Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hashbrown Casserole

Things have been absolutely crazy around here lately.

Spring has arrived, and with it, pine pollen. Every day for about a week I'd go out to leave for work and my graphite colored car was yellow. People here say it hasn't been this bad in years. Lucky us.

My peach trees have tender green buds and tiny pink flowers. The bushes in the front yard have new shoots sticking out in every direction possible. And happy little pansies smile at me every time I walk to the mail box.

Some days, I sit on my back patio to soak in the sunshine and read my book. A lot of the time though, I get distracted by the smells and sounds around me. There are so many new things to absorb. Folks in the area say there isn't a spring season here, only summer and winter. I beg to differ. I think most signs simply go unnoticed. The subtle changes in the pine tree colors, the way the grass wakes up, the songs the birds sing are a little lighter and happier. When you've lived in a place where these things signal that there really is end to winter, you learn to appreciate them (and seek them out) a bit more.

Jon was sick for several weeks with a sinus cold that turned into bronchitis and was well on its way to becoming full on pneumonia. Thank goodness with prayers and strong antibiotics he's back to himself again.

Then it was my turn. I however went the route of a kidney stone. They say do what you know, and well, I know kidney stones. My employer was very understanding of the situation, a blessing for sure. After a few days of crankiness and uncomfortable/restless nights, I finally passed my stone without any fanfare.

In my fuzzy mental state I decided to prepare a few meals ahead of time as I didn't know how long I would be feeling less than stellar.

Tonight we had the hash brown casserole I made in advance. Jon popped it in the oven when he got home from work tonight. Then, when I got home we made a quick side salad and dinner was served.

We really liked this dish, but I think next time we will add a butter/crushed cornflake topping to add some crunch. Other than that, it was pretty tasty.

Here's to you and your culinary adventures, friends. Cheers!

Hash Brown Casserole
Serves 6
293 calories per

6 bacon slices
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (32-ounce) package frozen Southern-style hash brown potatoes
1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded Classic Melts Four Cheese blend, divided
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed 30% reduced-sodium, 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
Lawry's Season Salt to taste
Cooking spray

Cook bacon in an extra large nonstick skillet (I used my wok) over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, and crumble. Discard drippings in pan. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in the potatoes; cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine crumbled bacon, 1/4 cup cheese, green onions, sour cream, salt, pepper, and soup in a large bowl. Add potato mixture; toss gently to combine. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Remove casserole from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Bake casserole, covered, at 350ยบ for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until bubbly around edges and cheese begins to brown.

No comments:

Post a Comment