I Loved This 30 Years Ago And I Love It Even More, Now!
Quite a few years ago – decades, actually (I had to be honest there, even though it seems like yesterday) my grandfather used to cook this lovely dish that was one of my absolute favorites.
My grandparents had a small farm, a 3-hour drive from our home, and they grew all of their own veggies, including potatoes.
Needless to say, we ate a lot of potatoes whenever we visited them!
But I never grew tired of potato dishes – I think it’s because grandpa loved them and he was always trying out different ways to cook potatoes.
He didn’t cook every day – only on Sundays, but I think that made it even more special.
He knew how to turn the simplest of ingredients into these dinner masterpieces that I am now desperately trying to copy.
This dish was something that certainly didn’t last long, and there was no hope of having leftovers the next day!
Some people call this moussaka but we didn’t – to me moussaka has always been the Greek dish with eggplants and white sauce.
This one we just simply called potato casserole, and that’s what it is. A simple, layered potato casserole – so delicious that you wish you could lick the casserole dish clean when it’s empty!
Somehow it’s always the simplest of recipes that give you the best and most incredible results. I have tried so many times to make a fancy version of this – none of them came even close to the one grandpa used to make.
Remember, you can always adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your taste!
Sometimes I leave them out completely, especially if I’m making this for a family gathering and I know there will be lots of little kids at the dinner table.
But when I’m making this for my family, I do like to add red pepper flakes and my kids actually really like it that way!
3 medium white potatoes (pared, thinly sliced)
1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1⁄2 cup onion, chopped
1⁄4 cup celery, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp celery leaves
1⁄2 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp pepper
1⁄2 tsp red pepper flakes (spicy optional)
2 Tbsp Land O’ Lakes butter
2 Tbsp Gold Medal all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup McArthur milk (or cream)
1⁄2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1⁄2 tsp nutmeg
1⁄4 tsp McCormick chili powder (optional)
1 pinch salt
1 pinch pepper
1 pinch paprika or black pepper
grated cheddar cheese
Grease a baking dish or spray with cooking spray.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Brown ground beef in a large skillet. Drain, if necessary.
Add chopped onions and celery and cook until soft, adding rest of spice ingredients through pepper flakes. Mix until well combined. Put in a bowl and set to the side.
In the same skillet, melt butter, add the flour and stir for one minute over medium-high heat.
Gradually add milk and cook till bubbly and thickened.
Add cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and chili powder continue to stir until melted.
Spread 1/4 cup of the ground beef mixture on bottom of a baking dish. Add a layer of sliced potatoes. Alternate ground beef mixture, then potatoes until you’ve added all of them.
Pour cheese sauce over ground beef and potato mixture.
Top with a pinch of paprika or ground pepper and grated cheese.
Bake for 1 hour, or until potatoes and beef are bubbly and done.
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Quick tip: Omit the red pepper flakes and chili powder if you don’t like spicy flavors.
Recipe and image courtesy of Genius Kitchen.