This recipe is comfort food at its best. It is super simple to make, but tastes like it's complicated. It's the kind of casserole that makes you sigh because it is so good. And it's also the perfect dish to take to a potluck or bring to a friend in need. When people refer to a dish as comfort food they usually mean that it has the flavors of your childhood, is high in calories, and is something you don't indulge in very often, but when do you enjoy every single bite. This dish is no exception--in fact, it might just take the crown in this house. :) (I've been watching too much Toddlers and Tiaras.) Usually I change up recipes to make them healthier, so I've used 98% fat free condensed soup and skim milk, but this is comfort food and full-fat cheese and fried onions are a requirement. :)
You will need:
3 cups frozen shredded hash browns
1 small can of fried onions
cheddar cheese (I measure by handfuls)
4-6 (depending on size) cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1 can 98% fat-free condensed cream of chicken soup
3/4 cup skim milk
1 can low sodium corn
1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen sweet peas
salt to taste
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Liberally grease (I use pan spray) a 9x13 baking dish and spread the hash browns in it. Then add the onions and toss.
Spread about two handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese on top of the onion/hash brown mix. More if you like! (I always, always shred my own cheese. The prepackaged shredded cheese is tossed with cornstarch to prevent sticking, which keeps it from melting properly and it is loaded with preservatives. Yuck.)
I forgot to take a picture of this step (shame on me). Spread the chicken on top of the cheese and sprinkle with seasoning. I use Cavender's but Lawry's, Montreal Chicken, or even just salt and pepper would be fine.
In a separate bowl, add the soup, milk, peas, and corn. You should also add a bit of salt. (You can totally play around with different veggies. Broccoli would make a great addition or substitution. So would carrots!)
Now pour that mixture over the top of your 9x13 pan and spread it around. I place the dish on a cookie sheet before putting it in the oven, but I've never had it boil over.)
Bake for 30 minutes and then remove from oven. Add another handful of cheese on top and put it back into the oven for 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
As Tink likes to say, "it's time to feast!" Sooooo good. The potatoes don't get crispy at all (like hash browns). They are soft and cheesy and the onions add amazing flavor.
We never have any leftovers! Truly comforting and indulgent. Normally I would add biscuits or cornbread to a casserole to make it a meal, but any addition is completely unnecessary with this dish. So yummy!!!!
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