Mary Anne's Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Don't be paranoid anymore about serving undercooked scalloped potatoes at your family dinners. This delicious recipe simmers the potatoes in a rich, creamy sauce before you your bake them. By doing this, your potatoes will be ready for their big debut at your Easter dinner.

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced really thin, about 1/8-inch-thick slices

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional

Topping, optional:

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray either a 3-quart baking dish or a 9x13-inch baking dish with a non-vegetable spray. Set aside.In a large,heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and saute until onion is soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for about 30sautends.Add cream, milk, thyme, nutmeg, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and potatoes and bring to a simmer. Cover, lower heat to maintain a light simmer, and cook until potatoes are almost but not quite tender, about 15 minutes.Meanwhile, if using, in a small bowl mix Panko bread crumbs and melted butter and stir well. Set aside.Remove and discard fresh thyme sprigs and bay leaves. If using, add crumbled bacon and mix well. Transfer potato mixture to baking dish and sprinkle with cheese. If using, top with Panko bread crumb mixture.Bake until the cream has thickened and is bubbling around sides and the top is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.Serves 8 to 10.

Note:You can assemble this recipe the day before, cover, refrigerate it and then bake it the next day.