Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole


I have made many hash brown casseroles through the years. I have two favorites, for sure--one with cream and cottage cheese (that doesn't have the sour cream taste, for those who do not care for sour cream) and one with sour cream. Both are cheesy and delicious!

Here is the sour cream one....with variations--cooking it in a crock pot (great to go with bbq'ed food when you don't want to heat up the kitchen in the summer) and one for "mega" cooking---ten times! :) These potatoes freeze wonderfully--and are one of my most often-made freezer foods because I love having side dishes to pull out of the freezer. 

  • 2 lbs. frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted (see last ingredient for more butter)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion or green onion OR 2 TBSP dried minced onion
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 pint (2 cups) sour cream (regular or light)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese or Colby cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups crushed corn flakes and 1/4 cup (half stick) butter for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees if baking (and not crocking or freezing.
2.  Grease or spray a 9×13″ pan or baking dish; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine thawed hash browns with 1/2 cup of the melted butter, pepper, salt, and chopped onion, blending well. 
4. Add in the soup and sour cream, then the cheddar cheese, mixing everything well.
 5. Spread mixture evenly into a 9×13″ baking dish. 
6. Mix remaining 1/4 cup melted butter and the crushed corn flakes together and sprinkle over top of casserole. 7. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes regular or 40 mins convection.
8. If using the crock pot, turn all ingredients into greased large crock. Cook on low for six to eight hours, stirring halfway through. Remove lid for last hour or so to thicken. Omit topping or add near end. 

I made twelve of these---half for my friend's graduation party and half for my freezer. Are you ready for this recipe times twelve (well, six for most folks!)?

Here are some tips for the expansion:

1. You will need a huge bowl! I used to make this much in a huge rubbermaid tub with rubber gloves to keep from freezing my hands while I mixed. This time I used my gigantic bowl and did the recipe half (six times each) then repeated. (The recipe below is for six....seldom do people have freezer space for twelve!)

2. This is one of the simplest freezer recipes to make times six (like below) or more--or to even make twelve 8 x 8 dishes out of (using the multiples of six given below). Thus, if you are only feeding four or five of you, you can make the recipe below (six times for a 9x13). Then divide it evenly among twelve 8 x 8 pans.

3. When you are done mixing all of the ingredients, just take big handfuls (or glass measures full) and dollup into each freezer pan. Cover. Label (see below). And freeze!

4. Labels:  Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
                Thaw. Bake at 350' for 50 to 60 mins, 
                 uncovered. (40 to 50 convection.)
                 Sprinkle cracker crumbs or
                 Corn Flakes that you have
                 crushed into melted
                 butter over last 10 mins.

TIMES SIX for six 9 x 13 foil pans:

6 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
6 sticks butter
3 cup chopped onion or 12 TBSP dried minced onion
6 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
6 (16 ounce) container sour cream
48 ounces shredded Colby cheese
1 1/2 tsp pepper
6 tsp salt
12 cups Corn Flakes and 1 1/2 cups melted butter (for topping)

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