First of all, I have to say that I LOVE cheesy funeral potatoes and have since I was a small child. They are called “funeral” potatoes because they are a traditional side dish with ham and green beans at many of the funerals I have attended. This recipe is an adaptation based upon what I had at home. It has no Cream of Chicken soup in it, but I was able to make my own faux sauce instead (a great base for cheesy broccoli). Traditionally this is topped with toasted cornflakes rolled in melted butter (yum), but again, we are using what we had on hand and I must say the taste is DIVINE. We never made them at home for most of my married life because my oldest son had a life threatening milk allergy all growing up, and so all things cheesy went on the side burner. While having a family food allergy was hard, we learned a lot and our health benefited greatly from it. Now that he is grown, and can tolerate some baked milk, I felt like I could make this seasonal dish to bring to a pot luck Christmas dinner tonight, though he will probably only taste a spoonful.
This recipe uses food storage Freeze Dried Potatoes. It is nice to know that I can make tasty food, using what I have, while rotating my food storage supplies at the same time so that I can always keep them as fresh as possible without any spoilage. You can also use thawed shredded potato hash browns and they work wonderfully. I soaked the potato dices for several hours (not sure if it is necessary, but I was multi-tasking today). I then brought them to a boil and cooked them for 1 minute. I also added a little bit of salt to the water. You can use them in place of regular potatoes for soup recipes, mashed potatoes, with eggs, and of course, Cheesy “Funeral” Potatoes!
Another ingredient I used was actually an accident. I attempted to make homemade sour cream using a starter from the New England Cheesemaking Company. My mom is really big into making her own cheeses (and is quite good at it) and gave me a sour cream starter that I was dying to try. Anyway, I heated the milk to the wrong temperature (185 F instead of 85 F). It killed the bacteria and while the milk turned slightly sour, it never set up. I was going to throw it away, but hated to waste 4 cups of milk. I have a dear crafty friend who always used to say, “There are no mistakes. Just opportunities for creativity.” I have never forgotten that phrase. Well, this “mistake” turned into an amazing dish with a really wonderful flavor. So, here is my one of a kind food storage based Cheesy “Funeral” Potato recipe. Oh so good!!!!
Here it is! The recipe for the Cheesy Baked Food Storage Funeral Potatoes:
- 2 T butter
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- ½ tsp. vegetable bouillon (can use chicken; this is what I had on hand)
- ¼ c flour
- 3-4 c sour milk (What is sour milk? See description for more details of this experiment gone bad made awesome! You can also use regular milk and chicken broth. I used 4 c because it is what I had on hand and wanted to use up. If you like the potatoes less saucy, decrease the liquid amount.)
- 2 c sharp cheddar cheese
- ¼ sour cream
- 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- 4-6 c freeze dried potato dices (dry), soaked in warm water for a few hours and then brought to a boil for 1 min. (Honestly, I poured what was left in my can into the water, so the amount is my best guesstimate.)
- Pre-heat the oven to 325 F.
- Bring your soaked potatoes to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
- Drain and pour slightly cooked potatoes into a 9x13 baking dish. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the chopped onion and vegetable bouillon and cook until onion is slightly clear in color.
- Add flour and quickly stir it into the onion and butter mixture.
- Pour milk or liquid in slow and steady to prevent clumps.
- Cook on low, constantly stirring, until you have a nice, slightly thickened sauce.
- Add the cheese and stir until it is melted.
- Add the sour cream to the cheese mixture as well as the salt and pepper. (Feel free to taste it to make sure you are happy with the flavor. Adjust seasonings as needed.)
- Pour cheese sauce mixture over the potatoes in the 9x13 pan and carefully stir until mixed well.
- Place the 9x13 casserole into the oven and bake at 325 F for 45 minutes.
- Cool slightly and serve!