Light and Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

This recipe is every bit as good as its high-calorie and high-fat counterpart. Your family will never guess you used reduced-fat cheese and fat-free half-and-half to make this dish.

 Cheesy Potatoes Au Gratin

In this recipe, the baking temperature and times are reduced to keep the cheese sauce from separating and the cheese topping is added at the end of baking time to keep it from drying out. The results are cheesy, rich, and creamy au gratin potatoes with only 4g total fat and 170 calories per ½ cup serving.

Yield: 16 ½ cup servings

2.5 lbs. russet potatoes (about 5 medium)  
1 ½ cups fat-free half-and-half  
3 tbsp. unbleached flour
1 tsp. salt, divided into ½ tsp.
½ tsp. granulated garlic 
½ tsp. ground mustard 
¼ tsp. fresh ground black or white pepper
1 cup onion, chopped
2 ½ cups (10 oz.) divided into 2 cups and ½ cup, grated reduced-fat white or yellow cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (4g fat per 1 oz.)

1. Peel and cut potatoes in quarters. Place in a pot large enough that potatoes can be covered in 2 or more inches of water. Add water and ½ tsp. salt. Bring potatoes to boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook until al dente, about 15 minutes. Do not overcook or potatoes will be difficult to slice. Remove potatoes from heat, rinse in cold water, drain, and cool completely. Cut potatoes into 1/8-inch slices using a food processor with slicer blade, a V-slicer, or mandolin and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour 1 cup half-and-half into a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or stove-to-oven casserole. Whisk flour into half-and-half one tablespoon at time, until blended. (A mixture of flour and liquid used to thicken sauces, gravies and soups, etc. is called a slurry.) Whisk remaining cup of half-and-half into slurry with salt, garlic, mustard, and pepper. 

3. Bring mixture to high simmer over medium heat. Whisking constantly, continue to cook 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Reduce heat to low and whisk onion and cheese into slurry. Stirring constantly, continue to cook until cheese has completely melted into sauce, 3 to 5 minutes. If sauce seems too thick, whisk in a little skim milk.

4. Gently combine potatoes with sauce and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Remove from oven, adjust seasonings if necessary, and top with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake another 2 to 3 minutes until cheese has melted. Remove from oven and serve.

Nutritional Information: ½ cup 170 Calories; 4g Total Fat; 26g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 9g Protein; 14mg Cholesterol; 207mg Sodium

High-Calorie Version: ½ cup 290 Calories; 18g Total Fat; 24g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 11g Protein; 51mg Cholesterol; 398mg Sodium


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