Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cheesy Potato Casserole (aka “Funeral Potatoes”)

I’ll never know why this dish got such a depressing name! Actually, I had never heard them called “Funeral Potatoes” until I moved to Utah. The recipe card in my ancient recipe file has the name of this delicious potato side dish listed as “Those Potatoes”, which quite frankly isn’t MUCH better! I suppose someone back in my family history was always asking for “those” potatoes because they couldn’t remember the name, or something like that, and the name sorta stuck. Pitiful really. lol.

So I am starting a campaign to get the name of this much-loved but badly-named potato recipe changed! Honestly, this is just TOO good a dish to have such a pathetic name!

I’ve come up with a few possibilities, but I’m going to need your help! Please take the short quiz at the end of this post and tell me which name you like the best! Once we have declared a winner then I will take out a full page ad in the New York Times (or the Thrifty Nickle) telling the world!

If you hate all of them, just leave a comment with your “better” one. ;-) We will prevail in righting this injustice to potatoes everywhere!

OK…back to food.

The reason I simply HAD to post this recipe today is because I have made it FOUR TIMES in the last 24 hours! I guess TECHNICALLY I’ve only made it TWICE…but each time a made a DOUBLE BATCH. So I stand by my original statement.
You see, these (those?) potatoes are pretty much a given at our extended family Easter dinner. Ham and “Those Potatoes” with a green salad and homemade rolls. That is the standard menu on Easter Sunday…and while it might not be terribly original, there is a certain comfort factor involved with sharing the same menu each Easter. At least we are pretty much guaranteed no surprises! Like Aunt Gertrude’s Olive and Pimento Loaf! haha…I totally made that up. We don’t even have an Aunt Gertrude. :-)

Anyway, back to the FOUR potato casseroles in TWENTY FOUR hours story. I made 2 large pans of “those” potatoes to take to my Mom’s house on Sunday. Not a big deal. I can practically make them with my eyes closed at this point in my life. The only snafu I ran across in the process was that the shredded potatoes I like to buy for this dish were completely sold out at the grocery store. I like the Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns that you can usually find in the grocery store next to the eggs and butter.

Since they are “fresh” and not frozen, they are my first choice when making this, but since they were completely sold out I went to Plan B, which involved a detour to the frozen food section of the store to buy frozen hashbrowns. Now HERE is where is gets SCARY!!! THOSE WERE SOLD OUT TOO! Apparently we aren’t the only ones who like “those” potatoes for Easter Dinner! I was close to panicking at the thought of having to boil and shred “real” potatoes because I simply hadn’t allowed enough time for that! (If I had “all the time in the world”, that would be my first choice…and one I have done more often than not). I had to formulate a plan….FAST! I considered my options: A) I could go on a reconnaissance mission throughout the store and see if I could eye a few bags of the precious spuds in someone else’s basket and cause some sort of distraction allowing myself time to relieve them of their stash. hmmm…maybe not. B) I could buy some Crinkle Cut Fries or Tater Tots and use them instead and hope nobody notices. Doubtful. C) I could pray for a miracle. This appeared to be my best bet at this point. But before I had a chance to get down on my knees in the frozen food aisle….my unuttered prayer was answered! I just happened to look at the bottom shelf of the frozen food case I was standing by and there, completely in the wrong place, were two beautiful bags of Ore Ida Hashbrowns! Some rude/wonderful person had apparently decided putting the hashbrowns with the brussel sprouts was a perfectly OK thing to do. Savages!

So, potatoes in hand (and on the lookout for possible potato thieves), I checked out with my ingredients and headed home and started cookin. Like I said, I can pretty much make these in my sleep, so the assembly and subsequent baking in the oven went smooth as silk. As did the transport in the back of my car on the way to Mom’s/Grandma’s house. Unfortunately there was a last minute monkey wrench thrown into the thus far flawlessly executed potato casserole operation. While the hubster and I each carried a pan of potatoes through the front door….ONE of the pans somehow flipped over and onto the floor. I’m not naming names here….but as I stood there STILL HOLDING MY PAN of POTATOES…SOMEONE ELSE proceeded to let loose with a stream of obscenities that would make a sailor blush! hahaha! Just kidding. SOMEONE actually showed a stunning amount of self control at this point…because I know SOMEONE really WANTED to curse! ;-)

After a few seconds (that felt like a few YEARS!) of awkward silence…there was suddenly a flurry of activity as people tried desperately to SAVE THOSE POTATOES! But alas, even the 10 second rule doesn’t really apply when the entire dish is dropped upside down onto an outdoor brick walkway. About the only thing to be done at that point was to get the garden hose out. Which SOMEONE did.

Looooooooooooooooooooong story short….the roughly 20 people in attendance all got a very “dainty” helping of those potatoes at this Easter dinner.

