Having food storage is good, but it isn’t enough. You have to know how to turn those bags, bottles and #10 cans into food that your family will actually eat. We make it a practice to pick up something every month and learn to cook dishes with the item that all of our family will enjoy.
This helps me accomplish a few things:
- Learn how to use the item to please my family.
- Have the confidence to use them item.
- Learn which ways I can prepare the item the fastest, with the least amount of cooking time, the tastiest way and more.
- Adjust recipes to suit our tastes and create new recipes to enjoy.
- Determine if the item in something our family even likes enough to consider buying more for our food storage.
I know it seems like a common sense thing to do, but you would be amazed at the amount of people who store food items that they have no idea how to cook OR that they don’t even like. There is no reason you shouldn’t be actively cooking with your food storage, it’s only going to give you that much of an edge should you ever actually need to bust it out and cook with it in an emergency. No one wants to be learning to cook beans when they are the only thing you have to eat. Learn how to cook with your food storage now so that later you aren’t stressed out about figuring that out, too.
And actually, that theory sort of applies to all areas of preparedness. If you don’t practice making fire now, when you need to do it will you be able to? Unless you get very lucky, the cards are not stacked in your favor. That’s my PSA for the day. Practice with what you prep so you can use it efficiently should the need arise.
Anyway, back to my recipe. A lot of people enjoy the boxed Au Gratin potato mixes and this is a great way to have that convenience food with just an extra step in there to make it from scratch and with real foods, not a bunch of random ingredients and preservatives.
I choose to partially re-hydrate my potatoes before I cook them in this dish, but you don’t have to. It only takes a couple of minutes to do it and I think it makes a difference. You know that you aren’t going to end up with any pieces that are still a little hard and not quite done. Like I said, it only takes a couple of minutes and I think it produces a better result. I just cover them with boiling water and let them sit while I make my cheese sauce for the dish, then drain and continue. This also makes it a little faster cooking, so you get dinner on the table that much quicker. That being said, you can try it without re-hydrating and see how you like them. It’s up to you!
I’ve adapted my Cheesy Potato Recipe to make use of these Dehydrated Potato Slices, and I think they work just as well.
Au Gratin Potatoes
- 4 cups dehydrated potato slices
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 4 Tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups shredded cheese, all cheddar or a mix of your favorite cheeses
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, cover the potato slices with boiling water and set aside. I a saucepan, melt the butter and add in the flour. Cook for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour taste, then add in salt, garlic powder and pepper; stir well. Slowly pour in the milk and stir until no lumps remain, then cook until thick and bubbly about 5-10 minutes. Add in the cheese, stirring until completely melted. Set aside. Drain potato slices and arrange 1/2 of them in the bottom of a greased 9 X 9 inch baking pan. Pour 1/2 of the cheese sauce over the top, then repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients. Top with additional cheddar, if desires, and sprinkle with paprika (optional). Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and the dish is golden brown on top.
Do you need more Side Dish inspiration? I have a whole Pinterest Board full of them for you to look through!
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