the domestic tales of four sisters

Pennsylvania Potatoes

My sisters and I were born and raised in Central PA. (The 3 older ones still call that home…) When you grow up in Central PA you eat Pennsylvanian Dutch cooking … all the time. In my humble, born and raised there so I’m biased opinion – it’s the best type of cooking ever. It’s a lot of potatoes and sits in your belly and makes you feel warm food. Pennsylvania Potatoes areĀ that type of food.

These potatoes happened by accident about 2 years ago. Each year my husband would have to do his swim qualifications for the Marine Corps. On this particular day he decided he was going to do all levels of the swimming qualifications. You can choose how many you do, but the basic one must be completed yearly. Whereas the highest one must be completed every 4 or 5 years. (I forget and he’s not here to ask. And really … with an audience of mostly female readers – who cares?) My husband could barely get out of his Jeep he was so exhausted. I knew he had swim qual so I made a pot roast, but I wanted to “beef” the potatoes up. (Usually I just do mashed.) I went to my pantry with the intent of cutting up potatoes and making my own form of “au gratin” potatoes. I had no “cream of…” soups. So I was up the creek without a paddle.

But then I had this thought … what if I made my own makeshift version with the heavy cream and milk I had chilling out in my fridge? (Get it? Chilling? Hilarious, I know.) So like a drunk person trying to open up a car door I started cutting crap up and throwing stuff in a pan and figuring I’ll just chuck some cheese on top. Popped them in the oven at 400, walked away.

As my husband rolled himself out of the car and into the house he gave me an, “‘It smells good in here.” And then went to the bathroom to wash off his day in the pool. We sat down to eat dinner and watch our Seinfeld and King of Queens (romantic like that) and he took a bite. I’m not sure if it was the “all day in the pool absolute need for carbs or I’m gonna die” appetite or what but he declared them “amazing.” So these little things have become comfort food, rainy day food, and definitely winter food. But I live in Wyoming and it’s not hot here yet. So these are our side to pork chops.

Oh I should mention – They’re not low fat. And according to Danielle I am out to make you all fat. So … Just warning you.

The reason why I call these “Pennsylvania Potatoes” is because they smell like every Pennsylvanian kitchen in the winter. The smell they create while they’re cooking is just out of this world. Extremely comforting and very much “home.”


Ingredients Needed:

2 large russet potatoes
shredded cheddar
butter or Pam to prepare your pan
heavy cream or half and half
salt, pepper, and garlic powder



Spray or butter your pan, cut up your potatoes into even cuts. (I do chunks, you can cut them however you want – just make sure they’re uniform so they cook evenly.) Throw a few onions on top. (Can add more, but I like just a small amount.)




Equal parts heavy cream and milk, along with your seasoning. Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of liquid per LARGE potato. Pour this over the top. Don’t mix!


Sprinkle that cheese all over, cover with foil, and bake. 10 minutes before the potatoes are done remove the foil and allow to finish uncovered.



These are delicious and even better as leftovers. I’ve also added leftover ham and have just used this as the only dish.

Missing PA Today,


Pennsylvania Potatoes

2-3 Russet potatoes, cut evenly
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/2 cup milk
cheddar cheese, desired amount
salt, pepper, and garlic powder – to taste
onion slices, desired amount

1) Preheat oven to 400. Place potatoes and onions in prepared pan. Don’t stir.
2) In measuring cup mix cream, milk, and seasonings to taste. Pour over potatoes and onions.
3) Top with cheese and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender-ish.
4) Remove foil and finish in oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is slightly browned and the sauce is a little bubbly.

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