Fast forward to today. No. 2 son (who eats a gluten free diet) was bemoaning the fact he hardly got ANY of his favorite potatoes at Easter dinner. Poor baby. He suggested we have them for dinner today! I was about to tell him he’d be lucky to get a bowl of cereal for dinner after yesterday’s food drama….but then the soft, mushy, pushover side of me took over and I acquiesced. It’s awfully hard to say “No” to a kid whose diet is severely limited when he asks for a particular food dish. Especially when that kid is 16 (almost 17) and requires massive amounts of food to keep him going! So by making another DOUBLE BATCH of those potatoes…I was actually doing MYSELF a favor because I wouldn’t have to hear “There’s nothing to eat!” for at least a couple of days. ;-)

THAT, my friends, is how I ended up making this dish FOUR times in the last TWENTY FOUR hours. Which means…I don’t even have to look at my recipe card to type this out for you…and YOU now will have it to try for yourself. And trust me on this…if by some chance you haven’t ever had these (those) potatoes…you are in for a treat.

THOSE POTATOES (aka “Funeral Potatoes” but soon to be renamed something less depressing!)

1 Large Package of THAWED Ore-Ida Hash Brown Potatoes (or you can do it the old fashioned way and PEEL, BOIL, and SHRED them by hand…but why would you?)
1 can Cream of chicken soup -OR- substitute (1) 14 to 16 ounce can of chicken broth for gluten free -OR- 1/3 cup of Soup or Sauce Mix
1 16-ounce container of sour cream
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
1/3 cup finely chopped green onions
1 cup crushed Corn Flakes + 2 Tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan melt butter and add soup/broth/mix, sour cream, cheese and green onions. Stir over low-medium heat until everything is melted and combined into a creamy sauce.

Spread THAWED hash browns onto the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Pour the creamy cheesy mixture over the top and spread over all the potatoes with a spatula. Sprinkle the melted butter and corn flakes over the top.

Bake for 45 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the potatoes are hot and bubbly!

Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before serving (if you can hold back the hungry hoards!)

Now you know how GOOD it is…..let’s give it a name worthy of its’ AWESOMENESS! :-)

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120 thoughts on “Cheesy Potato Casserole (aka “Funeral Potatoes”)

  1. Diandra

    You know, there is a simple (and delicious!) cake, “streusel cake”, which in the town where I went to school was only named “funeral cake” – because it was a standard cake to be served at funerals. I kind of like the name. ^^

    (My father calls it “relatives defense line cake” because feeding them this cake is the only way of keeping them peaceful.)

    Reply
  2. Raegan Casto

    Ive always heard it and called it hash brown casserole or cheesy hash brown bake, but I’ve always seen it with crushed corn flakes baked on top. Either way is delicious and always asked for at gatherings!

    Reply
  3. Andria Lewis

    I had always grown up calling them Nauvoo Potatoes, and so did other families in my city and ward in California! Not until I moved to Utah did I hear them called funeral potatoes! I’m sure the pioneers in Nauvoo didn’t actually make these, but I like the LDS reference nonetheless! My non-member friends call them Mormon Potatoes. Which I alo think is strangely accurate!

    Reply
  4. Amber

    I grew up calling it Hashbrown Casserole. I didn’t hear it called Funeral Potatoes until we moved to Washington. We also often use the country-style potatoes instead of the shredded type. And being from NM, we often throw in some green chile too :) You just can’t go wrong with this dish!

    Reply
  5. Amy

    This is the exact same recipe I use to make Cheesy Potatoes. I make them for every potluck and family gathering, with the exception of Thankgiving when you have to have mashed potatoes. Oh, BTW I am not LDS I’m Baptist and my mom got them from the back of a Dell’s Potato package.

    Reply
      1. Amy

        Cheesy taters in my world also….minus the soup or chicken broth. Just sour cream, cheese, butter, a little dehydrated onion, and whatever crunchy topping we had around the house. My mom always used the diced potatoes instead of the hash browns. :)

        Reply
  6. Lorene

    Yup. I had this dish requested too for Easter. My sister calls it “that potatoe thing you make”. I don’t put the corn flakes on top either. Just more cheese!!!! Yum.

    Reply
  7. The Mom

    They are called funeral potatoes for several reasons. First, they are easy and cheap to make, and feed a lot of people, so they are served at a lot of funerals. And second, that is the only time we ever eat them! I forget to make them for my family. Same with Jello! LOL

    Reply
  8. Talia

    This is our exact recipe too! We call them cheesy potatoes and like you, serve them EVERY Easter and not one person complains — they are that good! :)

    Oh, and I’ve made them three times in the last two days. We really like them!

