Cooking for company is always Fearless Friday fodder. It’s hard to know exactly how someone else will perceive the dish. Throw in a second challenge and I was quite nervous about Wednesday’s dinner. You see, I was contacted by the folks at Carnation to test a recipe using their evaporated milk. I’ve always been a huge fan of evaporated milk. Anything that I can buy and keep in the pantry for the day I wake up and discover that -Oh no! That was the last gallon of milk- is a good thing. So, not only is it a great emergency coffee fixer -I don’t like black coffee, never have, never will- it is a great addition to the kids’ oatmeal and keeps me from having to run to the store before caffeine.
Get on track, Heather.
Carnation sent two coupons for cans of evaporated milk, a recipe booklet which you are invited to download or receive by mail, and a gift card to cover the expense of ingredients for the recipes I prepared for their campaign. One of the recipes was supposed to be from my own recipe collection and one from the free recipe booklet. As I mentioned, evaporated milk is a staple ingredient in my pantry, so it really wasn’t hard to oblige them with the first half of the agreement. I already use it in both my Tomato Gravy and Macaroni and Cheese. Almost anytime a recipe calls for milk, evaporated milk makes a great substitute with creamier results, as less water content equals greater flavor. It’s also lower fat than using cream.
Then life got busy, and I was unable to get to the second half of the effort, until close to the deadline (that would be today). Wednesday evening the children’s grandparents, as well as my husband’s brother, his wife, and their two kids arrived from Minnesota, so I was cooking for a crowd of people I don’t know that well and would like to leave with a favorable impression, as I’m shallow like that. I based the meal around the Loaded Potato Casserole, also making fried chicken, and green beans.
The recipe turned out well and I’d only make one substitution which I’ll note below. I will be adding pictures this evening, as my camera cord is mocking me from 90 miles away.
Did you have any culinary adventures this week? Did you step outside of your routine and try a new recipe or technique? If so, feel free to share in the comments.
Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
- 8 medium potatoes 2.5 – 3lbs total (I prefer Yukon Gold for mashed) -peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
- 1 cup Carnation Evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper (ok, you caught me, I substituted two things. Use fresh ground pepper for better results)
- 2 cups shredded cheese, divided
- 6 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled, and divided
- green onions for garnish
Place the peeled and diced potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Don’t over cook the potatoes, but make sure they are fork tender.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Grease a 3qt casserole dish.
Drain the water in a colander, then mash either with a hand mixer, potato masher, or pastry blender. Don’t go crazy mashing the potatoes as overworking them will make them gluey rather than fluffy.
Place everything in the casserole dish and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
Top with the remaining cheese and bacon and bake for about 5 more minutes, just until the cheese has melted.
Garnish with scallions and serve.
This recipe can be prepared the night before. Cook as directed up to putting everything in the casserole dish. Cover tightly and refrigerate. To heat, bake at 350 for 40 -45 minutes or until heated through. Then top with cheese and return to the oven for 5 minutes.