Creamy Everything Scalloped Potatoes with Lemony Pesto

You. Guys. I literally tested this recipe THIS MORNING and had to share it same day because it’s that good. I grew up eating traditional scalloped potatoes, sometimes with ham, and of course they were delicious. What could be better than potatoes and cheese? Um, I think I found my answer.

The monotonous, traditional scalloped potatoes (or potatoes Au Gratin) get jazzed up with the addition of fresh thyme, garlic, and everything bagel seasoning. Traditionally, this dish incorporates both gruyere and parmesan cheeses, however in this recipe I chose not to add the parmesan. The nutty, creamy gruyere, which is normally balanced by the tangy parmesan, is instead complimented by the bright lemony pesto, and I didn’t feel that the parmesan was needed. If you want to add it, go for it.

This dish comes together in about 15 minutes, and the majority of the cook time is spent in the oven. You start by slicing Russet potatoes (or other starchy variety) and shallots into 1/8-1/4 inch rounds. You want to take care to slice the pieces as close in size as possible, so they all cook at the same time. Once sliced, just layer the potatoes and shallots in your glass baking dish and cover with the delicious cheese sauce.

The lemony pesto could not be easier- simply mix 1/4 cup of your favorite store-bought pesto with the juice and zest of 1/2 lemon. The brightness will blow you away! I also love to spoon this pesto over avocado toast, pasta, fish or chicken, and homemade pizza. The opportunities are endless, and I know this will be a summer staple condiment for me.

The weather is warming up, but the nights are still cool and begging for a soul-warming dish to be eaten out on the patio with your favorite sweater on. I’ll be having these potatoes tonight, alongside pan-roasted chicken breasts and crispy broccoli. Probably with a glass of Pinot Grigio too, because, well you know. I hope you enjoy this refreshing take on a classic as much as I do. If you make this recipe, don’t forget to share a photo and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!


1.5lbs Russet potatoes 

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded

1 TBSP flour

2 TBSP butter, plus more for greasing

1 ½ cups milk 

½ cups shredded gruyere

1 TBSP everything bagel seasoning

¼ cup basil pesto

Zest and juice of ½ lemon 


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8×12 or 9×13 inch glass baking dish with butter.
  2. Slice potatoes into ⅛-¼ inch pieces. Peel and slice shallot crosswise and separate the layers into rounds. Mince garlic cloves. 
  3. Place a layer of potatoes followed by a layer of shallots and repeat until the baking dish is full. Set aside.
  4. In a medium skillet, melt 2 TBSP butter over medium heat. Stir in minced garlic and thyme leaves. Allow to cook for a minute or so, until fragrant. 
  5. Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine. Allow the flour and butter mixture to cook for 2 minutes or so, until thick and bubbling. 
  6. Add milk and stir constantly until the entire mixture has thickened, about 3-4 minutes. Add cheese and stir until just melted. Remove from heat and stir in everything bagel seasoning. Taste for additional salt and add accordingly. 
  7. Pour cheese sauce over potatoes, using the back of a spoon to smooth it over the top evenly. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. 
  8. While the potatoes bake, make the Lemony Pesto. Combine ¼ cup of your favorite store-bought basil pesto, juice of ½ lemon, and fresh lemon zest. Stir to combine.
  9. When the time’s up, remove foil and broil the potatoes 1-2 minutes, until the top is browned to your liking. Spoon Lemony Pesto over the top and sprinkle with additional everything bagel seasoning, if desired. Serve immediately for dinner alongside your favorite protein and vegetable. 

Gluten-Free Strawberry & Pineapple Crumble Bars

The more I do this, the more I notice that some of my better recipes are born out of complete chance. Take these bars for example, which were created out of a lack of almond flour. I set out to develop these bars as a gluten-free dessert option, which I have gotten a lot of requests for after releasing my Sour Cream & Cheddar Biscuits and Double Chocolate Scones, both of which are very much not gluten free.

I wanted to incorporate a mix of almond flour and a gluten free one-to-one baking blend, but realized halfway through adding ingredients to my bowl that I only had half the amount of almond flour I had planned on using. Insert: walnuts and a high-speed blender. I just eyeballed the amount of walnut halves I thought would make roughly ½ cup and pulsed them until they resembled coarse flour.

In retrospect, I think any nut flour would work in this recipe, with the exception of coconut flour. Coconut flour is a whole different beast, absorbs liquid at insane rates, and simply won’t work in this recipe. Other than that, feel free to get creative with your nuts in this crust. Macadamia, walnut, almond, maybe even pecan would all probably taste delicious and offer similar effects when combined with the gluten-free flour blend.

