Friday, February 2, 2007

Potato Comfort

Last night for dinner I was going to make a stir-fry. At the last minute I asked Andy if that's what he wanted, or if he'd rather have scalloped potatoes with ham. It just was one of those days where the planned meal didn't sound too appealing. But one for another day sounded fantastic. Scalloped potatoes it was. We had leftover ham from Sunday's Company Dinner, and I had planned the leftovers to accompany scalloped potatoes. Scalloped potatoes is not something we have very often. For one thing, it's potatoes, and I try really hard to cook things that my whole family enjoys, and Zander does not like potatoes. But last night it sure hit the spot, and it was totally economical.

I started with sliced potatoes which I'd layered with the leftover chunks of ham in a baking dish. Then I made a basic bechamel with onions to flavor it. This sauce was poured over the potatoes and the whole thing baked for over an hour, and became magic in a pan. Completely creamy and comforting. I had been debating making the potatoes au gratin by adding cheese, but I was so glad I didn't- the ham was so flavorful that it added the perfect amount of salty smokiness to the dish. We had some homemade applesauce and green beans on the side, and it was the perfect comforting meal.

Now here's the best part. I sat and broke down how much this meal actually cost me to put together. Now, I'm not counting the ham or the applesauce because they were leftovers. And I'm not adding in the small amounts of salt and pepper, but if I break down the cost of everything I used, this meal total cost me $1.78 to make. And no, I'm not kidding. If I had bought a pound of ham to put in, that would have upped the cost to more around $5.00. But still! $1.78 to feed a family of four, plus we have enough for another meal entirely of the potatoes and ham. That, my friends is an extremely economical dish. If you would like my recipe for Scalloped Potatoes and Ham, it is ready and waiting in the Recipe Trove.


Anonymous said...

Way to go on the $1.78! Great going. With your cooking skills (like I could just whip up a bechamel, think not) -- let your ceativity go and you will continue to come up with some great cost effective meals. I would suggest that maybe think of it as something you would want to do at any time, regardless of $ situation. Plus, great way to reduce waste -- a good thing for everyone.

the rachel said...

mmm....i think i found lunch for today!! =)

Erika said...

Oh Anonymous! Don't sell yourself short! A bechamel sounds impressive and daunting, but it really is easy. I'll do a post on it soon- check back for it.

Mmm rachel, it was a good lunch. :-)

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

One of my favorite comfort foods~ but then how can you go wrong with potatoes and cheese.

Erika said...

True Sandi, how can you go wrong with potatoes in general. :-)