Scalloped potatoes begin with thinly sliced potatoes topped with creamy sauce, and then other ingredients can be added if desired. Variations are boundless, but the most popular is adding cheese for an au gratin style. Scalloped potatoes can easily be turned into a meat entree, used as a side dish, or created for a vegetarian main meal.
The process is simple. Slice potatoes thinly and layer them in a shallow baking dish, pour in enough milk and cream to make a sauce when the potatoes cook, and then bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes. The sauce is created naturally because milk and cream absorb some starch from potatoes. You can experiment with different types of potatoes and see what you like best--russets, red potatoes, Yukon gold, or even purple potatoes.
Soups and Other Additions
Scalloped potatoes also are often baked with a creamy soup, such as cream of mushroom or cream of celery. For something different, try cream of chicken or broccoli. Or if you or somebody you're cooking for doesn't care for cream soups, try making scalloped potatoes with a sauce created from chicken broth, butter, and a bit of flour. Add onions, french fried onions or sour cream, to the basic recipe for a different twist.
Au gratin potatoes are very popular, and scalloped potatoes are no exception. Shredded cheddar cheese is the most common addition. For something different, try cheddar cheese with bacon or ham. Adding different types of cheese or mixing flavors can also make flavorful scalloped potatoes, such as Parmesan and Gruyere, or a four-cheese recipe with cheddar, Parmesan, Romano, and provolone. Cheddar cheese soup is a quick way to add an au gratin flair.
Scalloped potatoes is a great way to use meat or vegetables to make a dinner casserole. Add tuna, ham, or hamburger, or fresh or frozen vegetables to bulk up the nutrition. Leftover scalloped potatoes are great in the morning with eggs. The basic recipe can easily be turned into a potato salad by adding mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, dill and radishes, and hard-boiled eggs.
Italian scalloped potatoes have Italian sausage, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. A Mexican version features shredded beef, cheddar cheese, onion, garlic and chili powder, with a side of black beans. Experiment with your own favorite ethnic foods and see how well they mix with scalloped potatoes, and you'll have a basic dish with great variety.