Winter (and Microwave Scalloped Potatoes)

It’s still winter.  I don’t care that it reached 70 degrees outside today; in 3 months it will be 30 degrees warmer, a month later it will be 40 degrees warmer every day. Please don’t take winter away from me, not yet, not while I’m still craving hearty soups, stews, and casseroles.  I know 70 probably sounds pretty nice to those of you that still look outside and see snow, and you won’t be very sympathetic when I tell you that at night it gets down into the low 40’s.  That’s cold to us, we’re still sleeping under down comforters and craving a hot cup of tea before bed.  The calendar says we still have eleven days of winter – I’m going to take advantage.

Microwave Scalloped Potatoes

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1 tablespoon chopped chives

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

dash cayenne pepper or small splash hot sauce

1 3/4 cup milk

1/2 pound ham, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

2 cups grated cheese

1/8 teaspoon dried dill (optional)

In microwave safe bowl melt butter.  Whisk in flour, mustard, chives, salt, pepper, and cayenne or hot sauce, and milk.  Microwave high 2 minutes.  Whisk again then microwave 2 more minutes or until a thick white sauce has been achieved.  Stir in ham and onion.

In large microwaveable casserole spread 1/4 cup white sauce.  Layer half potatoes evenly in bottom.  Spread 1/3 of white sauce over the top and sprinkle half of the cheese.  Layer the rest of the potatoes, spread on the rest of the white sauce.  Cover and microwave on full power 20 minutes.  Check for doneness with a knife.  If needed, continue to cook at full power in 5 minute increments until knife inserted in several places meets no resistance.  Sprinkle the rest of the cheese and dill over the top and cover, cook full power 30 seconds.  Makes 6-8 servings.

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