Hash Brown Casserole

You have most likely enjoyed this delicious brunch treat sometime, someplace. Maybe your grandmother always made it for Christmas morning or it was a side at the last shower you attended. If you have not had it or a version of it, you are missing out. Not usually a casserole girl, I tried out a variation of a bunch of hash brown recipes for breakfast with a large crowd. What I thought would just be a crowd pleaser ended up the star of the show and completely devoured in no time flat. The dish is rich, easy to prepare and has some pretty classic casserole ingredients. It will never make my "health food" tags, but I enjoyed every last bite. I served it with scrambled eggs and fruit salad. The only drawback of the breakfast was there were no leftovers. Might have to make a mini version this weekend.

Hash Brown Casserole
Forks & Amusement 2011
serves 12 (you can half the recipe and use a small dish)

2 lbs frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, unthawed
1 10.75 oz can cream of celery soup
3 cups (packed) grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 oz)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup finely chopped onion
a few shakes of hot sauce (optional)
1 cup slightly crushed corn flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer to a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Bake until top is slightly golden, about one hour ten minutes. Sprinkle with corn flakes. Bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes.



Roasted Vegetable Caprese Salad

Everyone loves a caprese salad and summertime is the perfect time to enjoy it. Fresh tomatoes, basil and creamy mozzarella is a combination that never gets old. I wanted to try a bit of twist on this classic dish by using the grill and some different vegetables. By switching up the flavors a bit, you can give your guests something unexpected and just as delicious as the classic. This is a great start to an al fresco dinner with friends and I promise it will all be eaten right up.

Roasted Vegetable Caprese Salad
Forks & Amusement 2011
serves 4

3 red bell peppers, cut in thick slices, about 2 1/2 inch wide
4 whole yellow squashes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella (about 2 large balls), sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium heat.

Place the cut vegetables in a dish and toss to coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill vegetables on both sides until tender and beginning to char. About 10 minutes. Note: Depending on thickness, some vegetables might be done before others. Remove when done.

Allow vegetables to cool in the fridge slightly. Arrange vegetables on large platter, tuck in mozzarella to the vegetables and sprinkle with the basil. Drizzle olive oil, vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.

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