Cooking On A Budget: Mini Potato Casseroles

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Mini Potato Casseroles


My first experience with pre made mashed potatoes was back in 2004 after I closed my small restaurant and went to work in the food department of a small grocery store that was selling daily soups and lunches and hot food to go which was exactly what I had attempted to do. For a lot of reasons I was forced to close and they played a part in it. I thought if they helped put me out of business maybe I should take my cooking skills and work for them.
Since I boiled potatoes and mashed them fresh to a rich creaminess like home made I figured they would as well. Nope. They had a supplier that sold the mashed potatoes in a bag, frozen, and you steamed them (bag and all) in a huge pot of water. My first thought was that they could not be any good at all. I was wrong. They were pretty good.
Then in the last few years I found a consumer size pre made potato and other potato products called Simply Potatoes® Products. Generally they cost around $3.69 for a 28 oz. container. They are marked down to a reasonable price of $2.50 and are perfect for what I want to make for dinner. The whole container is enough for four people.
Another plus for our dinner tonight is that our IGA store in town has offered us a FREE rotisserie chicken based on our points. SCORE. The nice head of orange cauliflower on sale for $2.99 will be the side vegetable. I am excited for this slightly different potato side dish.
I am using 8 ounce ramekin dishes which is a perfect serving size.
  • 28 oz. pkg. pre made mashed potatoes (OR your left-over mashed)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. softened butter + 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tbsp. half and half or heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup crushed panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + 1 tbsp. for the topping
  • 1 tbsp. dried chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°.
  2. Spray the ramekins with cooking spray.
  3. Put the potatoes in a large bowl and smash around with a large spoon. Microwave for 2 - 4 minutes.
  4. Next add into the potatoes the sour cream and softened butter with the chives and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Mix well to incorporate.
  5. In a separate bowl combined the crushed panko bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese and the melted butter. Mix well. This is your topping.
  6. Fill each ramekin with the potato mixture to the top of the dish and smooth with a small spatula or butter knife. Add the topping. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes until hot and the crumb topping is golden brown. If you make these earlier in the day keep them refrigerated until you are ready to bake.

  7. Serve along side any protein: poultry, fish, beef or pork, lamb or veal.

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