Monday, April 22, 2019

Hashbrown Casserole

Anytime we go to Cracker Barrel, when they ask me what sides I want, Hashbrown casserole is always one of the choices.  So good!!!

It may be because I'm obsessed with potatoes and could eat them every day, any way, without getting sick.  Or it could be that I just love casseroles, and this one is yummy and creamy and perfect for a breakfast get together, or a breakfast for dinner, or heck even as a side dish for  a weekday dinner. 

Whatever you decide, just make it, you won't regret it.

Hashbrown Casserole

30 oz frozen shredded hash brown potatoes thawed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion diced
3 large garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk (can use reduced fat if needed)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup sour cream
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tbsp minced parsley (can use dried parsley if needed)
fresh cracked black pepper
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese topping

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 casserole baking dish. Preheat medium pot over medium heat on stove-top.

Add oil, heat it through and add onions. Saute onions until they start to brown. Smash and mince garlic and add it to the onions. Stir and saute until fragrant.

Sprinkle flour over the onions and stir well. Stir for a few seconds and start slowly pouring in chicken stock, while stirring. Pour in milk after that while stirring as well.

Let the mixture heat through and start to thicken.

Stir in sour cream, cheese, salt, and pepper. Let the mixture cook and thicken as the cheese melts. Taste to make sure you have enough seasoning. Stir in parsley.

Mix hash browns and cheese sauce in a large bowl and spread the mixture in the prepared casserole dish. Make sure it's all spread evenly throughout.

Spread some more cheese on top and bake for 35-40 minutes, until casserole browned and bubbles around the edges.

Cuca de Banana - Banana Streusel Cake

When people ask me where I'm from, I often wonder how to explain, because I was born in Mozambique which was a Portuguese colony at the time, but it is an African country so I'm African but Portuguese, lived until I was 10 in Portugal, then moved to South Africa and lived there for 14 years.

We are of French descent, and my grandfather's parents were from Brazil.

Are you confused yet?  Hahah

Anyway, that means that when it comes to food I love all kinds but I have a special affinity for Portugese and Brazilian.

With that in mind, I thought I would come in and share a cake recipe that is very well known in Brazil, it is a banana cake with a yummy streusel topping.  There's absolutely nothing to it, it's quick to put together, using ingredients you no doubt already have in your pantry.

Cuca de Banana - Banana Streusel Cake

For the cake:
150 grams sugar (1 cup)
150 grams of cold butter (6 tablespoons)
2 medium eggs
150 grams of self rising flour (if you don't have it, you can use one cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a half teaspoon of salt)
4 ripe bananas, sliced

For the streusel topping:
6 tablespoons of sugar
4 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons of butter

In a stand mixer, beat the cold butter with the sugar for about 5 minutes, until soft and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, until well combined.

Start adding the flour, a little at a time, beating on low speed, once the flour is incorporated, turn the speed up to medium and beat well for 2 minutes.

Grease a springform pan with butter and flour, pour in the batter, and then lay the sliced bananas on top.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Do NOT open the oven door during the first 20 minutes.  After 30 minutes, check to see if cake is cooked all the way by inserting a toothpick near the center, if it comes out dry, it is done.

Remove from oven.

Make the streusel topping by mixing all the ingredients together, then crumble over the baked cake, return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes. 

You can also place the streusel on the cake before baking in the oven, but I prefer to do it this way because I find the topping gets nice and crunch and doesn't mix into the batter.

Let cool  and serve.