Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Before I Die (Part 1)

Everything Baked Potato Lasagna
Photo "Cooking with Paula Deen,
 Nov/Dec 2008

There are some recipes that we might consider using once a week--easy, nourishing, healthy. Others are reserved for special occasions--they are a bit more time-consuming, the ingredients cost more. Perhaps they are not on our heart-healthy list, but it's OK to have them once in a while as an occasional splurge.

And, then there are the recipes that should be illegal. The kind that you would reserve for your last meal on earth.  The meal you will prepare when you hear the hoof beats of the four horsemen.

I have a few of those recipes lurking in my recipe file. I've never actually tried them. Just reading the list of ingredients slips three pounds on my hips. But I'm going to share a few of them with you. Misery loves company.

Everything Baked Potato Lasagna
1 16-oz box lasagna noodles
1 16-oz package bacon
13 tablespoons butter divided
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
4 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
12 oz. Velvetta cheese, cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmet
1 12-oz pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese

  1. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy; drain. Crumble into bite-size pieces, and set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt 8 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until onions are soft and transparent; do not brown. Set aside.
  4. Place potatoes in a large Dutch oven. Add water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain well. In a large bowl, combine potatoes and sour cream. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
  5. In a small saucepan, heat cream and 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add to potatoes, and mix well. Add chives, 2 teaspoons salt, and black pepper. Set aside.
  6. In a large saucepan, heat milk over low heat until warm; remove from heat, and keep warm.
  7. In a small saucepan, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour; cook for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly; do not allow to brown. Remove from heat, and gradually add warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return saucepan to heat, and cook over medium-low heat, until mixture reaches a low simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Add Velveeta, and stir until cheese is melted. Add garlic, remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Keep warm over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  8. Preheat oven to 350˚. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  9. Arrange a layer of noodles over bottom of prepared baking dish. Spread 1⁄3 of potatoes over noodles. Sprinkle with 1⁄3 of bacon, onions, and shredded Cheddar cheese. Pour 1⁄3 of cheese sauce evenly over cheese. Repeat layers two more times, beginning with noodles and ending with cheese sauce. Bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chives, if desired.

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