My favorite type of reviews are when I get to review products that I already use and like. Sure, it's fun discovering new products but it even better reviewing and letting others know about products that I already use and stand by.
When I received the opportunity to Simply Potatoes, I jumped on it because this is one of those products that I buy all the time and that I love. The simple reason is that these potatoes taste great and, better yet, they make my life so much easier.
Sure, I could peel, cut and grate my own potatoes but why? I sometimes opt for the convenience because I don't always have the time. If it makes my life easier, I am all over it. And Simply Potatoes makes my life easier.
Simply Potatoes come in several varieties: Shredded Hash Browns, Southwest Style Hash Browns, Diced Potatoes with Onion, Homestyle Slices, Red Potato Wedges and Rosemary & Garlic Potato Wedges.
Since I live in the boonies, I have only found the Shredded Hash Browns, the Southwest Style Hash Browns and Diced Potatoes with Onion. I have tried them all and love them. My favorite Simply Potatoes product is the Shredded Hash Browns.
I use them at least 3 times a month and not only for breakfast. My favorite recipe ever is my version of Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole. I love that stuff and one day while searching in my fridge one day for a side dish, I found the Simply Potatoes Hash Browns and decided to see if I could recreate the recipe.
I wasn't sure if I could make it work but a few years ago I learned a simple trick to making scalloped potatoes and macaroni and cheese. The key is to make a delicious cheese sauce first then go from there. If you get the cheese sauce right, it would make the dish.
I learned to make the cheese sauce watching Rachel Ray and then I made it my own by "borrowing" a few tricks from The Melting Pot. I realized that Rachel's cheese sauce was like fondue. When I would watch the servers at The Melting Pot make the fondue, they often used beer, garlic and other spices and it was tasty. So I decided I would willy-nilly make my cheese sauce using some of those tricks.
To make my cheese sauce, I start with equal parts flour and butter to make a roux. Now I usually use 3 tablespoons each but you can use 2 or 4 or as many as you want as long as it is equal parts. You melt the butter, add the flour and cook it off so it loses the floury taste. Then I add some ground mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder and some onion powder. That is the basic recipe but I have also added fresh herbs like thyme or sage when I want a different taste. I have added paprika or green chile powder to shake it up. The beauty of this cheese sauce is that it can be changed up. This time I added some fresh thyme I had lying around. Yum!
Once the you have the roux, you add milk. Since I am all willy-nilly, I can't tell you how much because I eyeball it. But I would say start with a 1/4 cup of milk and then a 1/4 cup of beer. You can use any beer but I have found that a darker hearty beer makes a richer cheese sauce. Then you just add a little more milk or beer as it thickens up. Since I am lazy, I buy already shredded cheese. I prefer a cheddar cheese when making the hashbrown casserole but you can change that up and use any type of cheese.
Once the mixture thickens a little take it off the heat and add the cheese. I usually use one pack of cheese. Mix the cheese in. Now if the sauce gets too thick start adding a tablespoon of milk or beer to loosen it up a little. Taste and spice it up more if needed and it is done.
Chop up an onion. Take some Pam and spray the backing dish. I like using a deep round baking dish for this recipe but you can use any you have. Open the Simply Potatoes and start layering the potatoes, onions and a little bit of cheese sauce. I like salting each layer just a little. Continue doing this until the ingredients are all in there. Add any remaining sauce on top. Now if you want a brown crusty top you can some shredded cheese on top.
Again, I can;t tell you how long I cook it for because I have never timed it but if I had to give an answer, I would say cook it at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. But I have left it in longer with no problems.
I have to tell that the first time I tried this recipe, I thought it was better than the Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole but that's just me. It is also a dish you can eat as a side dish or entree. You serve this with a salad and you have a veggie dinner in a jiffy! You can serve this with chicken, beef, pork and hubby loves the leftovers for breakfast with some eggs.
There you have it. Simply Potatoes are one of those products that I love and will continue buying. I give Simply Potatoes two thumbs up!
Also, become a member of the Simply Potatoes site and be entered to win free Simply Potatoes products for a whole year! OMG think of all the cool recipes you could make! WOO! And thanks to the peeps at Simply Potatoes, one lucky reader will win a Simply Potatoes coupon to make your own recipe. YAY!
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Disclosure: I received a sample product for review purposes. No other compensation was given and the opinions in this post are solely mine and are based on my experience with the product. Sponsors are responsible for shipping prizes unless otherwise stated. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery of any prizes.