Let's talk about traditions. Every family has them whether they occur on the holidays or not. As a kid my brother and I would wake up early every year and sit at the top of the steps on Christmas Day. Once my parents were up they would video us coming down the stairs and seeing our pile of presents. Another Christmas tradition as a child was always going to the candlelight service at our church. It was such a lovely and peaceful time and always a great service with family.
Fast forward to now. My husband and I have started some traditions of our own. One of our older traditions is setting up our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. One of our newer traditions is having a gourmet homemade meal on Christmas Eve. It's usually filet mignon and we enjoy it with a glass of champagne.
Holiday traditions are fun and many of them revolve around food. My mother makes a delicious cheesy potato casserole for Christmas and Easter every year. She uses frozen hash browns, cheddar cheese, sour cream, butter, and cream of chicken soup. I look forward to it every year because it's so good and cheesy.
However, sometimes food traditions need to be updated. I never use cream of chicken soup at home so I wouldn't use it in my own cooking. While I love sour cream and butter, I figured I could find a way to lighten up this recipe. I wanted to put a spin on this family favorite and make it my own.
To do that I started with Betty Crocker Au Gratin Potatoes and Betty Crocker Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes. I used THIS coupon to get $.50 off 2 boxes of Betty Crocker Potatoes. I thought this would make a great base because the potatoes are thinly sliced and already have a cheesy, creamy sauce. Of course I had to add a few ingredients to it to make it my own.
I substituted in low fat sour cream for half of the milk in the potatoes. That would give the potatoes the richness I love in them. Then I chopped up some onions and peppers, sauteed them, and stirred them into the dish. I also added some black pepper and rosemary to the dish. That's it! It was just a few simple additions and substitutions but I really thought this was going to be similar to my mom's holiday potatoes.
I also made a topping for the potatoes because that's part of what makes them so good. Her original recipe calls for breadcrumbs, butter, and cheddar cheese. Instead of breadcrumbs I used crushed up butter crackers because I like the bigger pieces on my topping. I simply mixed that with butter, cheese, garlic, and pepper and sprinkled it on top.
After 25 minutes the potatoes smelled amazing. I won't lie, I wanted to take a big scoop of them as soon as they came out of the oven but I restrained myself so I wouldn't burn my tongue. That's another difference in this recipe. While my mom's recipe takes an hour, this one cooks in less than 30 minutes.
The verdict? These potatoes are super cheesy and delicious! They are definitely reminiscent of my mom's cheesy potato casserole but lightened up and faster to make. These potatoes will definitely be a shining star on our holiday table this year.
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 box Betty Crocker Au Gratin Potatoes
- 1 box Betty Crocker Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
- 4 c. boiling water
- ½ c. milk
- ½ c. low fat sour cream
- 3 T. butter
- 1 t. black pepper
- 1 t. rosemary
- 1 c. buttery crackers, crushed
- 2 T. butter
- ¼ c. cheddar cheese, shredded
- Heat the olive oil in a small skillet.
- Add the onion and pepper and saute for 5 minutes or until just softened. Remove from heat.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- In a 9 x 13 baking dish, combine both boxes of potatoes, boiling water, milk, sour cream, butter, black pepper, and rosemary. Mix well.
- In a small dish combine the cracker crumbs, butter, and cheddar cheese. Sprinkle over top of the potatoes in the baking dish.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
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