In the 1980's, baked potatoes with a variety of toppings were the rage and available everywhere, even in fast food restaurants. Unfortunately, baked potatoes aren't "hot" anymore. Most restaurants don't have them on the menu, except with butter and sour cream and, in a few instances, cheese and bacon.
My favorite baked potato has always been a broccoli baked potato. There's a deli in my city that serves it and, as my family and friends can attest, I order it every single time I eat there. Occasionally, I'll fix a broccoli baked potato at home, but it only makes one meal. When I found the recipe for Broccoli and Cheese Potatoes, I knew it would be a good side dish, but it also makes a nice substitute for a broccoli baked potato.
The original recipe called for the potatoes to be peeled, cut in half and boiled. The potatoes were then sliced, the casserole assembled and baked for an additional amount of time. I knew there had to be an easier way and looked at the recipe for Scalloped Potatoes for inspiration.
The version I came up with eliminates boiling the potatoes ahead of time. This means they have to cook longer in the oven, but the total cooking time is only a little longer than what was called for in the original recipe.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. The potatoes need to be sliced the same thickness -- or as close as possible -- so they cook evenly.
Layer the slices from one potato on the bottom of a greased casserole dish. Salt and, if desired, pepper the potatoes.
Spread 1/2 or 1/3 of the soup over the potatoes.
Sprinkle the desired amount of cheese over the soup. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
I use a can of broccoli cheese soup, but you can use cream of broccoli instead. I like sharp Cheddar cheese, but you could substitute Velveeta, Cheez Whiz or your favorite cheese for the Cheddar. The amount of cheese is a personal preference. I use between 1 and 1 1/2 cups for two potatoes.
Although I enjoy the dish the day it's made, I like the leftovers better. I heat a serving of the potatoes in the microwave before adding some fresh broccoli and a sprinkling of Cheddar cheese. I heat everything in the microwave a few seconds, just long enough to melt the cheese. If I want the leftovers to taste more like the broccoli baked potato at the deli, I add some bacon pieces on top.
Broccoli and Cheese Potatoes aren't the same as the potato served at the deli, but it's a lot less expensive, plus there's enough leftover so I can have a "broccoli baked potato" for lunch more than one day!