This scrumptious potato casserole is a compromise between an old family recipe that took hours to prepare and a shortcut recipe that came along 20 years ago. Hoping to keep Grandma from rolling over in her grave, I combined the special touches of the old recipe with the ease of the new one and came up with a dish that still gets raves without making me slave!
Defrost the hash browns. In a large bowl, combine the hash browns, with one stick of melted butter and the salt and pepper.
2In another bowl, blend the soup, sour cream, onion, and 2/3 of the cheese (saving enough to sprinkle on top later). Add the ham, if you are using any.
3Gently blend the sauce into the potatoes and spoon into a buttered 2½-3 qt. casserole dish. (A deep casserole dish makes the casserole moister, but for a potluck, a 10X13 cake dish works best because it will go farther!)
4Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Mix corn flakes with ¼ cup melted butter. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of potatoes and cover with corn-flake mixture. Bake another 10-15 minutes until topping is crisp. (I boost the oven temp to 400 degrees the last five minutes!)
This dish can be made ahead of time, and it also freezes well.