I went home with a friend one year during college, and her mother served potatoes that rocked my world. They were cheesy and creamy and crunchy all at the same time.
Now, they're not healthy, I'll warn you. In fact, they're decadent. But that's why they're the perfect side dish for the holidays -- 'tis the season to splurge.
I love these potatoes so much, my mother calls them "Julie's potatoes." Most people call them "Company Potatoes" or "Hash Brown Casserole."
It doesn't really matter what you call them, just so you get to eat them.
I've tried a lot of recipes over the years and combined what I like and don't like, so here's my version:
2 pounds frozen, shredded hash browns (the cubes don't work as well)
1 stick butter, melted
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 (16-ounce) container of sour cream
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
Grated onion -- about 1/4 cup, but you can adjust to personal taste
Salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together well and put into a 9 x 13 baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Then take about 2 cups of crushed corn flakes and mix with 6 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle on top.
Bake the whole thing in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for about an hour.
Note: You can try to health them up a bit by using a little less butter, cheese made with 2 percent milk, and low-fat sour cream and soup. Fat-free dairy products, however, don't work well for this dish.
Image via lovelypetal/Flickr