Warning: This is not a "healthy" recipe, and I am a fat chick. If you think that you might feel compelled to judge or wish potentially devastating illness upon me, please read no further.
Did I tell y'all about the best scalloped (maybe au gratin) potatoes ever that I just made?
Let me rectify that.
So, I needed a side dish and was totally unmotivated to go to the store. I took stock of what was here. Potatoes, half and half, packaged shredded cheese, onions, bell peppers, garlic and some other staple-y stuff.
I know! I'll make scalloped potatoes!
So I did. It was a day that I didn't have to go on campus, but I still had errands to run. I grabbed 5 or 6 or so Idaho potatoes( which I typically hate because they are so dirty, but they are the least expensive and I have 3 boys to feed), scrubbed them, and sliced them on the mandolin. I put them in a bowl with water, a little salt, and a little white vinegar and put them in the fridge. I also diced maybe a quarter of a yellow onion (or a half, I love onion) half of a particularly small bell pepper and two cloves of garlic. Put them in bowls with tops and refrigerated.
Errands, errands, errands.
I returned a few hours later. Began with my cheese sauce--heated 3 tablespoons of butter (not margarine!), added 2.5 tablespoons of flour (no I don't do exactly equal because I am scared of being overpowered by flour). Whisk, whisk, whisk on a low to medium low heat. Keep it moving and keep it blonde. You do NOT want a burned roux. Just... yuck, trust me. In the meantime, I heated 2 cups of half and half with 1.5 cups of 1% milk (no particular reason for this mixture, that's what I had here) and turned my oven to 375 degrees. After about five minutes, I added my warmed dairy products to my roux. You can turn up the temp a little. Stir, let it thicken, stir, etc. When it is just about right (after several minutes is all I can say) add two cups of shredded cheese (cheddar blends work here--I had one called a cheddar melt. I also like the American and cheddar blend. Had it been for a holiday, I would've done one cup of cheddar melt OR American/cheddar blend plus one cup of gruyere), and a dash, I mean a dash--no more than two, of nutmeg. I can't stand for nutmeg to be too strong in cheese sauces. Now taste for salt. Do this after you add the cheese because cheese is salty.
While your sauce was thickening, you know what your lazy self should've been doing? Arranging your potatoes in a greased baking dish then tossing them with your onion and bell pepper and garlic and maybe a a half teaspoon to a teaspoon of seasoned salt. At this point, you can pour the cheese sauce all over them and mix all well. Cover with foil. Put in your preheated oven for 50 or 60 minutes. Remove the foil and, just for the hell of it, sprinkle some of the mozzarella you had left from pizza day on top. Bake a few minutes more. Then let that mozzarella bubble and do amazing, delicious things under the broiler.
Be prepared for your children and/or other loved ones to weep upon your feet.