    Reply
  9. Tracy

    It’s hashbrown casserole in these parts, southwest Ohio and Kentucky. We do the cornflake topping too, although it isn’t necessary. It really doesn’t add anything to the dish, but I love the butter drenched cornflakes so much that I put them on top just so I can lick the bowl afterward!

    Reply
  10. Lori

    I always called this Hashbrown Casserole. But you make too much work for yourself. Instead of cooking a cheese sauce, just mix EVERYTHING together in a bowl, (I use shredded cheddar cheese) spread in your casserole dish, top with the corn flakes and bake at 350 about an hour or until brown and bubbly. Delicious!

    Reply
    1. Karen B

      I agree with you Lori. Much easier to just mix it all together in a bowl and then put it in the pan. I use Crushed Potato Chips on mine though. Dehydrated onions are also faster or if you don’t have the real thing on hand. I use the frozen diced Hash Browns also and don’t bother to defrost them most of the time. Sometimes they are partially thawed, but it doesn’t matter, just may add a few minutes to the baking time. We call them either Hash Brown Casserole or Cheesie Potatoes at my house. Doesn’t matter, most of the time we just call them ALL GONE!!!

      Reply
  11. Elaine

    In Ohio Amish Country they are called Potluck Potatoes or Cheesy Potatoes – but I get the funeral potatoes name too because they are often served at funerals with ham chunks added.

    Reply
    1. samus

      I always knew them as company potatoes or cheesy potatoes. the difference being if there was corn flakes on top. company potatoes had no corn flakes on top cheesy potatoes did. at least that’s how it was for me growing up

      Reply
  12. Karie

    I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and now live in Columbus, OH…I have always heard them referred to as Mormon Funeral Potatoes….I have to laugh – we were invited to my sister-in-laws house for Easter dinner and when I asked what to bring she asked for “those” potatoes….She then asked if I had the recipe to which I replied no but I do have connections! Needless to say I acquired the recipe, made them, and we ate them…All of them!

    I like the idea of celebration potatoes!

    Reply
  13. Robbie H

    We called them Scout Potatos. They were the main stay at every scout dinner, awards banquet etc. I’ve eaten them at many a funeral. Always good, always filling and a great comfort food.

    Reply
  14. Carole

    I have asked many, many people what they would like served at their family funeral luncheon, and everyone of them wanted these potatoes on the menu. Everyone LOVES them, including me. After living many, many years in CA, I still love the name “THOSE Potatoes” because it sound like something VERY special, which it is. That is still my vote.

    Reply
  15. Kristin Wells

    Even if Bomdiggity doesn’t win – you should totally use it. It’s current, fun and so out of the realm of “Funeral Potatoes!!” Love the recipe! I’m definitely going to file it under Bomdiggity ‘tater Casserole! :)

    Reply
  16. Becky

    We just call it potato casserole. My SIL makes it EVERY year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Occasionally other get togethers. My daughter LOVES them. I am beginning to think I am the only person on earth that doesn’t like them. I might like them ok if the sour cream was left out.

    Reply
  17. Tara

    We call this Hash Brown Casserole – one of my husband’s FAVORITES! So, I voted for Heavenly Hash Brown Casserole. I’m lazy and leave the corn flakes off the top. I also don’t thaw the hash browns first. It’s delish anyway you do it!

    Reply
  18. Deserae

    I make this casserole all of the time! I do not use corn flakes and put a layer of cheese instead. I call it hashbrown casserole. You can mix it up with taco flavor and ground beef. Or add cubed ham or chicken. Anything goes in these potatoes. My friend makes it with tattertots and it turns out the same.

    I am thinking bombdigity potatoe casserole is a pretty good name.

    Reply
  19. Sandra Diaz

    We make these for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Used to make them with square hashbrown potatoes, but recently made the switch to shredded when the store was out of the square kind. I admit, though, that we do not add the corn flakey crunch, and sub chopped onion for the green onion, but the rest is the same, and I, too can make the in my sleep. We call them Cheesy Potatoes….simple, really, but a little better than “those” Potatoes and quite a bit better than “Funeral” Potatoes!

    Reply
  20. Sandra Diaz

    Wait a minute…you make a cheese sauce??? Oh, I cook the potatoes with a little butter in the microwave for 10 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients and finish it in the microwave for 15 minutes. You “could” pop it in the oven to “toast” the cheesy top if you wanted, but so good and even easier in the microwave!

    Reply
  21. Linda

    I never met a potato I didn’t like, so I do not care what they are called.
    I guessed they got the funeral name because it sounds like something that church ladies would make for the after funeral meal. It sounds like a recipe that would have come about in the 60′s when cassaroles were so popular. Cannot wait to try it, since I was queen of the cassarole in the 60′s (husband crowned me) I am surprised I have not made it.

