Pros: Easy to make, inexpensive, tons of flavors to choose from.
Cons: Smell of some flavors can be extremely overpowering.
One thing I really miss about my mothers cooking was her potato and ham mix. I have no idea what prompted her to make it but one day we came home from school and there it was. Chunks of potatoes, a sharp cheddar cheese and diced up pieces of ham. Normally that doesnt sound all that appealing to me but every once in a while I get a craving for it and mix up a batch using the Betty Crocker Au Gratin mix. I was really surprised when the brood asked me to make it because they arent huge fans of anything with onion in it. One side note about the onion powder, even though its there in a powdered form, it does seem to overpower the entire house when I make it. You cant really taste it but you sure as hell can smell it. Theres no way to remove it from the powdered cheddar cheese packet so if you arent into onions you may want to skip this or at the very least, bake it in the oven instead of using the microwave or stovetop variations.
Betty Crocker Au Gratin Potatoes
If you like cheesy potatoes then this is something that you might want to try out. One box mix will yield five servings, providing that you use the two third cup as a guideline for serving. In the box there are two packets, one clear one containing the dehydrated potato slices and the other has the powdered cheese mix. If you want to make a meal out of this consider adding some chopped up pieces of bacon to it or some diced ham; make sure that the meat is cooked before you add it since it doesnt take very long for the potato mix to cook. If you are going to make this as a meal instead of a side dish, you may want to use two boxes and add a little bit of extra cheese. If you follow the instructions you should get about five servings from one box but that is only two thirds of a cup per serving so you see why I said to use two boxes if you want to serve this as a meal. Serving just this isnt going to be enough to fill most people up; in the past Ive added sausage, ham, bacon, chicken or vegetables to it. I wouldnt go all crazy and start tossing in a ton of things, it tends to ruin the overall cheesy taste of it.
This is really easy to make and you can prepare it on the stovetop, in the microwave or in the oven. To me the best taste come from cooking it in the oven but not everyone wants to invest twenty minutes into a side dish or heat up the entire kitchen. All you have to add to this is two cups of hot water, a few tablespoons of butter or margarine and a half cup of milk. If you plan on microwaving this, do it at two minute intervals or it will boil over and leave you with a huge mess to clean up. If you are going to pop it in the oven mix all the ingredients and let it sit for a few minutes, cover the top of a deep baking dish and slide it in the oven. If you want a crunchy top to it, put it in the broiler once its cooked. This stuff is extremely hot so dont grab a forkful and swallow it, it might not taste all that hot in your mouth but it will burn your throat, trust me, Ive done it more than a few times.
These values are per three quarter cup servings when made with one half cup of milk and two tablespoons of butter.
Fat: 1.5 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 21 grams
Sugar: 2 grams
Fiber 1 gram
Sodium: 610 milligrams
A 4.9 ounce box of this costs about $1.39 but I usually wait until its on sale for 10 / $10.00 or a dollar a box. Considering you have to add milk and butter to this to get the best taste, its a good deal if you already have those ingredients on hand but if you have to buy milk and butter [or margarine] then tack a few more dollars on to the cost of this. This is a relatively quick side dish to prepare and you can make it on the stovetop, microwave or in the over so for a buck a box it beats plain old mashed potatoes or garlic bread. This also comes with the Betty Crocker points that you can save up and redeem at their website or through their catalog. For those collecting Boxtops For Education, there is a .10 cent official coupon on the top. Cut it out, send it in to your school and they can use it to purchase supplies.
The Bottom Line
The only true megative that I have to say about this is that the smell of this can be really nauseating, especially when it spreads throughout the entire house. I wish they would make it without the onion powder since you cant really taste it in the mix but you can smell it in the air. Even so, this is a nice alternative to the usual side dishes but it is pretty high in carbohydrates. This is backed with the Red Spoon Promise. If you arent happy with it they want to know about it. You can call them toll free at  828-3291 or visit the Betty Crocker website to send them an email from their customer service page.
C/O General Mills
Post Office Box 200
Minneapolis, MN 55440
As always, thanks for the read!
~^V^~ Freak ~^V^~
? 2007 Freak369