I was looking through the recipes section of The Bachelor’s Kitchen Blog the other day and happened to notice there are not a lot of recipes in certain areas. Side dishes were one of those. That sent me on a search for some good side dishes that could be easy enough for a bachelor to make, but comforting enough to go with almost any entree.
Now, looking at this recipe and the modifications I made to it, this might seem like a lot of potatoes, but I like to make enough for leftovers. This makes a generous dish big enough to share but good enough to sustain you through several meals.
There are two key ingredients to prepare ahead of time. First, the original recipe called for seasoned salt. I do not have any around the house and don’t want to invest in any more salt. But you can make your own very easily, using just the spices and seasonings you like.
My simple recipe for a seasoned salt is:
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon each of oregano, basil, and cayenne pepper.
Combine in a small bowl and mix until well mixed.
That’s it. You can swap the ingredients and the amounts around any way you want to fit your tastes. If you already have a personal spice mix, you can use that, too, with a little additional salt and garlic powder. You can also use a ready-made spice mix like Mrs. Dash or Old Bay Seasoning. In total, you will need at least 4 teaspoons of spice mixture.
Another ingredient to address before we begin is the main ingredient: potatoes. My original recipe calls for baby potatoes sliced in half lengthwise. But you might not be able to find those in your local market, so you can use another type of potato, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks. This recipe calls for about three pounds of baby or bite-size potatoes. Russets will give you a fluffier texture while red potatoes will hold together better. Gold potatoes are soft and fluffy but they will work just well.
In addition to your seasoning mix and your potatoes, you will need to dice a medium onion. Cut two teaspoons of butter into small cubes. Cook and crumble about half a pound of bacon. You can use the whole pound if you really like bacon. For the cheese, a handy three-cheese blend from the store will work very well. If you want to get a little fancy, thinly slice some green onions to top this dish before serving.
The original recipe used half as many potatoes in an 8-x-8-inch pan, but I have modified it to make a larger 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Always spray your dish well with cooking spray.
Once you have gathered your ingredients, it’s time to combine this dish and bake. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large mixing bowl stir together the potatoes, seasoning mix, and diced onion. Mix until all the potatoes are coated with the seasoning mix.
Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and spread it evenly. Top the potatoes with the cubed butter. Bake it uncovered for about 30 minutes. The potatoes should be fork-tender at this point. If they are not, keep them in the oven for longer.
Remove the dish from the oven, then spread the top with the cheese and the crumbled bacon. Put the dish back into the oven for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and garnish, if you want, with the sliced green onion. This makes 8 to 12 servings depending on how big a portion you like.
These potatoes are great the next day warmed up in the microwave. It also makes a good potluck or buffet dish. The complete recipe in the usual form is here.