I’m thinking there is a guide to parenthood somewhere that I forgot to read.Â Before I had kids, I imagined parenting to be similar to, um, living — except with children.Â And I know that sounds simplistic and parenting is much harder than just living, but I guess I imagined that I would continue to do things that I enjoy, rather than things that I do not.Â This isn’t making much sense, is it?
You see, there is an entire underbelly to our culture that I truthfully had no idea existed until I had children.Â Festivals.Â Apparently, once you procreate, there is an unwritten rule that you must both enjoy and faithfully attend all festivals occurring within a 50 mile radius of your home.Â These can include, but are not limited to, Fun Fests, Fall Fests, Arts Fests, Music Fests, Octoberfests (those I enjoy more), Jazz Fests, Spring Fests, Renaissance Fests (sometimes called Fairs), Apple Fests, Maple Syrup Fests, Strawberry Fests, Ice Cream Fests, Chili Fests, Winter Fests, First Night Fests, and Random Nature Event Fests.Â Corollary events can include Carnivals, Public Easter Egg Hunts, Holiday Plays and Pageants, Santa Parades, and Bug Fairs.
And let me just make myself clear.Â I do not particularly like festivals.Â Maybe it’s the walking around aimlessly saying “Look kids, a donkey!”Â Or maybe it’s the whiny kids who are generally just looking for the funnel cake stand.Â And refuse to STFU until they get a funnel cake.Â Or maybe it’s the same old Lion’s Club food truck.Â Or maybe it’s for the simple reason that NONE OF THESE FESTIVALS SERVE BEER.
For example, this recipe for Smoky Scalloped Potatoes with Sausage could inspire an entire festival.Â There would be crafts for the kids that included painting a potato.Â There would be some sort of Scalloped Potato cook-off.Â And a potato peeling competition.Â That sounds fun, doesn’t it?Â And don’t forget about the food vendors.Â There will most assuredly be kettle corn, funnel cakes, and french fries.Â And some sort of random animal to visit — llamas, donkeys, reindeer, or horses (of course) are logical choices.Â I can’t wait to spend my entire Saturday afternoon at the Scalloped Potato Festival, now that you mention it.
Actually, I made these scalloped potatoes the other afternoon when we were skipping out on some random festival in our area.Â It’s been fall (season of lots of festivals!), so I have already forgotten which one it was.Â It is a wonderful, easy dinner for a cold night with its simple but delicious flavors.Â The smoked sausage bastes the potatoes as they cook and you won’t believe how few ingredients you need.Â I questioned the idea of scalloped potatoes without cheese, but this really works.Â And made with 2% milk (which I did), it isn’t nearly the calorie and fat hog that some scalloped potato recipes are.
And I must mention that this is my dad’s recipe.Â And I’m pretty sure he hates festivals too.Â That afternoon, I cooked and sipped a glass of wine while the kids played school (after helping me peel the potatoes).Â Donkey rides kick some ass, but this is more of what I imagined motherhood to be.
Smoky Scalloped Potatoes with Sausage
Serves 6 as a main dish
6-7 medium potatoes, peeled
1 lb. smoked sausage (very important to get high quality, local smoked sausage for the best flavor)
Flour (1/2 T per layer)
Butter (about 1 T per layer)
Salt and Pepper
2 cups of 2% milk (approximately)
1.Â Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.Â Slice potatoes thinly. Slice smoked sausage into thin rounds (or chunks, however you like it).
3.Â Butter a 9 inch by 13 inch glass pan.
4.Â In the greased pan, make one layer of potatoes.Â Sprinkle 1/2 T of flour over the potatoes and season well with salt and pepper.Â Break 1 T of butter into little pieces and scatter it over the potatoes.Â Top potato layer with slices of smoked sausage.
5.Â Repeat by layering potato slices, flour, butter, salt and pepper, and smoked sausage.Â Your top layer should be potatoes.Â (I made three layers of potatoes, with two layers of sausage in between).Â On your final layer of potatoes, sprinkle with 1/2 T of flour, additional salt and pepper, and 1 T of butter (in small pieces).
6.Â Pour milk over top the potatoes until you can start to see it come up the edge — it should be about 2 or 2 1/2 cups.Â Using a metal spatula, press the potato layers down into the milk, so the milk mixes in well.
7.Â Bake uncovered for about 1 hour and 30 minutes (mine took more like 1 hr. and 40 minutes).Â Every 20 minutes or so, press the layers down with the back of a metal spatula again so the top layer gets saturated.Â The potatoes are done when the milk is absorbed and the top is very golden brown.Â Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. (Helpful hint:Â you may want to put a baking sheet underneath your baking pan, as the milk tends to bubble and make a mess of your oven.)