When my brother Dan was younger and still prone to crazy allergies, Thanksgiving dinner always included a ham because poultry and their by-products made his throat swell shut. It was pretty sweet to have your choice of holiday meats and definitely secured Thanksgiving as my #1 holiday.

Since Dan now lives in Omaha and I don’t have two ovens, enough people, or the money to justify two huge chunks of meat, we just do turkey on Thanksgiving. But I know that there are lots of people out there who don’t like turkey or who are looking for different side dishes to serve on Magical Thursday. Enter Garlic-Herb Scalloped Potatoes!

The original recipe I had for this called for whipping cream and half-and-half. Sounds pretty good until you eat it and feel that “Ew-I-just-ate-a-stick-of-butter” feeling. And no, before your imagination runs wild with visions of me crouched in the corner, licking a stick of butter, I’ve never done it. But I can imagine. Anyway, I adapted the sauce similar to Sara’s Guiltless Alfredo and, to be honest, I like it better. Blasphemy? Maybe. But what fun would Thanksgiving be if, after eating potatoes, you feel like you’ve just swallowed a whole platypus and you can’t enjoy anything else? Yeah, I thought so… :)

Garlic-Herb Scalloped Potatoes

3 lb. red or Yukon Gold potatoes
1 small yellow onion (optional…but it adds a lot of flavor)
8-9 ounces of Garlic Herb creamy cheese like Rondele, Boursin, Alouette (available in the fancy cheese section of the grocery store). If you’re in an absolute pinch either grocery store-wise or money-wise, garlic herb or chive cream cheese would work.
2 c. milk (anything but skim)
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley or chives
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9×13 (or slightly smaller, non-conforming dish from Ikea) baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Wash potatoes and onion and slice into 1/8″-1/4″ slices. Toss to combine. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes and onions in the bottom of the baking dish and sprinkle with some black pepper. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour all at once and whisk to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, making a roux. Slowly add in milk and salt. Increase heat to medium and stir constantly until sauce starts to thicken, around 3-5 minutes. You don’t want it too thick, but if you dip the back of a spoon in it and run your finger through it, it should look like this:

Add creamy cheese and stir until cheese is melted and combined. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the potatoes in the pan. Add remaining potatoes to the pan, sprinkle with pepper, and pour remaining sauce over potatoes. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake 55-60 minutes or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of fresh, chopped parsley or chives and serve! Serves about 6-8.

So does anyone else have ham at Thanksgiving? What kind of potatoes do you like? Mashed? Baked? Au Gratin? Funeral?



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