As far as fruit filling goes, I personally love the combination of fresh spring strawberries with the pineapple. I happened to have a ton of frozen pineapple and fresh berries that were on the verge of going bad, and the combination ended up being exactly what I was looking for. Sweet, with a hint of tropical, and a little vibrance from the freshly-squeezed lemon…. Yum! This recipe is versatile in that you can use whatever fruit you want, and it can be frozen, fresh, or a mixture of the two. Totally up to you, as long as the amounts remain the same (2.5 cups fruit, total).

In the realm of desserts, this one is pretty healthy, but definitely not shy in the flavor or satisfaction departments. I hope you enjoy this one, and don’t forget to share and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!


For The Crust:

½ cup almond flour

½ cup ground walnuts (see recipe notes above)

1.5 cup gluten free flour blend (use a cup-for-cup option)

⅓ cup coconut sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp almond extract

11 TBSP butter, cold

½ tsp cinnamon

For The Filling:

1.5 cups strawberries, crushed or cut into smaller pieces

1 cup pineapple, crushed or cut into smaller pieces

¼ cup coconut sugar

4 TBSP fresh lemon juice (about ½ lemon)

1 TBSP gluten free flour blend 


  1. Cube cold butter into ½ in cubes.
  2. Combine almond flour, ground walnuts, gluten free flour blend, coconut sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine. 
  3. Using your fingers, work butter into the flour mixture until it is broken down and incorporated. The dough will look coarse and crumby. 
  4. Add eggs and fold to combine, creating a moist dough. Gather dough into a ball and cover with a damp paper towel or dish towel. Chill for at least 30 minutes
  5. While the dough chills, make the filling. Combine fruit, coconut sugar, lemon juice, salt, and gluten free flour blend in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  6. Bring filling to a boil, then simmer for another 5-7 minutes, until thickened. Transfer to a  bowl and cool in the fridge while you bake the bottom layer of crust. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Divide chilled dough in half. Using your fingertips, press the first ½ of the dough into the bottom of a 7×11 inch glass baking dish lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. 
  8. When the first layer of dough is finished baking, add the cooled fruit filling on top. Crumble the remaining ½ of the dough on top of the filling in an even layer. Bake the entire pan for an additional 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden brown. 
  9. Let bars cool completely before slicing. Serve as is or with a side of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Grain-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cookie-Bread

I truly had no clue what to title this recipe when I tested it…..correction: I still have no clue. It’s kind of like a giant skillet cookie, but it also reminds me deeply of banana bread laced with creamy peanut butter and melty chocolate. Alas, it’s now called “Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cookie-Bread.”

Despite the trouble in titling this dessert, I had ABSOLUTELY no trouble devouring it. It comes together in one bowl and can be baked in either your favorite cast-iron skillet or in a 9-inch round cake pan. It’s also super versatile when it comes to the add-ins. I used peanut butter, chocolate chips, and chopped toasted walnuts, but you could really use any combination of nut butters, nuts, dried fruit, or chocolate and it would taste delicious.

Per some requests to create gluten-free recipes, this cookie-bread relies on almond flour as its base. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t sub out any other flour variety in this case, as I found little success testing those. Another *important* note: this cookie-bread was tested using 2 whole eggs as well as 1 egg and 1 egg yolk. The two-egg version yielded a lighter, “bread-y” consistency (similar to banana bread), while the one-egg-one-egg-yolk version was slightly denser and gave off a gooey cookie vibe. Both were delicious, and it’s totally personal preference here. If you’re curious, the difference lies primarily in the fat-to-protein ratio, in that the two-egg version has a higher protein content from the extra egg white, while the egg yolk version has a higher fat content due to removing the egg white (egg yolks are primarily lipids). I love food science, so there’s your lesson for the day. If you wanted to test this protein/fat theory, you could sub the one egg yolk in that version for 1 TBSP of your choice fat (like butter or more coconut oil), and it would likely show similar results. But hey- I didn’t test that out, so don’t quote me.

Anyhow, make this recipe!! It’s honestly healthy enough to eat for breakfast. Or slathered with extra peanut butter, warmed in the microwave, and covered up entirely by a massive scoop of ice cream. But that’s just me.

As always, if you make this recipe, don’t forget to share it and tag me @theardentcook on Instagram!


2 eggs (or 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, see recipe notes above)

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed

⅓ cup salted creamy peanut butter (use natural for best texture)

⅓ cup coconut sugar 

2 TBSP coconut oil or ghee, melted, plus more for greasing pan

1 ¾ cups almond flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

½ – ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips

⅓ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or round cake pan with coconut oil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas, eggs, peanut butter, melted coconut oil, and coconut sugar. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add almond flour, baking soda, and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Batter will be moist but not overly wet or runny.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts, and pour batter into skillet.
  5. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until middle is set and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cookie-bread comes out clean.
  6. Serve warm with a dollop of extra peanut butter and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!