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Introducing Simple Pleasures Sunday
Comfort Food at its Best
June Warren’s Creamy Potato Casserole
Ever just get in the mood for swoon-worthy comfort food? Yeah, me too. It’s not especially healthy and I wouldn’t eat it every day – but when I want it, I WANT it. Like now. We just finished hosting our second Luau and I think everybody had a great time. Check out the pics from the latest Luau here. But in the meantime, as I’m recovering (no clean-up necessary because we have THE BEST FRIENDS IN THE WHOLE WORLD!) I want something warm and creamy and buttery. You too?
Well alright then! Welcome to Simple Pleasures Sunday. Every so often on Sundays I’ll be posting some of my all time favorite comfort foods. They are nothing fancy, but they seem to lock onto every pleasure center in your brain. I sure hope you enjoy them as much as I do. And so to kick off Simple Pleasures Sunday, I’d like to introduce you to June Warren’s Potato Casserole.
You would have loved June Warren. She was without-a-doubt the Hostess with the Most-est. She was one of those delightful women who looked like June Clever complete with pearls and all. June lived in St. Petersburg Florida. With the recent hurricane, she has been on my mind. I’m sure June has long passed on by now. I knew her in the early 90’s and she was probably in her 70’s at that point. But maybe not. I’d like to think of her as still in her kitchen making incredible food.
When June Warren had you over for dinner, she would start with an assortment of hor d’oeuvres. And I don’t mean just any hor d’oeuvres, I’m talking about a wonderful artichoke spinach dip (don’t worry I’ll share it soon – and you’ll LOVE IT)….
But June didn’t just serve it in a plain bread bowl. June served it in an alligator bread bowl…
Just because she could.
June wanted her guests happy. She was one of the most warm and welcoming ladies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She embodied one of my favorite quotes from “Blast from the Past” (a cute move, rated PG13):
“the short and simple definition of a lady or a gentleman is someone who always tries to make sure the people around him or her are as comfortable as possible.”
Yep – the only way to roll.
Turns out a large part of June’s definition of happy and comfortable included ‘well fed’. And June didn’t stop with hor d’oeuvres. She would set a fantastic five to seven course meal on the table for dinner (reminds me of mom) including wonderful briskets and fruit salads and soft, fluffy homemade rolls. But the ALL TIME BEST THING June made was her Creamy Potato Casserole. She served it the first time we were there for dinner. I took a helping
to be polite, OK – because I LOVE potatoes, and WOW. It was nothing fancy, but it sure was delicious. So I asked for seconds. And then, when all eight other people at the table were more than done eating, I took a third helping. And then – I begged for the recipe. And you know what? It’s incredibly simple. Just the combination of these basic items is all it takes.
You’re basically layering hash browns (gotta be Mr. Dells!), butter and Lawry’s Seasoned Salt …
Then you’re dotting the final layer with butter…
…pouring cream over the whole thing and baking it until the potatoes are tender and golden brown.
That’s it. But, man is it good. The potatoes soak up all the buttery, creamy goodness and the end result is much more than the sum of its parts.
Here it is for a dinner I just made for some business associates who were in town for several days (can’t have ’em eating restaurant food). It’s a wonderful make ahead dish. Assemble it the night before serving, refrigerate it and you’re ready to go. It was perfect with a grilled KC Strip steak and some broiled Parmesan zucchini sticks.
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Let’s get started!
GREAT make ahead potato dish. Better than mashed!
- 1 (30 ounce) bag Mr. Dell’s shredded potatoes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Lowry’s Season Salt
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 5 tablespoons salted butter
Grease a 2 quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter
Layer as follows:
¼ of the potatoes
Dot with 1 tablespoon butter
Sprinkle all over with ½ teaspoon Lowry’s Season Salt
Sprinkle all over with ½ teaspoon salt
Repete for 3 layers total
Finish with remaining potatoes
When ready to serve, preheat oven to 325 degrees
Pour cream over casserole
Melt remaining tablespoon butter and evenly brush or pour all over top layer of potatoes.
Bake in center of oven uncovered for an hour to an hour and 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Move potatoes to top oven shelf and turn on broiler. Let potatoes sit under the broiler, watching them contently, until top is crisp and a golden brown.
Remove and serve.
GREAT make ahead potato dish. Better than mashed! .
Here’s some other fantastic recipes to put you in a Hawaii frame of mind.
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