none of which we have in our home - but she has a thankful heart! :)

  7. I am grateful that you did not add dreadful onions to those potatoes. :)