Yield: 8 to 12 servings.
32 ounces frozen diced or shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
12 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)
1 (10-ounce) can or 1 (12-ounce) box cream of chicken or celery soup
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon flavored (such as Lawry’s or Old Bay) or regular salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon ground pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Texas Pete, or to taste (optional)
2½ cups cornflakes
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400º. Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or mist with nonstick cooking spray.
Stir together potatoes, Cheddar, soup, sour cream, salt, garlic, pepper, and hot sauce (if using) in a large bowl. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Note: At this point, you can proceed with the recipe or cover and refrigerate overnight, which is what I do on Christmas Eve.
Bake (uncovered) until golden brown on top and bubbling around the edges, about 40 minutes.
Toss together cornflakes, Parmesan, and melted butter in a medium-size bowl. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the casserole. Continue baking until cheese melts and topping is golden brown and crunchy, about 15 minutes.
Let stand 15 minutes before serving.