Monday, January 6, 2014

Put It On A Potato

Taco and Cheese Baked Potato
Wow!  It is bitter cold here in our little corner of Michigan today.  As I write this it is -3F with a windchill of -22F.  I was just out checking on goats and chickens.  Even with heavy wool socks, my toes are cold.  I'll be happy to stay inside as much as possible the next couple of days.  Of course if a goat decides to have babies, I'll be out there freezing my hiney off like a good little goaty midwife.   

Last night we had tacos.  Today there is plenty of leftover meat, but not many tortillas.  So I sit here pondering what to make.  Then it comes to me.  Baked potatoes.  We will top them with the leftover taco meat and I will make a smoked cheddar cheese sauce to go over top. 

Speaking of cheese sauce, my best friend has been bugging me for years to give her the recipe for my cheese sauce.  There's no real reason I haven't, except I never take the time to write it down.  It's a really simple sauce to make and it is so much cheaper and fresher than anything you can buy from a jar.

So first I will give you my recipe for a basic white sauce.  Following the recipe will be some variations, including the cheese sauce.

Basic White Sauce

2 TBS Butter
2 TBS Flour, seasoned (salt and pepper to taste)
2 Cups cold Milk

1) Melt butter in a sauce pan.  Add seasoned flour.  Stir with a whisk until bubbly.  The consistency should be that of a loose paste.  If it seems too thick, add in just a little more butter.

2) Whisk in the milk.  Keep whisking!  If you stop whisking for any reason, you will have lumps.  It may take a while, but your sauce will begin to thicken as the milk heats.  When it is a little thicker than heavy cream, it is ready.

Now if you just want a nice white sauce to put over fish or veggies you could stop here.  Taste it and add a little more salt and pepper if you feel it needs it.  But why would you want to end there?  There are so many possibilities.

For Cheese Sauce, season the flour with salt, pepper and cayenne (just a pinch).  When the sauce is thickened, remove from heat and stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese.  We like Cheddar, Colby or Jack cheeses, or any combination of them.  Swiss is nice too.

For a nice Alfredo type sauce, slightly saute some finely chopped garlic in the melted butter.  I also like to use about 1/2 TBS of olive oil with the butter when doing this sauce.  When the garlic is softened, add the seasoned flour (I usually just season it with salt for this sauce).  Continue to make the sauce like you would for a basic white sauce.  If you would like a richer sauce, use cream instead of milk.  When the sauce is done, stir in about 1 cup of shredded Parmesan Cheese, real cheese for this one...NOT the stuff in the plastic can with the green top.  (You know what I'm talking about.)

You can also make a thinner sauce by using a little less flour or a little more milk.  Play with it and see what you like. 

I use it over veggies, meat, biscuits, potatoes and pasta.  And on a cold day, a hot and hearty sauce makes me feel all warm inside.


  1. Love it Heidi! I might makes those potatoes one night. They look good. Did you serve them alone or as a side?

    1. I served them alone. We love leftovers on top of baked potatoes for dinner. I always say if I can wrap it in a tortilla or put it on a potato my kids will eat it.

  2. Heidi, scrounging the cupboards trying to come up with a meal that was going to feed the whole family was how I came up with Leslie's cornbread surprise. I didn't have much else in the house. Great blog!

    1. I hope you won't mind if I share that recipe at some point, Momma. It's one of my favorites.