Loaded Baked Potato Casserole | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole turns a steak house classic into a delicious side dish for the whole family. We’re mixing in all the good stuff like cheese and bacon and leaving out those gross potato skins. You’ll want to make this way too often.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

My darling husband has a cold. Bless him. This means he’s going to spend the entire weekend on the couch playing video games surrounded by an ever-growing pile of used tissues and half empty cups of team and orange juice. It’s fine. Being sick is the worst. You should get to do whatever you want. I’ve brought him a bag for his tissues, so at least that problem is contained. Now I just have to find a way to keep him from breathing on me.

Luckily for my husband, my dinner plans were thwarted last night. That means he got to order a takeaway. In his opinion, the ultimate comfort food is Chicken Tikka Masala. He simply had to have it. So that’s what he got.

This highlights yet another perfect example of the difference between Brits and Americans. I only eat Indian food under the most dire of circumstances. I’m a very boring, very picky eater with the palate of a 12-year-old. This is no secret. Just leave me alone with my PB&J. He, on the other hand, could eat curry every day.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

As far as I’m concerned, this Loaded Baked Potato Casserole ticks all the comfort food boxes. There’s fluffy mashed potatoes with all their carby goodness, obviously. There’s also plenty of cheese because what’s life without it. And of course, there’s lots of crispy bacon. It’s the source of all our power.

Regular baked potatoes are great, and yes the skin is good for you, but it’s practically impossible to get all the different elements together in the right amount. That’s why Loaded Baked Potato Casserole is superior. Everything is pre-mixed, so you get the perfect bite every time. You don’t have to make a mess trying to do batle with your baked potato. It’s genius. Take this to your next potluck and watch people line up for the recipe.

Loaded Baked Potato Casserole | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Next time you need a comforting side dish, make this Loaded Baked Potato Casserole. Eat it every day. Bring it to parties. Share it with friends. The more the awesomer.

Recipe adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff.

If you like this recipe, you might also dig my Twice Baked Potatoes.

Potato & Pancetta Mac & Cheese | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Potato & Pancetta Mac & Cheese

Potato & Pancetta Mac & Cheese is hearty and delicious. You don’t need to make a cheese sauce, so it comes together easily. And the addition of dried thyme makes it smell amazing.

Potato & Pancetta Mac & Cheese | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

It seems like everyone is on a special diet these days. Food allergies are practically an epidemic. Also, there’s the usual rash of restrictive fad diets. Veganism is spreading like wild fire. Of course, the irony is not lost on me that veganism might be a great way to decrease the chances of wild fires. But I’m not there yet.

Sadly, science still hasn’t come around to the diet of my dreams. If only we could all save the world and lose weight by being carbetarians. All carbs all the time. With a little cheese thrown in from time to time for good measure. I mean, you can eat other stuff, too. I’m not trying to deprive you. You just don’t ever have to feel guilty about about eating potatoes and pasta in the same dish. A girl can dream, right?

Potato & Pancetta Mac & Cheese | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Potato & Pancetta Mac & Cheese would loom large in the diet of a carbetarian. This hearty pasta dish features crispy pancetta, nutty gruyere, and a good hit of thyme to make the whole thing sing. You won’t want to stop eating this.

We’re keeping the clean up to a minimum by cooking the potatoes and the pasta in the same pot. Next, we’ll crisp up the pancetta in the same oven-proof skillet we’ll bake the whole dish in later. Finally, mix the cheese, cream, and other ingredients into your drained pasta, then put it back in the skillet to bake. Keep it simple. Keep it delicious.

Potato & Pancetta Mac & Cheese | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

There’s no shortage of things to feel guilty about these days. May I suggest you make and eat this Potato & Pancetta Mac & Cheese with nothing but joy and pleasure. No guilt necessary.

Recipe adapted from Nigellissima: Instant Italian Inspiration by Nigella Lawson.

Finally, if you like this recipe, you might also love this Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese. It’s awesome!

English Potato Gratin | How to be Awesome o $20 a Day

English Potato Gratin

English Potato Gratin | How to be Awesome o $20 a Day

I’ve got a tasty little side dish for you along with a bit of a confession. People might think that because I write a food blog, and I talk about food all the time, that I probably make elaborate meals every night of the week. In real life, I usually don’t cook more than one thing at a time. With the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I pretty much never make more than one dish from scratch for a meal.

Because of my laziness, side dishes often get shafted. Then again, I guess part two of this confession is that we sometimes have side dishes or dips or appetizers as dinner and skip a main dish all together. I try to act like an adult when people come over, but my husband gets weird non-dinner on a regular basis.

English Potato Gratin | How to be Awesome o $20 a Day

This English Potato Gratin is absolutely good enough to be its own thing. Of course, I’d also strongly encourage you to serve it alongside a beautiful roast chicken or even at a holiday dinner. It’s creamy and subtle, but in no way lacking in flavor. Just make sure you don’t skimp on the salt. A nice sprinkle of coarse sea salt on top before serving will really make it sing.

Unlike other gratins I’ve made in the past, the potatoes are actually boiled in the milk mixture to make sure the potatoes are perfectly tender. It also negates the need to fiddle with shingling your potato slices. Just boil them until they’re soft and then transfer them however they fall to your baking dish, then transfer that to the oven to brown on the top.

English Potato Gratin | How to be Awesome o $20 a Day

I hope you make this English Potato Gratin. Serve it with something delicious, or not. Just don’t skip this recipe. It’s gonna be awesome.

Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson.

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

34 Awesome Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving always sneaks up on me here in Scotland because I’m basically the only person I know who even cares about its existence. It’s my favorite because the food is the star, and I don’t have to worry about finding the perfect gift or looking a certain way. I just have to put a beautiful meal on the table for people I love, and even though it can get stressful, it’s also so much fun.

