I think cheesy potatoes might be one of America’s favorite side dishes. I’ve heard a few different names for this sort of dish, from Crack Potatoes to Funeral Potatoes. The cheesy potato recipe I have been making for years is called Prudence Penny’s Perfect Potatoes. The recipe came from my aunt. I wondered who in the world Prudence Penny was, and also why she felt like her potatoes needed so much butter in them? Not very prudent if you ask me…
So then I did a little research and found out that Prudence Penny was a pseudonym for the cooking instructors and writers, and later the food editors, of the Dear Abby style cooking column from the Hearst Newspaper in the 1930’s. Good to know! I love learning the history of the recipes I have collected.
For these Healthier Cheesy Potatoes, I set out to see if I could keep the cheesiness, saltiness, and creaminess that we all love without so much of the butter, canned soup, and sour cream. I actually halved the amount of butter the original recipe called for, substituted a simple white sauce for the canned soup, and substituted nonfat plain Greek yogurt for some of the sour cream. I loved the way they turned out so much, I even made two batches of them for a big family get together – and they were totally devoured.
I can honestly say I prefer them made the healthier way, and if you know me this is usually not the case! I think Prudence Penny would be proud.
- 6 tablespoons melted butter (divided)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon chicken base
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 lbs. frozen diced hash brown potatoes, mostly thawed
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/3 cup crushed Ritz crackers (about 1/3 of a tube)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, on medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Whisk in flour, and allow to brown and bubble, stirring constantly, for two minutes. Slowly whisk in milk and chicken base, and stir frequently while the mixture simmers and thickens slightly (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, mix together remaining 4 tablespoons of melted butter, sour cream, Greek yogurt, and onion powder.
- Add the white sauce from the saucepan into the sour cream / Greek yogurt mixture.
- Stir in hash browns and cheese.
- Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Bake for 50 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and top with crushed Ritz crackers. Put the potatoes back into the oven for 10 more minutes.