    Reply
    1. the red curl

      i think we must be related. potatoes are my sad, sad staple. there are very few meals we eat/i cook that do not have a potato variant.

      i’m currently trying to perfect the world’s first potato lasagne.

      Reply
  22. Sade

    Jill,
    I love you! Your potato casserole story is hysterical! Reading your blog is the highlight of my (every) day! Thank-you for being so funny, happy, wise, warm and down to earth-not to mention talented and smart :).

    I chose ‘heavenly’ since that word reminded me of Easter.

    luv ya, Sade

    Reply
  23. Kathy

    My mom always called these potatoes “Potatoes Yum Yum”-yeah, real creative! Well, my brother was not a fan of “Potatoes Yum Yum”, so he renamed them “Potatoes Yuck Yuck”. So they now are jokingly referred to by his rename. By the way, everyone loved(es) them, just not my brother!

    Reply
  24. Kia

    I love, love, love these potatoes! We make them for every family gathering. They have always been called Hashbrown casserole around my house, so I voted for the Heavenly Hashbrown Casserole!! Sometimes we add a package of ranch dip mix to the sour cream! YUM!

    Reply
  25. Joani

    Ok, I must have been raised by wolves or something, because I have NEVER, NEVER ever had these potatoes at a meal with my family or friends.. Am I the only one out there that has never been fed this cheesy pan of goodness? I plan on rounding up the ingredients and making them this week. Thanks for posting the recipe.

    Reply
  26. Nell Jean

    I felt compelled to comment: I voted for Potatoes for a Crowd only because in my little world, if I’m looking for something alphabetically I want the first word to be the main ingredient. Do you think I’m going to remember Celebration Potatoes, which was really my choice. Potatoes Celebration is kind of cumbersome.

    Reply
  27. cicibug

    I usually like to spice mine up a bit with some canned diced chiles or (if I am feeling particularly sassy) some canned diced jalapenoes. These a far far less despressing…

    Reply
  28. Nicole B

    OMG, that is my husband’s grandma’s dish – Grandma Gertie’s Cheesy Potatoes. We do without the green onions though, possibly exchanged for regular white or yellow onions. I dunno, I can’t tell, but my husband can taste an onion a mile away and swears there are onions in it. And being that Grandma Gertie was a good Wisconsin farmwife, she always put in extra butter, extra sour cream and extra cheese.

    Reply
  29. Nanci

    The first time I had these a friend made them for Thanksgiving dinner. She called them “Patty’s Fatties” because the person in her family that always made them was named Patty and the casserole is full of fat. I now call them “Cheesy Potatoes” because no one knew what I was talking about when I referred to Patty’s Fatties! I also make them less fattening by using either non-fat or low-fat ingredients when possible.

    Reply
  30. Miss K

    We call our variation on these “Uncle Buc’s” because the recipe was handed down from, you guessed it, Uncle Buc. (Not a relation to our family…so that shows how the recipe gets passed around!)

    We like to add garlic powder and the powdery, ‘parmesan’ cheese ‘dust’ into the cornflake topping. Takes it to another level. DELICIOUS.

    Reply
  31. Patty Sines

    I never had these until my DIL made them for me…some 11 years ago…and I am in my early 60′s. They are Cheesy Potatoes here in NE Indiana Amish country, and they do not have onions. We dump everything into a huge bowl, including FROZEN potatoes if you are in a hurry and forgot to thaw, mix and then dump into the proverbial 13 x 9 casserole and bake at 350 for about an hour. Not the topping, of course!! And NEVER have I heard anyone call them FUNERAL potatoes…although I also understand the reasoning.

    No matter what they are called, they are TO DIE FOR…sorry, couldn’t resist!

    Reply
    1. Lori

      I posted earlier that I mix everything in a bowl and put it in a casserole dish. I didn’t say it, but I fix them like Patty, by using the hashbrowns frozen and I also use any kind of onion, not just green onions. No matter how you fix them, they are fantastic!

      Reply
  32. the red curl

    funeral potatoes. also known as reception potatoes. recipe handed down through 4 generations, except the frozen part! a good southern woman NEVER cheats with store frozen or store canned food!

    thank the good Lord my gran doesn’t know i’m a big fan of saving time the costco way.

    Reply
  33. Jillee Post author

    OK…I just read each and every comment and have been THOROUGHLY entertained! lol. Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences/names with this dish! I can’t BELIEVE how many different names there are for it! Completely enjoyed each and every tidbit. :-) Thanks for making my night everyone!

    Reply
  34. Denise

    I learned to make these about 30 years ago form scratch and without the corn flakes. The woman who gave em the recipe called the Gourmet Potatoes. How’s that for fancy schmancy?

    Reply

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