Breakfast / Cheese / Comfort Food / Guilty Pleasures / See Hatsie Cook / Sides / Vegetarian

Cook: Aunt Joan’s Hash Brown Casserole


Every year, K and I opt to spend Valentine’s day at home.  K usually plans something for us to do out on a day that isn’t Valentine’s day, in order to avoid the crush of pink and red drenched love, and on actual Valentine’s day, I cook.  It’s exactly what both of us want to do, and its turned into a sort of tradition.

This year, because I’m in Spain on Valentine’s day, and also because I value tradition even if it has to happen on an arbitrary day, we pushed everything up a week or so.  K took me to the city and we spent the afternoon at the Met (bucket list 2015: check!).  We walked all over that museum and didn’t come close to seeing half of it.  I did get to see some of my favorites, and left feeling inspired and refreshed, if a little sore from all the walking.

For my part, I switched things up a little.  Instead of my usual steak dinner, I decided to make K a Valentine’s themed breakfast, complete with heart-shaped pancakes because I’m ridiculous.

hashbrown-casserole-3I made some bacon to go with the pancakes, and then whipped up my Aunt Joan’s hash brown casserole, a dish made so famous in my family that we request it for non-breakfast meals.  It’s delicious, and K hadn’t tried it yet.  Happy Valentine’s day indeed.


The casserole is simple and uses things like canned soup, but please, don’t change a thing.  It’s perfect, it’s easy, and boy is it rich.  This could be eaten any old day, but probably should be relegated to a special occasion.  It’s got a lot of cheese.

Valentine’s day should be whatever you want it to be, and in our case, we like to celebrate simply.  If you are also so inclined, give the Valentine’s breakfast a shot.

Here’s the recipe.

Aunt Joan’s Hash Brown Casserole


  • 1 bag of frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1 can cream of celery condensed soup
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a casserole dish with foil or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a skillet, melt the butter.  Add the onion and saute until translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.  Add mixture to a large bowl.  Add hashbrowns, sour cream, cream of celery soup, and grated cheese.  Mix well to combine.  Add a few dashes of hot sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer mixture to the prepared casserole dish.  Smooth out the top and dust it with paprika for color.  Bake for 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly.  Serve with whatever breakfast dish (or any dish) you’d like!


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