Tonight I decided to try a recipe for hash brown casserole. The entire ordeal started behind, because I didn't remember to thaw the hashbrowns. :) So after an "express defrost" in the microwave, I managed to get them to fall apart. I had mixed together the sour cream, cheese and soup, and then stirred it into the potatoes...OOPS I forgot to add the butter. Haha...it was quite the project making this simple recipe. (All recipes will be at the bottom of the post)
I have to admit, for me, the simplest recipes are sometimes the most difficult. For example, the first recipe I ever really truly bombed was Rice-Krispy Treats in 7th grade! Moving forward, I was wrestling with my overfull bowl (my largest bowl is in the fridge holding dough) trying to stir and ended up pouring the entire mess into the 9x13 baking dish then drizzling the butter over it before stirring it right there in the pan! :) I had substituted dry onion flakes because my two onions in the fridge were looking a bit spoiled and when I pulled it out thought I had made a huge mistake and they were burnt!~thankfully it was simply a few pieces of mushroom from the soup that had stayed on top and gotten a tad bit crispy.
Overall I felt like the recipe was bland. At the table, I tossed some seasoning salt and pepper on top of mine, trying to perfect the flavor--and that greatly enhanced it. The next time I intend to use less soup, more cheese and season the hashbrowns with salt before stirring ANYTHING into them. It seems technique has once again won out against sheer ingredients. Mind you--I did not PLAN to make a bland casserole--I simply walked into the recipe with no knowledge of what makes it work. On a side note--I mixed a small bit of Manwich Sloppy Joe on top of the casserole...and that was quite appealing for a second day dish!
Chip really enjoyed the tiny sandwich I made for him from a buttermilk biscuit with a teaspoon of sloppy joe! I served the biscuits because I only had enough buns for the adults and the children don't like manwich YET...
For dessert we finished the dough from one of the "best chocolate chip cookie" recipes I found online. They were definitely better than the ones I typically make, and if you want to know why...it's all about how long you cream the butter and sugars. Turn them nearly white! If you don't believe me--just try it once and it'll make a big difference. I have the blessing of a KitchenAid Stand mixer with a 5qt bowl that I use for most recipes. It took nearly 5 minutes to cream the sugars and butter and then an additional 2 minutes with the eggs and vanilla. This recipe also used more brown sugar than white to provide a chewier cookie!
2 lbs frozen hashbrowns (thawed)
1/2 c butter--melted
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 c chopped onion ( I used a handful of dried flakes)
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups cheddar cheese
Mix in a large bowl, turn into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake 350 degrees 45 minutes.
As I type this I'm wondering about adding some veggies--like celery or even just celery salt. Maybe some shredded zuchinni or somethiong....I'll let ya know what I revise this recipe with. Any suggestions would be welcome!
And don't forget to save those sour cream containers...reuse...reduce...recycle....or as I like to say wash and repurpose! I'm planning on planting seeds in the baby food containers I have laying around, and more on how I use containers coming later!