Scalloped Potatoes

I modified this recipe after much experimentation, using several variations from Food Network, chef Robert Irvine and Emeril Lagasse. This recipe turns out best in a shallow covered casserole dish – it seems to set up better and cook more evenly.

It is great as a winter side dish to baked ham — the ultimate comfort food!


5 large potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/8″ thick slices
1/3 cup flour
4 tbs. butter
1 onion, diced
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded Colby cheese
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground dry thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (not salt!)
1/4 tsp. white pepper, to taste
1 tsp. salt, to taste
4 strips crispy bacon, crumbled
2 stalks chopped scallion, with greens, for garnish


Peel the potatoes and set aside in a pot of cold water. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Measure out other ingredients and set aside. When ready, slice the potatoes into 1/8″ planks using a mandoline.

In a heavy pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add the flour to form a golden roux. Stir constantly, about 10 minutes. Add the dry spices and bacon, then the milk and heavy cream. Reduce heat and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring constantly.

Planning for three layers, arrange 1/3 of the sliced potatoes in a greased shallow casserole dish, covered with 1/3 of the sauce and 1/3 of the shredded Colby cheese. Repeat twice and top with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake covered for one hour, then remove the cover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Remove and let stand for 10 minutes. Top with chopped scallion for garnish and serve.

Serves 6

Mike’s Big Breakfast Skillet Potatoes

Mike's Big Breakfast Skillet Potatoes | Culinary Compost RecipesThis is a Sunday favorite in our house – if you have a large skillet, this recipe will feed at least six people with plenty of leftovers. There is no substitute for a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. The flavor of this recipe really shines when prepared in cast-iron.


6 large Idaho cooking potatoes, washed and scrubbed with skins left on
2 ribs celery with greens, washed and fine sliced
1 large onion, peeled and rough chopped
Garlic powder to taste
1/4 tsp. ground dry thyme
1 tbs. dry parsley
1 tbs. dry chives
1 tbs. ground smoked Spanish paprika
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
3 tbs. butter
2 tbs XV olive oil


Prepare the potatoes and slice in planks, leaving the skins on, then quarter into matchsticks. Ensure they are sliced evenly. Preheat a large 12″ cast-iron skillet over medium low with a little cooking spray. Add 3 tbs. butter and the potatoes. Chop the onion and celery and add to the skillet. Level and let sit a bit to brown.

Prepare the spices and add to taste. Stir every ten minutes or so, until evenly crispy brown. My wife likes them somewhat burnt on the edges. I add the olive oil after the potatoes start to brown so it doesn’t scorch.

When possible use fresh parsley and garden chives. If going this route, add a bit later during cooking so they don’t burn.

Remove from heat and serve with bacon and eggs. Serve with ketchup and hot sauce on the side, or all by itself.

Serves: 4-6
Cooking Time: 1.25 hours

Mike's Big Breakfast Skillet Potatoes | Culinary Compost Recipes

Country Skillet Baked Hash Browns

These baked hash browns are really easy to prepare. You can use frozen store-bought hash browns, but I think the fresh just taste better. Ensure that the edges get crispy – that’s the best part!


3 large potatoes, washed, scrubbed and shredded (leave the skins on!)
1 small white onion, minced
1 cup milk
1/2 cup beef broth
2 cups shredded Colby cheese
1/4 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
Pinch of salt, to taste
2 tbs. butter, divided


Preheat your oven to 425° F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shredded cheese, minced onion, potato. Stir well to incorporate.

In a separate mixing bowl, add the milk, beef stock, salt and pepper. Melt 1 tbs. butter and add to the liquid ingredients. Stir well and add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix well to incorporate.

Heat a large, heavy 12″ cast-iron pan sprayed with no-stick cooking spray on the stove top over medium-high and add 1 tbs. butter. Render the butter until just lightly browned. Immediately spoon in the potato mixture and brown for about seven minutes until the cheese is just melted. Stir once during this time. Level it smooth with a spatula and place the skillet in the oven.

Cook uncovered for about 45-60 minutes until the top turns golden brown and the edges form a nice crust. Remove from the oven and let stand for five minutes before serving.
If your pan is well-seasoned, the potatoes will NOT stick.

Pair with bacon and eggs. Fantastic.

Serves 4-6

Kraut and Kielbasa Polish Dinner

This recipe is about as old-world utilitarian as it gets. My father-in-law was part Czech, and he made a recipe very similar to this. It’s even better reheated the second day.


4-6 strips bacon, cubed into 1/4″ chunks
1 large onion, chopped
1 Hillshire Farms® Polska Kielbasa, cut into 1/2″ slices
4 potatoes, scrubbed well and cut into eighths (keep the skins on)
1 28 oz. jar Frank’s® sauerkraut, drained
2 tbs. fresh parsley, minced
Salt and pepper to taste


In a heavy, non-reactive 5-quart stock pot heated to medium-high, brown the bacon slightly. Add the chopped onion. Lightly carmelize, then remove with a slotted serving spoon and set aside. Add the sliced kielbasa to the pot. Brown lightly, reduce the heat and return the onion and bacon to the pot.

Heat oven to 275° F.

Add the kraut and spices. Add the potatoes. Mix and heat covered in the oven for about two hours until the potatoes are tender. Stir once during cooking.
Remove, let stand five minutes and serve.

Pair with buttered French bread and a nice salad.

Serves: 4-6

Note: This recipe, due to the acidity of the kraut, will wreak havoc on the finish of cast-iron pots. For this reason they are not recommended.

Garlic Skillet Potatoes

Baked in the oven — a perfect side dish to just about any meal.


2 Idaho potatoes, washed and scrubbed (Leave the skins on)
2 tbs. XV olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 scallions, with greens, sliced at a bias
Pinch of crushed rosemary
Pinch of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the scrubbed potatoes into narrow planks. Place in a cast-iron skillet sprayed lightly with no-stick cooking oil.

Drizzle with 2 tbs. olive oil. Place the garlic clove slices and scallion on top. Sprinkle with dry spices and bake in the oven uncovered for 30 minutes, or until the garlic is roasted through and the potatoes are just golden-brown. (Stir once at 15 minutes.)

Serves 2-4.

Swiss Steak

My mom made this no-nonsense dish a lot when we were growing up. It was always a favorite. The ingredients list is simple and the flavor of the gravy with the potatoes and meat is an unbeatable combination.



4-6 tenderized top round steaks (usually marked “Swiss” on pkg.)
Salt and pepper to taste
Garlic powder or granules to taste
4 tbs. butter for browning the steak
1 10.75 oz. can tomato soup (save the can to measure the water)
1 can hot water
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 sliced onion
2 ribs celery, cut on bias with greens
1 tbs. Worchestershire sauce



Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Add the flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder or granules to a gallon-sized food storage bag. Mix well.  Coat the steaks evenly in the shaker bag and brown in a large cast-iron skillet with 4 tbs. butter, working in batches, two at a time.

Transfer to a covered 5-quart cast-iron dutch oven or Corel® dish. Mix remaining sauce and vegetable ingredients well. Cover steaks with the sauce and vegetables and a dash of salt and pepper to taste.

Cover and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees. Serve over boiled or mashed potatoes.

Serves 4-6.