My oldest daughter, Nicole, graduated from the University of Minnesota on May 13th. Yes, that was Mother’s Day and yes, that was a great Mother’s Day gift! So of course we wanted to do something special to celebrate this achievement. I talked to her about what she wanted to do and she wanted a party, but she wanted something fairly simple. We decided on a barbecue in the backyard (and since it was mid-may, we’d pray for nice weather) with close family and a few of her close friends.
As far as the menu goes, Nicole would have been perfectly happy with burgers, beans and some chips. Well…I wanted to cook, so we expanded on that idea a bit. We had grilled hamburgers and skin-on hotdogs and I put out a variety of toppings including caramelized onions and crispy bacon bits. I also made this incredibly tasty southwestern coleslaw, which is a huge crowd pleaser and then I made my cheesy hashbrown casserole which is also a crowd pleaser. For dessert we ordered two really decadent cakes from one of our favorite local restaurants.
This cheesy hashbrown casserole is adapted from the recipe on the back of the Simply Potatoes package. It’s very easy to make and it’s so delicious, it’s a hit every time I make it. The great thing about this recipe is twofold. First of all, you can easily double it if you have a crowd to feed. When I double it, I don’t increase the amount of butter and increase the cheese to 6 cups, everything else I double. The second thing is, you can make it ahead and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake it. Just allow about another 10-15 minutes for it to bake.
Fortunately, the day of the party dawned bright, sunny and warm. It was a bit windy (ok, ALOT windy), but we were able to have the party in the backyard as planned. Everyone had a great time and the food was delicious! Here’s a picture of the graduate with her proud parents:
Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
- 2 – 20 oz bags Simply Potatoes hashbrown
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup butter, divided
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (I used reduced sodium)
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup (also used reduced sodium)
- 1 1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
- 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Saute onion for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute more.
Melt remaining butter and combine in a large bowl with soups, sour cream, sauteed onion mixture, salt and pepper. Add cheese and combine well. Add hashbrowns and combine making sure they are well coated with sauce.
Spoon potato mixture into a 9×13 pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes until browned and bubbly. Serve immediately.
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