I may be a failed blogger and a million years behind the times, but just in case I’m not alone in not yet planning my Thanksgiving menu, here are the 34 absolutely awesome recipes I’m going to choose from for my dinner next Saturday. Enjoy your days off, American friends. I’ll be at work remembering how thankful I am to have a job that allows me to pay for imported cans of pumpkin puree.

Cranberry Mule | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Drinks

Cran-Orange-Apple Juice – for anyone who doesn’t want alcohol, or as a mixer for anyone who does.

Cranberry Mule

Cranberry Margarita

Apple Margarita

Orange & Amaretto Cider

Poinsettia Champagne Cocktail

Pumpkin Spice White Russians

Apple Brandy Punch

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail

Garlic & Thyme Baked Camembert | How To Be Awesome on $20 a Day

To Get Things Started

Garlic & Thyme Baked Camembert

Cranberry Brie Bites

Apple Butter & Sharp Cheddar Grilled Cheese – cut into cute little triangles for snacking

Cranberry Shoyu Sausages

Holiday Brie

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The Main Event

Red Currant Glazed Ham – because there’s no law saying you have to serve a big turkey

Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast with Herb Gravy – for a traditional meal for a small crowd

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf – our family tradition

Rosemary Potato Rolls from Awesome on 20

Sides (obviously the best part)

Sweet Potato Rolls

Ridiculously Awesome Mashed Potatoes

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Maple Butter

Rosemary Potato Rolls

Sweet Potato Gratin

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Desserts

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream – to go with all your pie

Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Maple Cheesecake

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake – this one tastes most like traditional pumpkin pie

Baked Sweet Potato Brulee – simplest “dessert” of all time

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Pumpkin Cake

No-Bake Double-Layer Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Spice Brownies

Pumpkin Spice Gooey Butter Cakes

Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Breakfast (for your overnight guests)

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Scones

Chicken & Ham Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chicken and Ham Pie

Chicken & Ham Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’ve had a dog for seven months now. Everybody said I would fall in love with her immediately, but by the end of the first week, she had eaten my diary, and a cookbook, shattered the glass in our living room door, and peed on the rug where I do my yoga. We did not hit it off early.

Since then, her behavior has improved, but she still can’t be trusted to be left alone within reach of our food. Once I spent a half our slicing cheese for an epic cheese board. Turns out I didn’t latch the kitchen door all the way. By the time I realized it was entirely too quiet in the living room, about a third of the cheese was gone. 

Chicken & Ham Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The first time I made this Chicken and Ham Pie, we left the leftovers out on the counter to cool down a bit before stashing them in the fridge. Who left the kitchen door open? We’ll never know, but Eevee, naturally, did not fail to notice and took advantage of this opportunity to eat about half of the remaining pie. My complete disappointment at the lack of leftovers confirmed how much I really liked this pie. It’s unusual for me to love a recipe that’s loaded with vegetables and doesn’t have any cheese, but this Chicken and Ham Pie was crave worthy, so I had to make it again for you.

This is definitely a weekend dinner project. Nothing is complicated, but there are a few different elements, and the prep work is a little time consuming. I used store-bought shortcrust pastry to make things a little more simple, but if you want to really go all out, you could make your own. 

Chicken & Ham Pie | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Chicken and Ham Pie will be closely guarded from marauding dogs. It’s just too good to share. But even though she’s mischievous sometimes, I think we’ll let the dog stay. I have to admit, she’s sorta awesome.

Chicken & Ham Pie
Serves 4
This Chicken & Ham Pie is so good, you won't want to share it with anyone.
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Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped small
  2. 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  3. 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  4. 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  6. Salt and pepper
  7. 850 ml chicken stock
  8. 50 grams butter
  9. 3 green onions, thinly sliced from the bottom up to the point where the green leaves split off
  10. 50 grams flour
  11. 300 ml whole milk
  12. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  13. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  14. 150 grams thinly sliced ham, chopped
  15. 500 gram pack shortcrust pastry
  16. 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Chop your carrot, potatoes, celery, and chicken and add it to a large pot. Add half your fresh thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken stock and place your pot over high heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Place a colander over a large bowl, and drain your chicken and veg mixture, reserving the stock. Set the chicken and veg aside, and strain the stock into a large measuring cup. You'll need 600 ml, so either top up with water, or discard any excess.
  3. To the pot you were just cooking in, melt your butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and cook for a few minutes until tender.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and onions, and stir to combine. Cook for a minute or so until it starts to smell nutty.
  5. Slowly whisk your reserved chicken stock into your flour mixture a little at a time, making sure the mixture is lump-free before adding more. Add your milk, bring the mixture up to a simmer, and cook for two minutes.
  6. Remove the sauce from the heat, and stir in the lemon juice, remaining thyme, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add your chopped ham, and your reserved chicken and veg to a pie plate or casserole and give it a little toss to mix it together. Pour your sauce over this. Mine went right up to the top of the pie pan.
  8. Allow this mixture to cool ever so slightly while you preheat your oven to 200C or 400F.
  9. When your oven is hot, unroll your pastry, and give it a light roll to make sure it will cover your pie pan. Cut a few thin strips off the end your your pastry, and press them around the edge of your pie pan. Use a pastry brush to brush a layer of your beaten egg onto the strips of pastry, then lay the rest of your pastry over your pie. Trim the edges, and press them into the rim of your pie plate to seal. Brush the top of the pastry with the beaten egg, and cut a few slits into the pastry to vent steam.
  10. Bake your pie for 25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.
  11. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from BBC Good Food
Adapted from BBC Good Food
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/



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