The Slice-o-Matic Debacle and Au Gratin Potatoes

30 Jan

There are few things (food-related or not) that I love more in this world than cheese.  My cheese tray is one of my most treasured kitchen items (it sits out all the time in a place of honor above my sink), and I love cheesy anything in recipes.

(Look at that delicious cheesy goodness!!!)

It’s really no wonder I was attracted to an au gratin potatoes recipe on the Weight Watchers website.  After making it, I made some modifications to the recipe that keep it light but infuse more flavors that I enjoy.  And, of course, a requisite for au gratin potatoes is the cheese factor.

A funny thing happened while preparing my au gratin potatoes.  My sweet, sweet man bought me a slice-o-matic one night as a surprise gift.  I’ve been dealing with my dull, awful kitchen knives for months, but I’d been longing for a mandolin.  Unfortunately, I do tend to have little clumsy accidents and ligaments tend to get cut up — and my beautiful sous chef decided that a slice-o-matic is a safer option than a full-blown mandolin.  Gosh, I wanted the slice-o-matic to work so badly.  Not only was it a cute gift, but it seemed like a nice concept.  But, no.  It was awful to use, and more of a hinderance than a help.  I ended up having to slice most of the potatoes myself.

(total slice-o-matic failure)

However, the au gratin potatoes is pretty easy to prepare, and although it is not the perfect menu item for a weeknight due to the long cooking time, it’s fairly easy to prepare ahead of time.

Au Gratin Potatoes

adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe

4 Weight Watchers points plus value; 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large raw onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 lbs. uncooked Yukon gold potatoes, thinly sliced (preferably not by a slice-o-matic)
  • 1 cup low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
  • some salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Hungarian hot paprika, to taste (my taste tends towards 2-3 tsp)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.  I like an oval baking dish for this recipe.
  3. Take a large pot (I use my trusty Creuset Dutch oven) and melt the butter.  Add the sliced onion and cook for about 5 minutes.  It should smell heavenly and buttery in the kitchen.
  4. Add the flour and stir.  Slowly pour the skim milk into the pot and stir it all together.
  5. Add the potatoes and mix so that everything is covered and stirred together.  Wait until the concoction starts to boil.
  6. Stir in the cheese, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Mix everything all together and turn off the heat.
  7. Pour everything into the sprayed dish and smooth out the surface of the dish.
  8. Pop it into the oven for an hour uncovered.
  9. Remove the dish from the oven, cover with foil, and cook in the oven for another 20 minutes.
  10. Let stand for about five minutes, cut into 8 pieces, and enjoy!

When I’ve made this dish, I’ve let it stand and then put it in the fridge and saved it for the next evening.  To re-heat, put it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes on a low temperature (around 250).  Check to make sure it is heated through before serving.

Look at the beautiful end result!  It gets delicious and crisp all on its own!  Yummy — and actually healthy for you!

And as for my weigh in last week — I lost weight, and I feel better and better.  I did realize this weekend (which shouldn’t have come to a shock to me!) that I never meal plan for the weekends, and so I’m usually more on track Monday-Friday, and I’m eating Chipotle twice within a 24 hour period on the weekends (not that that happened this weekend or anything…).  It’s on my radar now, and I am going to try to plan my meals for Saturday and Sunday next week too!

We are doing “Meatless Monday” tomorrow — I hope it goes well!  It’s our first attempt!

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