Columnists Food

SAVORING SPRING: Scalloped potatoes, minty carrots add to any Easter meal

You will enjoy every bite of these delightful dishes. They are the perfect picks whether you’re hosting the Easter party or headed to a potluck. Pop the Easter eggs in the fridge for easy breakfast or snack during the week.

Idaho Potato Commission


Makes 15 servings (about ½ cup each)

Tender with just the right amount of cheese and spices, this lighter version of the creamy classic is the perfect addition to your springtime table.

Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350F.

Cooking spray

Lightly coat an 11-by-7-inch baking pan with spray. Set aside.

1 (8-ounce) brick reduced–fat sharp cheddar cheese

Grate cheese on large holes of grater. Divide cheese in half. Set aside.

Flavor Milk

1 (12-ounce) can low-fat evaporated milk

1 cup 1% milk plus more for after milk warms

2 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Stir evaporated milk through nutmeg together in medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat when mixture reaches a boil. Stir.

Cover and let mixture steep, off heat, while you prepare potatoes.

Prepare potatoes

2 pounds russet potatoes (about 3 medium/large potatoes)

Peel potatoes and immediately place in a large bowl of cold water. Slice potatoes into thin slices about 1/8-inch thick, placing slices in the water. You should have about 7 cups of potatoes.

Drain potatoes. Place in large pot and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until potatoes begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Cook sauce

About ¼ cup cold 1% milk

Make the sauce after the potatoes boil. Place a strainer over a 4-cup measuring cup. Pour the milk mixture through the strainer; discard contents of strainer. Measure strained milk then add cold milk to measure 2 ½ cups.

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Put cornstarch in medium-size saucepan.

Whisk about ½ cup of flavored milk into cornstarch, adding milk a little at a time, whisking until cornstarch is smooth. Gradually whisk rest of milk into pot.

Put saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Continue to cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

2 tablespoons light tub margarine

Stir in margarine followed by half of cheese.


Arrange half of potatoes in a single layer in bottom of prepared pan. Overlap slices slightly, completely covering bottom of pan.

Spread half of sauce over potatoes. Arrange remaining potatoes in a single layer over sauce, overlapping slices to cover sauce.

Spread remaining sauce over potatoes then sprinkle top with remaining cheese.


Bake until cheese is nice and melted and potatoes are tender, 25-30 minutes.

Let rest 5 minutes then serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving: 140 calories; 5 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 15 mg cholesterol; 195 mg sodium; 16 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 4 g sugars; 7 g protein Calcium 20% RDA; Vitamin A 6% RDA; Vitamin C 6% RDA




Makes 5 servings

A sprinkling of mint makes everyday carrots come alive. Be sure to dry the mint before you chop it or it will get mushy.

 1 tablespoon agave

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher salt

Stir ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

1 (16-ounce) bag cut and peeled carrots (cut into baby carrots)

Steam carrots until desired tenderness, using a microwave, a steamer basket, or a pot with a little water.

Drain carrots from pot or scoop them out of steamer basket. Place in a dry pot and drizzle with agave mixture. Stir.

Cook over low heat until agave mixture coats carrots about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves

Sprinkle mint over carrots. Stir well and serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 70 calories; 2 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 78 mg sodium; 13 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 9 g sugars; 1 g protein Calcium 10% RDA; Vitamin A 270% RDA; Vitamin C 2 % RDA



The perfect no-time-to-bake homemade dessert is waiting for you in the market. Just pick up your favorite berries, an angel food cake from the store bakery and a canister of light whipped cream. You’re set!

1 angel food cake

To cut cake: Try my foolproof secret for keeping the fluff in slices of angel food cake. Place 2 forks back-to-back on top of cake. Poke forks into the top of the cake then gently pull the forks in opposite directions, moving down to bottom of cake. Repeat to make the second cut and create a slice. Continue to cut the rest of the cake into slices.


Canister light whipped cream

Finish dessert

Spoon berries over cake slices. Garnish with a little whipped cream and another berry or two.

Cooking questions? Email me at

Copyright 2017 Carla F. Williams All rights reserved