It’s ‘Saturdays with Linda’ time and this recipe is one my sisters and I always joke about. Way back as a new wife and homemaker, Linda got this scalloped carrots recipe from her new hubby’s grandmother. Grandma Ruth shared many recipes with Linda but this one became one of our family favorites. The funny thing is that Linda doesn’t remember eating it, getting the recipe, or passing it on to me! Yet my family still calls it “Linda’s carrot recipe”. In spite of her memory, she still retains ownership of the recipe in our minds!
So this recipe is Carrots a la Linda, or “Cheesy Carrots” as we usually call it. I’ve made it for most Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for my family for at least 20 years and often will drag it out for other occasions. Both D’Emily and Jdawg like it so much they zealously haul home containers of leftovers. We like it either cold or warmed in the microwave when eating it leftover. Actually most of us prefer it cold. It’s not greasy, it’s just right.
I remember the original recipe written out on a recipe card with a picture and Grandma Ruth’s name on it. The recipe called for shredded carrots. I’m not sure why I never followed that direction; I’ve always made the recipe with sliced carrots. It would probably bake faster, but the texture would be all wrong from the one we’ve come to love. At this point I’d hate to shred ALL those carrots and find it’s icky when made that way. I think we’ll stick to what is familiar.
Slicing the carrots is the only tedious part of this recipe. If you have a food processor or mandolin of course you could do it quicker. I simply slice them with a chef’s knife and yes it takes a long time! I like the carrot slices a little thicker than either my Cuisinart or mandolin make them so I breathe deeply and get to slicing. And more slicing. And then more. I slice so many orange carrots that the white handle of my chef’s knife often turns orange for awhile!
Once the carrots are sliced I pre-cook them in a large kettle just covered in water. When they are softened somewhat I drain off the water and set them aside. I sauté the onions in the butter until translucent, add the Velveeta and stir until it is melted, then pour the mixture over the carrots. I prepare the croutons, add them to the kettle, add the soups, and stir it all up. From there I put it into a greased lasagna pan that measures about 15” x 12” and bake it until browned and bubbly, about an hour. The lasagna pan is mounded up quite a bit as I usually double the recipe so I have leftovers to send home with the kids.
Often on holidays I make this dish a day ahead of time, put it in a crockpot or slow cooker, and heat for a couple of hours on low so it is ready at mealtime. With just one oven on holidays, baking space is at a premium. The more dishes I can prepare ahead of time and heat in one of my many crockpots and slow cookers the better.
This is a super cheesy dish and one Christmas when I brought it to the in-laws’ house as my meal contribution my nephews called it “carrot stuffing”. That is a cute name for it; the seasoned bread cubes do make it look a bit like stuffing! (We love stuffing so I usually also make that as a side dish when we’re serving turkey. A person can eat them both, in moderation!)
1/2 cup margarine
1 large onion; diced
2 cans cheddar cheese soup
1 box Velveeta; sliced
10-12 cups sliced carrots; cooked until just tender
1/2 cup margarine
6 cups Italian seasoned croutons
Sauté onion in 1 stick margarine; add soup and cheese, stirring until melted. Pour over carrots in large bowl.
Melt second stick of margarine and toss with croutons. Pour over carrots. Mix all ingredients until well mixed and spread into a large baking dish.