Saturday, August 13, 2011

We're Cooking Now.....Mashed Potato Casserole

At the ripe age of almost 55, I am relearning the skill of cooking.  I won't bore you with details, that's another story and another blog.  ;o)   But....I have come to enjoy it, even with the flubs and bad food that I many times create. My Guinea Pigs are my 16 year old son and my hubby.  If my recipes pass that test, then I try them on my entire family when all of the boys and their spouses and girl friends and an occasional good friend or other family members come to dinner.  Many don't make the final review, but I am learning and keeping my brain active and at the same time using some of the creativity I still possess.  That part is not always a favorite of my family - my idea of trying new healthy alternatives and ingredients sometimes leaves them underwhelmed. But, every now and then I hit gold and last night's recipe was just that.  ;o)

In search of something simple and soothing last night, I stumbled onto a recipe for a Mashed Potato Casserole.  I would never have thought of this idea on my own.  I had some cheese and instant potatoes on hand and began my search.  If you like potatoes and have not tried this, you must.  I used the instant kind but you could easily use the real ones.  Here is what I came out with in the end:

Baked Mashed Potato Casserole
3 Cups of prepared instant mashed potatoes (I used fat free half and half and skim milk to make these)
Hint - don't use potato buds - use flakes - they work  much better
4 Ounces of cream cheese (use low fat if you are being more health conscious)
1/2 Cup Monterrey Jack Cheese
1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese or 2 Slices of Cheese
2 or 3 Slices of cooked bacon or turkey bacon cut into small pieces
Parsleyed Garlic salt

This would work well with leftover potatoes as well.  Soften your cream cheese in the microwave and then add to the Mashed potatoes (works better if the mashed potatoes are hot as well) and stir in the Monterrey Jack and mix well.  The potatoes will begin to look very fluffy - even instant ones.

Then I added garlic salt and pepper to taste and put the potatoes into a greased baking dish.  Set the oven to 350 and cut your sliced cheese into little pieces or shred regular cheddar and sprinkle the cheese over the top of the casserole.  Then place the cut up bacon pieces over the top.  I sprayed the top of the casserole with spray butter and baked it for 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top and the cheese is melted.  It will be almost like a souffle - really.  Enjoy!!!  ;o)

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