Arlene’s Cheesy Potatoes (and a story about Tillamook)

First, Happy Easter!  He is Risen!  I hope this day finds you and yours well and ready for a fantastic day filled with family, friends and chocolate!

Second, if I remember to take a picture when the cooked version comes out of the oven I’ll update my cover picture.  If I forget…well, you get the general idea based upon the “raw” version.

This recipe came from my sister-in-law.  It’s been a part of the family for years now, as has she.  Which do I like best? Arlene…or her Cheesy Potatoes? That’s a question best not asked.

This recipe gave me a chance to try out my shiny new mandoline.  I am happy to report that all fingers remain intact!  I heeded the message:005And it lived up to its promise:

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My life is changed.

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I tend to make these potatoes in phases.  Friday night I peeled and partially cooked (boiled) the potatoes.  Yesterday I mandolined the potatoes and put the dish together.  Today they’ll go in the oven for a while to finish them off. Here’s what you need to know about this recipe:  it lends itself to expansion. I use the recipe below as a guide.  Add more potatoes, cheese, sour cream and you can make it as large as you want.

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Arlene’s Cheesy Potatoes

  • 6 medium potatoes, partially cooked (boiled)
  • 2 c shredded Tillamook medium cheddar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 c sour cream
  • 1/3 c chopped green onion (I tend to just use the green part)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Thinly slice the potatoes.  In a large pot (size will depend upon how many potatoes you’ve cooked), over low heat, melt cheese and butter.  Once melted stir in sour cream, onion, salt and pepper.  Add the potatoes and stir gently. Turn into a buttered casserole dish (I usually use 9×13).  Bake 25 minutes (40 if made before and refrigerated), 350 degrees.

Now, let’s talk cheese.

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In the great state of Oregon we have this fantastic “little” cheese company called Tillamook.  I can say “we” because I am an Oregonian by birth, which allows me to claim Tillamook as my own.  I love cheese.  And Tillamook makes great cheese. From their curds to their Medium Cheddar to their Vintage Extra Sharp White Cheddar…you get the idea.  I will forever be loyal to Tillamook.  It’s just good cheese.

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Tillamook also brings with it memories.  Memories like the spring break that my parents, brother and I camped somewhere not too far from Tillamook.  It rained most of the trip, as was to be expected on the Oregon coast in the spring.  But, that’s not what I remember most. What I remember most is the fact that we went to the Tillamook cheese factory every single day (at least my memory tells me it was every day) for ice cream.  They make ice cream, too.  And it’s goooooood ice cream.

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A couple of years ago the husband and I decided to take the “long way” home from Dad & Mom’s and come up the coast through Tillamook.  He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been there.  Neither could I.  It was January or February, which is a great time to go to the cheese factory.  When I was a kid the Tillamook Cheese Factory was a small, unassuming place.  Now it’s huge.  With a huge parking lot that fills to the brim with trailers, campers and motor homes (and copious amounts of tourists) in the summer.  But, this was winter on the Oregon coast. There were very few people at the factory.  We did the self-guided tour, then reached the cheese sampling line.  You heard me:  cheese samples.  Cubes of deliciousness.  Cheddar, garlic, pepper jack, the list goes one.  Remember the part about it being empty?  There was no one in the cheese sample line.  And no cheese sample monitor.  Need I say more?

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After we sampled we headed to the cafe.  Yes, they have a cafe.  Guess what they specialize in?  Toasted cheese sandwiches!  And what goes with a toasted cheese sandwich?  Tomato soup!!  I was truly in heaven.  After lunch we rolled over to the ice cream counter for a cone.  Because you can’t go to the cheese factory without having ice cream.  In a homemade waffle cone.  Yes, really!  

Now that I’ve whipped myself into a cheesy frenzy…what was I talking about? Potatoes.  Yeah, that’s right.  Cheesy Easter Potatoes.  Have a great day!

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