Here in Utah we have a tradition of bringing a large casserole dish of cheesy potatoes to funerals. Thus the coined phrase "funeral potatoes." But you don't have to wait til someone dies to eat these! We also have them at church parties, for Christmas, for Thanksgiving, generally with our ham for Easter....pretty much whenever we feel like eating them. Everyone around here has their own recipe, and here is mine. I made them last night and they were a hit.
2 lbs frozen southern style hashbrowns (country fried potatoes)
1 1/2 c sour cream (you can use the light stuff if you want, I did)
1 lb shredded cheese (I used a mix of pepper jack and cheddar, but traditionally it's just cheddar), plus extra for the top
1 can cream of mushroom soup (one of the few recipes I use this for)
1/2 c milk
2 c finely diced ham
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chives, dried or fresh
1 c french fried onions (some people like to use corn flakes, but I like the flavor of this better)
In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cheese, cream of mushroom soup, and milk and spices. Mix well. Add potatoes and ham, and then combine til everything is coated and mixed well. Spray a 13x9 casserole pan or baking dish with cooking spray and then pour the whole thing into the dish, and spread evenly into the pan. Top with more cheese, the french fried onions, and then cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, removing the foil half way through (prevents burning the onions, but lets them stay crispy at the end).
Serve with ham, chicken, whatever you like, or just by itself. Generally I like to have a healthy serving of some green veggies to keep myself from eating piles of the potatoes--helps me keep my blood sugar in check!
**NOTE** I don't thaw the potatoes before I mix them with everything else. They defrost while cooking in the oven, and it turns out just fine. You can also use Potatoes O'Brien, which adds more flavor.