Potato Patch Casserole

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Been trying to get your beloved husband to agree to buying a new couch for the living room, for months, to no avail?  Serve him a heaping plate full of Potato Patch Casserole and he will be saying yes to that and so much more!

This dish is superb.  It is what I like to call a “throwback meal”.  One of those classics from when you were growing up or when your parents were growing up, that holds up to the test of time.

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We’re making meatballs!  What meal with meatballs in it, that you know of, doesn’t taste great?  Am I right?  It’s just always such a crowd-pleaser…

Alright, you’ll need 1 pound of ground beef in a large bowl,

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add 1/2 cup of chopped yellow onion,

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1 large egg,

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1/4 cup of whole milk,

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1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs,

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1 teaspoon salt,

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1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,

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and a heaping 1/4 teaspoon celery salt.

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Roll up those sleeves, get your hands in there and start mixin’!

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Not too, too much, though.  What you don’t want to do is overwork the meat. You basically want to “rake” your fingers through the meat mixture and then “aerate” it with your fingers, by punching holes in it after you rake it.

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Next, scoop out the meat with an ice cream/cookie scoop  and roll to form meatballs.  Stick in the freezer for 15 minutes, just to set up.

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Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil to the bottom of a pot, on a burner over medium-high heat.

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Add meatballs.  Only about 8 at a time.  You don’t want to overcrowd the pot and end up with boiled meat…no, no, no!

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Ummmm!  These are looking just perfect!  The objective here is only to brown them on all sides.  Don’t worry about trying to cook them through.  This will be taken care of in the oven, later!

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Once you’re done browning those meatballs, you’ll be left with all the yummy browned bits stuck to the bottom of your pot.  Oooo, the flavor in there!  Ok, add 2 tablespoons butter to this,

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2 tablespoons flour,

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stir till combined,

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add 1 cup whole milk, slowly, stirring as you add,

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add 1 1/4 teaspoons salt,

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and a pinch of finely ground black pepper.

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Shred 8 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese…

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Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese until  melted.

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Take about 3 medium-sized white potatoes, peel them, and

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slice them thinly with a knife or using a mandolin (so awesome!  Such a timesaver and only $20!)…you should have about 4 cups of potato slices.

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You’ll also need to thaw out a 10 ounce bag of frozen peas and carrots (although, I’ll tell you, I’ve made this dish and forgotten to thaw out the veggies and it still came out great!).

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Combine potatoes, peas and carrots in a large oval baking dish or a 9 x 13″ pan.  Salt and pepper, generously.

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Arrange meatballs around the edge of the dish and cover the whole dish with the delicious cheesy sauce.  Oh my goodness, doesn’t that look so amazing?  And it’s not even done!

Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.

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So, so, so goooooood!

Bon Appétit, Ma Chérie!

 

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