November 15, 2011

HOLIDAYS: Jill's Potatoes!

Posted by Ethne~

Last night Shaun, the girls and I had our special holiday dinner, just the four of us.  We celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter with our families, but I realized we had never had a big celebration just the four of us.

Halloween: the Holidays begin

Growing up in Williston, ND, we didn’t have any family in the whole state.  That meant there were a lot of holiday celebrations when it was just Dad, Thrifty Nana, Whit and me.  We had fires in the fireplace, went to midnight mass at First Lutheran, and one year I lit my hair on fire cleaning up the table after Christmas dinner.  [This was Christmas Eve, so it must be a family curse seeing as KD cut her hair into a mullet last Christmas Eve.]  Over the years in Williston, many of our friends became family to us, so many joined us on the holidays – but it is different from how we have it now with all our families within miles of each other.

It’s shaping up that our special holiday dinner, which I should entitle our Fun, Old-Fashioned, Family Christmas, is around the second weekend in November.  On the menu this year: ham, cheesy potatoes (‘Jill’s Potatoes’), Brussels sprouts/green bean casserole, fruit fluff salad and pumpkin pie.  The casserole was pretty tasty, so I’ll tell you about that in a post coming up, but today is all about Jill’s Potatoes:

the spread

When it comes to traditional family recipes, there are few more beloved than Mom D’s ‘Jill’s Potatoes’ which are served every year at several holidays throughout the year.  They are a crowd-pleaser without fail, and Shaun’s plate is usually 50% potatoes and 50% everything else.  In other words, he likes them.  (My plate is usually 25% potatoes, 25% ham and 50% deviled eggs.)

I was considering doing this as a Five Ingredients or Less recipe, but I don’t think that quite works.  It is super easy, though, and all the ingredients should be easy to find at any grocery store or Super Target.  Also, the ingredients are THRIFTY since we’re talking a Midwestern comfort food here – a few canned items and frozen potatoes.  And don’t forget the Velveeta.

You’ll need:

1 can cream of potato soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1-½ cups Velveeta, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
2 pound bag of frozen cubed potatoes (you can sometimes find the frozen taters with onion and gr. pepper already mixed in, called O’Brien, but be sure you get 2 lb.)
Paprika, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Ready to bake
This pottery bowl of mine is oven safe, so I stir and bake all in one

Stir all of the ingredients (except the paprika) together in a large bowl.  Dump it into a greased baking dish that has a lid.  Bake, covered, for 1 hour, pulling the potatoes out after 30 minutes to stir.  Sometimes the potatoes have needed a little more than 1 hour to cook.  If the potatoes are still a little raw/crisp when you test, put it in for another 15 minutes or so until the potatoes are perfectly tender.

The bowl washed perfectly clean despite the baked-on cheese

Sprinkle with a little paprika for looks when you take it out and serve hot from the oven.

The only thing preventing this sweetheart from being a true hotdish is it’s missing meat in it.  Sorry, taters, you’ll have to settle for Velveeta and hope that the ham will snuggle up next to you on the plate.
Finishing up dinner
So we can have some pumpkin pie: 2 slices each

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