Monday, January 6, 2014

Hash Brown Chicken

1 box (4.2 oz.) Hungry Jack Hash Browns
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cubed
1 cup Onion dip
2 cups shredded cheese
French fried onions (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare hash browns according to package.  Strain off water.  Mix hash browns, chicken, dip and cheese.  Pour into a 2 qt. baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese has melted.  Sprinkle with French fried onions.  Bake another 5 minutes. 

Martha:  This recipe started out with a recipe I found in the paper for a Baked Potato Casserole.  This recipe is what inspired me to make this dish.  The original recipe called for sliced potatoes.  I had bought a box of Hungry Jack Hash browns, which I've never used before.  They were perfect and simple to work with. You simply add hot water to the marker on the carton, let them sit for 15 minutes, drain and use.  The original had also called for 1/2 cup of sour cream and evaporated milk.  I changed it to the onion dip.  Another change was from bacon to chicken.  Plus I added the French fried onions, which I love.  This dish is super delicious! 

Lillian: I've never used the boxed potatoes but have used frozen hashbrowns (who hasn't used them?) I'll substitute the frozen ones in this and see what happens. I think that this is such an easy dish, and delicious also, that it will be a favorite in many households. Leave it to you, Martha, to find another way to get cheese and french fried onions into a recipe and have a delicious dish in the end.

Tips:  For years I've relied on a knife or fork to determine if my chicken is done.  I watch for the juices to run clear and usually give it just a few more minutes just to be sure.  I wouldn't do this just once or twice but several times.   Well, in doing this I allowed an awful lot of the juice to cook out from the holes I poked.  I also noticed that it seemed to cause brown spots to appear, especially on the breast pieces.  What did I do?  I broke down and bought a meat thermometer and this is what I learned.  The only way to tell if chicken is cooked properly is to use a meat thermometer--seeing if the juices run clear is not a reliable indicator of doneness. To test the internal temperature of a whole chicken, insert the thermometer into the thigh, taking care not to touch the bone. Chicken should reach 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).