Life on the farm. (Scalloped Potatoes)

So for better or worse, I’m back home, trying to pack on the pounds and save up on sleep before third year starts. Walking barefoot through the wet, cherry-blossom-petal-covered grass, with rolled jeans, an oversized  sweatshirt and pony-tailed hair to chase my runaway horse is just part of a regular day. (Chasing said horse was funny the first, second and third time, annoying the fourth, fifth and six, and terrifying the seventh, when I came out, and found our alpaca stud in with some of the other boys whom he had bloodied something awful. How alpacas, which do not have top teeth and are protected by eight inches of fluff on both sides, can bloody  each other is beyond me. Vampire alpaca. Demon alpaca. Gross.)

Demon Alpaca and Houdini the Horse

Baking in a tiny New York oven, trying to make Easter Dinner for eight, is as far away as the six line and its incredible ability to be crowded at ANY time of day, on ANY day. Here, the kitchen is as large as my entire communal living space in New York. The air conditioning works and the oven will hold two full sized cookie sheets.

TWO.

FULL SIZED. 

I’m pretty sure that’s all I need to say.

Notes: I made these potatoes for Easter, and, per my twinkie-eating brother’s request, used the recipe my mom refined. I did not try to fancy it up at all – he wouldn’t even let me make the soup from scratch. But you know what? The only person at the table who knew they were made with canned soup was me (and Brother) and no one seemed to care.
And oh, yeah, this is how I actually cook, because I don’t always have time to make soup from scratch when I’m trying to get five other dishes on the table at the same time. 
Scalloped Potatoes
My mother made this one up, too. 
 Makes enough for 12 as a side dish. Allow at least 55 minutes.
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 baking potatoes, sliced
1 can condensed mushroom soup
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 teaspoons garlic, minced

1) Sauté the diced onions in the olive oil over medium to medium high heat until soft.*
2) While the onions are sautéing, line a 13″x9″ pan with foil and preheat oven to 400.
3) When onions are soft, combine the onions, 1 1/2 cups of the cheese, the soup and the garlic in a large mixing bowl** and stir till combined. Add the potato slices and toss to coat.
4) Spread everything in the 13″x9″ pan and sprinkle the reserved 1/2 cup of cheese on top.
5) Bake for 40 minutes (or an hour) until potatoes are soft when poked with a fork. If the cheese on top browns too quickly, put foil over the casserole once it’s melted to your desired consistency.

*For this, it doesn’t matter is some of the onions crisp up a bit or turn a little brown – they’ll have plenty of time to soften in the baking period.
** If you, like me, are tempted to try to mix everything in the 13″x9″pan to save on dishes, don’t. It’ll just cause a huge mess and put holes in your foil and generally not be worth the time you save. 

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