Make Ahead Scalloped Potatoes

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A Creamy Potato Casserole

Scalloped potatoes are a homey, rich dish, perfect for a cool evening or a winter potluck. Slices of russet potatoes baked into a creamy, cheesy sauce complement baked ham, prime rib or roast turkey. It can even be a meal in itself when served with a crusty loaf of bread and a side salad.

The casserole is simple to make, but all the peeling and slicing of the potatoes isn't practical when you're short on time. Even if you use a mandoline, slicing 3 pounds of potatoes is a chore.

The solution? Make the scalloped potato dish ahead of time and pop it in the oven to rewarm just before you plan to serve it. This is especially handy if you're a busy mom that's been tasked with making a side dish for a holiday meal.

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Serves: 10

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 3 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 F and use cooking spray or butter to grease a 3-quart casserole dish.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter over low heat. Sweat the shallot and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes, but don't let them brown. They'll look translucent when done.
  3. Remove from the heat and pour in the half-and-half and heavy cream. Stir in the thyme.
  4. Place one layer of sliced potatoes in the casserole dish. Top with 1 ounce of the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Continue to layer until you've used all the potatoes and cheese.
  5. Pour the half-and-half mixture over the top of the layered potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. 
  6. Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. 
  7. Before serving, bake for 20 to 30 minutes in a 400 degree F oven, uncovered. You'll know the casserole is ready when the juices bubble, the sauce has thickened and the top has turned a golden brown.