I will shamefully admit there are shortcuts in the kitchen that I like to take. I love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as a back-up dinner when I don't feel like cooking a meal...it takes 10 minutes to prepare and serve. I love Texas Toast...the one from the freezer section. We love TJ's pumpkin pancake mix, it's the foolproof way to make pancakes during those lazy weekends. I love boxed potatoes au gratin because it costs $1. I sometimes eat dinosaur chicken nuggets for lunch because by the time it's done cooking, I have finished feeding Elena her lunch. I like simple and easy things in my life especially while trying to handle all my mommy and wifey duties.
But sometimes I don't like taking shortcuts when I have company over for dinner. I always want to bring the wow factor to table because that's the kind of dinner host I am. My awesome bestie was in town for the week and had recently celebrated a birthday. Sometimes we peruse the streets and hit up a food truck or visit my favorite waffle sandwich place. But I really wanted to cook her a special meal just because she was Becky, one of my greatest girlfriends that I have in my life and it's not too often that we get to hang out.
I came across this recipe in the latest issue of Cooking Light and instantly knew that it would be perfect for dinner. Sometimes the main dish doesn't always need to be the main attraction, sometimes the side dishes can make the meal ahhh-mazing. This was a nice twist on the traditional au gratin due to the combination of the sweet potatoes mixed with the regular potatoes. Plus, the ooey gooey cheesy Gouda sauce was irresistible. This would be a fantastic accompaniment to any special occasion meal. I paired this with a simple roasted lemon chicken and salad and served caramel apple crumb bars (recipe coming soon) for dessert...and it all made for one memorable meal.
Skip the shortcuts for this tasty dish!
Adapted from Cooking Light: December 2012
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2 medium baking potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/4 inch slices (about 3 cups)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices (about 4 cups)
8 cups chicken stock, no salt added
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
2 thyme sprigs
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded (3/4 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 ounce fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place potatoes in a large stockpot filled with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes and place on a large jelly-roll pan in a single layer. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Discard the remaining chicken stock.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil. Add the flour and whisk constantly until slightly lumpy. Add the garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the milk and reserved cooking liquid together in a a container and slowly add mixture to pan while whisking. Add thyme sprigs to pan. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat and remove thyme sprigs from pan. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and Gouda cheese into pan.
In a large 2 quart baking dish coated with cooking spray, spread 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce in the bottom. Add a layer of sweet potatoes, then baking potatoes. Repeat layers until you have no more. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 salt, 1 tablespoon chives, and chopped thyme over potatoes. Pour remaining cheese mixture over potatoes. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Cover with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray.
Bake for 350 degrees for 1 hour or until potatoes are fork tender. Garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon chives and additional thyme if desired.
Yield: 8 servings
Review: Absolutely my new favorite way to eat potatoes. It does take a little bit of prep time to prepare this dish but it is well worth the wait. Hope you enjoyed this meal Becky!! xxoo