I have been making variations of this recipe for the last 25 years. I could tell from reading the ingredients in this one that it would be too dry (as many reviews mentioned). The casserole should be moist when put in the oven.
If this amount of potatoes are used, there should be two cans of cream of chicken or mushroom soup - or, include milk in the recipe (approximately the same amount as the second can of soup).
I have never used regular onions in this recipe, but if they are used, certainly they need to be sauteed first so they cook thoroughly. I have always used green onions, both the whites and green stems, chopped very finely (4-5 green onions). They don't need to be sauteed if the whites are chopped finely and they provide a great savory flavor to the dish.
I also always use fresh garlic - perhaps 2 medium to large cloves chopped very fine. I used fresh ground pepper too.
These changes give it more flavor rather than just loading up on the fat content and having it be a very rich dish. It will never be a healthy dish, but adding more sour cream and butter is not the answer to getting more flavor.
I frequently cut the sour cream back and replace it with low-fat, small-curd creamy cottage cheese or ricotta cheese. You won't know it's in there.
Lots of crushed cornflakes are critical for the top (about 2 cups or even more, plus some butter drizzled over the top). Bake with the top off all the way through - they will be crispy and they make the dish. Don't replace!
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I have been making variations of this recipe for the last 25 years. I could tell from reading...