Just when you think you know Potatoes

Posted: August 30, 2009 in Uncategorized

…this recipe comes along and changes your whole life.  Your whole world.  Your future hopes and dreams.

It’s really, really good.

I was a thrilled mom to have Tori home from college for the weekend and all my family under one roof for dinner.  I would be embarrassed to tell you how much time I spent thinking about what to make for this auspicious occasion.  I even enlisted the help of my facebook community in an effort to create a dinner worthy of my amazing offspring.  In the end, it was Tori who helped me figure it out by reminding me that she eats every meal in a college cafeteria as she tearfully implored, “Please, just no chicken or rice.  Couldn’t we just have a good burger?”  While burgers are certainly not what I would have chosen for an epic culinary experience, my mom-heart was moved by her plea.  So, we had burgers and mushrooms cooked in Marsala (Marsala is a sweet wine that adds such wonderful flavor to mushrooms and…well, lots of things), caramelized onions and provolone cheese.  Yum.

Now, awhile back, for Tori’s graduation party, I had purchased about 50 red burger baskets (like the ones your burger comes in at Red Robin) and I really wanted to use them.  They’re awesome to pile stuff in and they look fun & festive and – best of all – if you line them with a square of foil and a cutie napkin, they don’t even have to be washed after the party is over.  The only downside is, you have to serve stuff that is self-contained.  I had planned on doing some sort of scalloped potato dish with the burgers, but  I knew it would be impossible to eat it from a burger basket.  That’s when I remembered a recipe I had seen on Next Food Network Star a few weeks ago for potato gratin (layered potatoes and cheese) cooked in muffin tins and served in individual portions.  I looked up the recipe and made it – with just a couple of adjustments – in foil baking cups (available in the baking section).

Long story short: they were brilliant.  A masterpiece of potatoes and cream and cheese and onion and bacon and just so delicious that my girls and I were licking the muffin cups we baked them in when we were done.  Here’s the recipe and there’s lots of room here for creativity and personal preferences.  See?  Watching TV really does pay!

5 -Minute Individual Potato Gratins


  • Vegetable spray
  • 2 large russet potatoes, roughly peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Spray 8 muffin tins with vegetable spray. Layer potato slices, cheese, and onions into each muffin cup. Season with salt and pepper and top each gratin with 1 or 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Cover with foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking time. Invert gratins onto plate and serve.

I added crumbled bacon to one layer of mine and bread crumbs and a small pat of butter to the top.  I also – based on reviews I read – seasoned ALL the potatoes with salt & pepper before layering rather than just putting salt and pepper on the top and I was very happy with that suggestion.

One note:  the potatoes definitely shrink down into the muffin cups while baking, so be sure to fill them WAY up to the top.  I just finished the last two that were hiding in my fridge from the party and I’m happy all over again.  Such a wonderful, Autumnal, cheap side dish for just about any meal.

Bon Appetit,


  1. tstern says:

    So, two things:
    1: They were delicious! So yummy and Autumny and great.:) They were however a wee bit difficult to get out of the cup. Now, being the epitome of “disaster in the kitchen,” I could be totally wrong, but wouldn’t a little Pam pay off in the whole potato cupcake scheme of things?

    2: Tears? Really? I may be blocking the sheer pain from my fragile heart and thus do not remember, but I’m not quite sure I cried. Though I am glad I moved your mom-heart…as opposed to the other one which is cold and distant.;)

    Just getting over this mountain,
    Emotionally distraught College Daughter.

  2. bolovesjoe says:

    Oh Tori, I’m seriously laughing every single time I read your comment, which – so far – is a lot of times!

    Okay, so Two Things:

    1) No. Pam wouldn’t help much on the paper. I would take time to explain why but it’s really not going to matter to you for about a decade and then you’ll forget what I said anyway, so: No. It wouldn’t really help, but it’s a great idea.

    2) I could see the tears in your heart. That’s what mom’s do…they see tears in places where there are none and then they make a big deal out of it. Like when you call me and say your day was “fine” and I tell Dad, “Tori had a heartbreaking day.” It’s exactly like that.

    3) My mom-heart loves you dearly. My other one is mostly just amused by your way with words. 🙂


  3. Emotionally distraught College Daughter says:

    Haha, I would totally remember the process of why it would not work–and then, being walking kitchen disaster, would find some other way to ruin them. (Also, I’m believing I’ll care before I’m 29.) And usually when I say it was fine, I mean “It could have been a lot better but you don’t need to worry because in a week or so I’ll call you while I’m driving somewhere and go into a screaming lunatic rage over the whole situation.” You’re mom heart just anticipates needs.:)

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