scalloped potatoes3

Scalloped Potatoes, like the ones your Grandma made! . $2.21

Scalloped Potatoes – for so many, the ultimate comfort food. Truly a classic as is (pulled from the oven, beautifully browned on the top, the creamy sauce bubbling – please ignore my bad photos!) the addition of a little ham and/or cheese (optional, of course) makes this a hearty meal. Scalloped potatoes are more than a meal at our house, they’re a tradition, and this recipe was originally in a 1950’s edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham & Cheese in the layers
Scalloped Potatoes with Ham & Cheese in the layers

This is how my Grandmother made scalloped potatoes, and my Mother, as well, and since I’m a Grandmother, too, this recipe has served out family well. (Someday I’ll get a better photo!) These are the same potatoes I had growing up, served at many, many functions from family get togethers to church dinners to funeral luncheons.

We make them every year with a bit of our left over Ham from any Holiday we’ve baked one. See my “Twelve Days of Ham” for some other Ham left over ideas. My kids like this with ham and cheese, an innovation that probably would have shocked my Grandmother, but is truly delicious and comforting.

Always an inexpensive dish, I recently put Scalloped Potatoes with the Ham & Cheese on the table for about $2.25 with some gorgeous fresh broccoli (on sale, of course) for another 75 cents. A beautiful meal for about three bucks…hard to beat.

When I first priced this dish in 2010, it was about $1.62 and I last priced it at $2.21. The difference was the rise in the dairy. Just for fun (oh, do I need a life!) I priced it out without any coupons or sales and the dish came in closer to $5.00. This holds true for most food – shopping carefully generally cuts the cost in half.

Scalloped potatoes come together quickly, especially if you make the sauce as you cut and peel the potatoes and onions (a food processor is great for that) but needs to bake for a good hour to an hour and 20 minutes. I often cook it on days when I’m around the house although you can certainly bake it the day before and reheat. It won’t be as “pretty” as when it first comes out of the oven.

Scalloped Potatoes - these with plain sauce but a little ham & cheese in the layers
Scalloped Potatoes – these with plain sauce but a little ham & cheese in the layers
Scalloped Potatoes  {Print}

six 1 cup servings

  • 2 lb of potatoes, peeled and sliced (6 medium)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% low-fat milk (a higher fat milk may be used)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • If desired, add a cup or so of chopped ham and/or cheese between the layers and/or a cup of shredded cheese to the sauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make the white sauce, first, so it’s ready when the potatoes are cut. The potatoes will oxidize and the dish can be too watery if they’re soaked in water.

White Sauce:

For the sauce: In medium saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in flour and cook one to two minutes. Pour in milk, whisking nearly constantly until thickened. Use the spoon test: when a spoon is dipped in the sauce, turn it over, rounded side up. Run a finger from the handle to the edge of the spoon. If it leaves a track that doesn’t fill in, the sauce has thickened properly and needs to be cooked a little longer. Turn off heat and add salt and pepper, and cheese if using.

Potatoes and Assembly:

Pare potatoes and slice thinly. Butter a 2 qt casserole dish. Layer potatoes in casserole with onion, and salt and pepper; add another layer of potatoes, sprinkle on the onion, salt and pepper, then top with a layer of potatoes. It’s nice to save enough nicely cut potatoes for the top layer, using the odder cuts in the bottoms layers where they won’t show.

When you get to the top layer, arrange the potatoes neatly, starting around the edge of the dish and slightly over lapping, ending up in the center for a gorgeous presentation.

Pour sauce slowly over potatoes – take a knife and nudge the layers a bit, so the sauce seeps down throughout. Bake, uncovered for one hour to one hour and 20 minutes, until soft and tender all the way through when tested with a knife and lightly browned on top. Let stand several minutes before serving.

Makes 6 one cup servings, or 12 smaller 1/2 cup servings.

Notes:

  • If adding ham or cheese, sprinkle between the layers at the same time as the onion. Don’t add ham or cheese to the top layer, unless you wish to add a little cheese in the last five minutes or so of baking.
  • If using cheese, add to the sauce when the sauce is finished, off heat, and stir in.
  • The recipe can be halved if you’re looking for something more comparable to the size of a box of scalloped potatoes, just bake for about 30 – 40 minutes.

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Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Nutritional Analysis:

Cal:  240; % of Cal fr 29.1,  Tot Fat 8g, Sat fat: 5g, Chol: 23gmg, Fiber 3g, Prot: 7g, Sodium 474mg

Not much better than the Betty Boxed Version at first glance, but this includes the butter and milk, and has more fiber, less salt and certainly not the additives!

Betty Crocker Scalloped Potatoes - these were extra cheesy
Betty Crocker Scalloped Potatoes – these were extra cheesy

{Heritage Recipes}

Put Your Own Spin on It:

  • A pinch of nutmeg in the sauce gives this “a what is that?” flavor that’s wonderful.  White pepper is always a good substitution for black in bechamel sauces.
  • Sometimes I add two cups of ham, sliced or shredded and serve as a main dish.
  • A sprinkle of chives or finely sliced green onion between the layers gives a bit of freshness.
  • Add 4 ounces of grated cheese (about 1 cup) to the bechamel for a cheesy casserole, either to the plain version or the ham version.
  • Try skim milk for lower fat and calories.

My Payoff:

I have a very inexpensive main dish or side dish that has a big comfort factor.  And I know I’m serving a filling, nutritious food with no additives.

Scalloped Potatoes made in March of 2010 was priced at $1.62. Prices have risen a bit since then, mostly the dairy, and was repriced in February 2014 at $2.21.

5 thoughts on “Scalloped Potatoes, like the ones your Grandma made! . $2.21”

  1. Hi Frugal. Love the way you conserve. I still have sliced ham (fr. the holidays in the freezer). I’ll certainly try this dish in the near future. Talking about freezer, I just used up some cooked Irish potatoes to thicken a chicken soup. I have never stored onions that way…..nice to know.

    Thanks for the tip bits.
    Cheers!

  2. It hurts me to think as a child I ate some form of scalloped potatoes and baked beans at some form of social gathering almost monthly, and then some at home too. This is where we are going, budgets blown on ridiculous items (Premade pancake batter) and nothing tastes good. (I’d kill for some sausage with sage and pepper) thank you for this recipe. I am a Sunday cooking father, (My wife is a wonderful cook) This one my children and I made. It already smells good, and hasn’t even cooked yet. With ham and added some cheese to the sauce. All from kitchen staples and left overs too.

    1. Hi Clifton, thanks for commenting! It sounds like your a cook after my own heart – and I hope you & the kids enjoy the scalloped potatoes. My kids always liked this much better with the cheese, although my Grandma would never have thought to put it in! :)

      I absolutely agree – people buy stupid stuff & think it’s the only way or the cheapest way! Pancakes are a perfect example – pay more for a box of crap full of additives than you would if you mix together baking powder, flour & salt! Well, I just got on my my horse, didn’t I! :)

      I hope you’ll keep reading and commenting & I’m always looking for great ideas for frugal meals!

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