What’s your favorite part of holiday get-togethers? Catching up with family? Playing football after dinner? Or, if you’re in my family, maybe playing Scrabble? Debating that timeless question: fancy china or paper plates?
I know you’re going to be surprised to hear this, but one of my favorite parts of family get-togethers is the food. In particular, the many casseroles and creamy salads that we only see on those special days.
But I discovered something a while back. It’s a well-kept secret, but I’ll tell you.
You can make holiday casseroles any time of the year.
I know! Get OUT!
Since this realization dawned on my cheese-loving brain, I’ve made cheesy potatoes a fairly regular staple at our house. It’s nice to have a side dish other than green beans, corn or tater tots.
You might not call them cheesy potatoes. This dish of cheesy, carby goodness might be called hashbrown casserole at your house. Or possibly, as the recipe I use calls it, Holiday Potato Dish. Whatever you call it, though, it’s delicious.
And I’m here to tell you – and show you – how easy it is to make this dish.
First, the ingredients:
Chop up a good amount of onion. Probably about half a medium onion. (On a side note: I don’t know what they’re feeding the onions these days, but the last two weeks, my grocery store has been selling head-sized onions. I’m not even exaggerating. It’s a little scary.)
Saute the onions in a couple tablespoons of butter. And when I say “butter,” I mean Blue Bonnet Light. Which, if I’m honest, is not at all what the recipe calls for, because it’s half water. So if you’re up to it, please, use some real butter.
Once the onions are translucent, add one can of cream of celery soup and 16 oz. of sour cream. (Again with the light stuff…I use 98% fat-free soup and light sour cream.) It won’t look pretty, but it will definitely start smelling good.
Now, here’s where I differ from the recipe. (Just kidding. I’ve been doing that from the get-go.) The recipe says to mix two cups of shredded cheddar with one package of frozen hashbrowns in a separate bowl, then fold into the soup mixture.
I don’t see a need for dirtying up another bowl. So I just dump the cheese in, stir it up and then add the hashbrowns.
Cheese, glorious cheese:
And now the hashbrowns. Until just recently, I’d only used the cubed hashbrowns – are they called O’Brien potatoes or something? – but Mark requested the shredded kind. So that’s what I used. And….yummmmm!
Now you can do one of two things. You can grease (or spray) a 9×13 pan, or you can do the same to two 8×8 pans. For my own family, I make two pans.
The recipe suggests refrigerating the casserole overnight, then topping it with crushed corn flakes and baking for an hour on 350 degrees.
At this point, I freeze the casseroles. And when it’s time to bake them, I’ll thaw completely and bake. I don’t mess with the corn flakes. Some people do. And it’s delicious. But I keep it simple.
Plus, the store-brand corn flakes come in a ginormous box, and they inevitably get uber-stale in my pantry. So, plain potatoes+cheese it is.
Here’s the full recipe, as it’s written. Tweak as desired.
Cheesy Potato Casserole
1 package frozen hashbrowns
1/4 c. butter
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup chopped onion
1 pint sour cream
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup crushed corn flakes
Mix potatoes and cheese. Saute onions in 1/4 cup butter until tender. Stir in soup and sour cream. Fold potatoes and cheese into soup mixture. Turn into greased baking dish. Cover, refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle with corn flakes and drizzle with 3 tablespoons butter. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
Just to clarify: The top photo in this post is NOT my casserole! It has cubed hashbrowns and corn flakes! But, at least for now, I don’t have an actual photo of MY casserole!
What’s your favorite side dish? Or holiday dish? Or both?