Aunt Barbara’s Cheese Potatoes…doesn’t the title tell you everything? It tells you that the recipe was handed down from someone special to someone special, that there is a fair amount of cheese in the recipe and the main ingredient is potatoes!
Here’s what it doesn’t tell you: this recipe, shared by my sister-in-law, Missy, was handed down to her from her beloved Aunt Barbara. Aunt Barbara, great-aunt to my New York nieces and nephew, passed away suddenly several years ago. So, this family recipe, already a family favorite, now brings Aunt Barbara to the table every time they make it.
Isn’t that what family recipes do? Evoke cherished memories of a loved one or a special time together or both?
If you look closely at the photo above of Aunt Barbara’s Cheese Potatoes, you will note that it appears to have been made in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. But you’ll notice that the baking dish is in the top left corner of the photo with only a small portion of the pan showing AND only a smidgen of Aunt Barbara’s Cheese Potatoes left!
Yes, it’s true. I did not take this photo right after making this delicious, cheesy, satisfyingly comforting dish! When I made it, it was night (after dark) and I don’t normally do food photo shoots at night for this blog (haven’t yet mastered indoor lighting for photography!).
So, Charlie and I had some for dinner and I was going to photograph it the next day – in daylight.
Then, life interfered.
My mother, in an assisted living facility for the last 3 years, suddenly required a higher level of care then her current facility could provide. I called in the troops (sisters, nieces and nephew-in-law) and over a very long 3-day weekend, we made the impossible happen – we moved my mom and her belongings to another facility licensed to manage her escalating health needs.
One sister, Dawn, who lives in Yuma, spent the weekend at our house and we had this casserole for breakfast every morning with ham and eggs! YUM! We knew we would not make it home those nights for dinner and I didn’t want it languishing in the refrigerator for a week before Charlie and I could get back to finishing it!
The good news: it gets even better every day!
I know this recipe is really intended to be a side dish to a main dish – like for Thanksgiving, Christmas or even Easter. But, it works for breakfast, too! If you make Aunt Barbara’s Cheese Potatoes for a large family gathering, there won’t be any leftovers.
If you make it for 2 to 6 people, cut the recipe in half. If you make half a recipe for 2 of you (like me and Charlie), leave the cornflakes off and sprinkle them, instead, on each individual serving. That’s because if you have leftovers (and that’s a big IF because this casserole is creamy and delicious), the cornflakes will get soggy. But, I encourage you not to leave them off in their entirety because they add the most satisfying “crunch factor” and balance out the cheesy, creamy goodness.
Now when I make Aunt Barbara’s Cheese Potatoes I’ll think of Missy’s Aunt Barbara, too. I had the great good fortune of meeting her many times over the last 20 years whenever I visited my New York family. A lovely and loving woman, she left us all too soon.
But, her memory endures…
Here’s the recipe:
- 2 - 28 ounce bags of frozen O'Brien potatoes
- 16 ounces sour cream
- 2 - 10¾ ounce cans of cream of chicken soup
- 1 - 15 ounce jar of Cheez Whiz
- 1½ cups crushed corn flakes
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Carefully melt Cheez Whiz, per package instructions, in microwave.
- Mix potatoes, sour cream and soup in a large mixing bowl, by hand.
- Pour potato mixture into a 9" x 13" greased baking dish.
- Pour Cheez Whiz over top of casserole, spreading with spatula.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven, remove aluminum foil, return casserole to oven and bake 15 to 30 minutes more until lightly brown and bubbly and casserole is heated through.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with crushed corn flakes.
(other posts about New York)
- New York State of Mind
- Missy’s Two Tomato Pasta Salad
- Chautauqua Institution: Embracing Heritage, Culture and History
- Erin’s Iced Sugar Cookie Cutouts
- The Virtuoso
- Bizzy’s Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Erin’s Mocha Toffee Frosting
- Genesee Country Village: Where the Past Comes Alive
- Missy’s Fresh Spinach and Tortellini Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Wings Dip
- Canalside: the Renaissance of Buffalo’s Historic Waterfront