December 27, 2010

Christmas Dinner with Hash Brown Casserole

Christmas dinner went pretty well this year.  Jeffrey made the ham, and we worked together on the side dishes.  It seems like every holiday meal we manage to forget one thing, and this year was no exception.  The lovely broccoli and carrots that I'd selected to add color to our plates and to add vegetables to the meal got forgotten at the back of the countertop as we assembled the rest of the casserole side dishes.  Our guests didn't care, and we greatly enjoyed everything anyway.  Good company is more important than having set up the "perfect" holiday table, anyway, to my way of thinking.  And we did have a wonderful meal with great conversation. 

My son requested a favorite potato casserole, which is very good with ham.  I always use a particular brand of frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, Mr. Dell's.  I can tell that I'm not the only one who prefers this brand, because every Christmas and Easter I usually end up reaching way back in the grocer's freezer case to get one of the last bags of potatoes!  Mr. Dell's has a very good recipe printed right on the package if you're rushed for time, but I prefer my own recipe, which is assembled the night before your big dinner.

Overnight Cheesy Potato Casserole
1 cup (8 ounces)                sour cream
1 teaspoon                         minced garlic
1 can                                   cream of mushroom soup
1 teaspoon                         salt
1 teaspoon                         coarse-ground black pepper
2 cups                                  grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 pound package              Mr. Dell's frozen shredded hash browns
1 stick (8 tablespoons)     butter, melted
1 cup                                    crushed cornflakes
2 tablespoons                    butter, melted

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, garlic, cream of mushroom soup, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.

2.  Melt 1 stick of butter, set aside.

3.  Arrange half the package of hash  browns in a large rectangular baking dish.  Pour half the melted butter over them.  Pour half the sour cream mixture over them.  Top with half the sharp cheddar cheese.  Repeat with the remaining potatoes, butter, sour cream mixture, and cheddar cheese.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

4.  Just before baking, sprinkle the crushed cornflakes over the top of the casserole and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

An easy way to get crushed cornflakes:  Measure out about four times the crushed volume desired into a large sealable plastic storage bag.  Crush the cornflakes with a rolling pin- make sure the bag has been sealed tight first!

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