The only hash browns better than the original recipe are cheesy hash browns. You can stir in your favorite, melty-type cheese right before serving or bake the hash browns in a casserole with cheese mixed into the potatoes and more cheese sprinkled on the top to melt and ooze down into the potatoes. Although they are traditionally served as a breakfast side dish, they pair well with lunch and dinner entrees and can also be transformed into one-dish casseroles or skillet suppers.
Instead of macaroni and cheese with your favorite meatloaf, serve cheesy hash browns. They also complement broiled pork chops or dinner-size sauteed Italian, Polish, or Mexican sausage links. Serve grilled burgers or steaks with them instead of French fries or baked potatoes. Pork ribs glazed with tangy barbecue sauce play well with the flavors of the side dish.
Poultry and Seafood
Grilled, roasted, fried or broiled chicken partners well with cheesy hash browns, as do breaded chicken cutlets or nuggets. The subtle flavors of grilled fish, breaded fish fillets, and fish sandwiches brighten up when this potato dish is served on the side. The texture and delicate flavor of deep-fried shrimp highlight their creamy consistency.
Casseroles and Skillet Dishes
Add chunks of ham or thick, cooked bacon to cheesy hash brown casseroles for an easy one-dish meal. Mix some cooked ground beef into them and bake them into a cheeseburger casserole. For a vegetarian treat, saute onions, garlic, red and green bell peppers and a minced fresh jalapeno in a large non-stick skillet and then mix into the potato mixture. Cook until the flavors mingle and a crisp crust forms on the bottom of the pan.
Toppings and Embellishments
Cheesy hash browns can easily be embellished with other ingredients and served alone or as a side dish. To add pizzazz, stir in a few minced, pickled jalapenos, a teaspoon or so of hot pepper sauce or a few dashes of cayenne pepper. Use them as a hamburger topping for an all-in-one lunch dish. Add them to the egg, sausage or bacon in your breakfast burrito to round out the meal. Give the potatoes an Italian flair with a pinch of oregano and thyme and a splash of olive oil. Transform them into a Mexican side dish by adding some salsa to the potatoes. Make a quick dip for tortilla chips by combining the potato mixture with sour cream and freshly snipped chives.
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