Bobby’s Lighter Creamy Hash Brown Casserole

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By Bobby Deen

580 Fewer Calories
46g Less Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups fat-free milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 (20-ounce) package refrigerated shredded hash browns (we used Simply Potatoes™)
2/3 cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
6 multi-grain club crackers, coarsely crushed
2 teaspoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 7 x 11-inch casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 6 – 8 minutes.  Add the zucchini, and garlic and cook, stirring until the zucchini is softened, 3 – 4 minutes. Add the flour, stirring to combine. Add the milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes until well mixed. Spoon the mixture into the casserole dish. Combine the cheese, crackers, and butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle over top. Bake, uncovered, until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 40 minutes.

Servings:  8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time:  1 hour
Difficulty: Easy
Per Serving: (Generous 1/2 cup) 141 Cal; 6 g Protein; 3 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 1 g Mono Fat; 10 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; 1 g Sugar; 131 mg Calcium; 0 mg Iron; 338 mg Sodium; 6 mg Cholesterol

Test Kitchen Tip: A julienne peeler is perfect for cutting zucchini into thin strips. The sharp serrated blade easily creates thin strips, making it perfect for carrots and cucumbers too. You can find this handy little gadget in the housewares section of most stores.

Original recipe courtesy Paula Deen:  Creamy Hash Brown Casserole
Lightened Up recipe courtesy of Bobby Deen and the Paula Deen Test Kitchen

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Reader Comments:


Paula I am so happy to see that Bobby found a "lighter" way for all your fantastic recipes! Keep up the good work, can't wait to see more!! Thanks!

By Helena on January 27, 2011


I love these lighter recipes and all the info accompanying them. Thank you so very much!

By cprapt on January 25, 2011


Bobby, I love these lighter, delicious make-over recipes!!! I truly appreciate the nutrition calculations included at the end of each recipe. Thank you, thank you.

By Pat Noakes on January 12, 2011

Thanks for lightening up these recipes…. really appreciate food to be tasty and healthy!

By Karen F. on December 08, 2010

Would love to see Bobby do a lite cookbook,love Paula’s cooking but I have lost 30 pounds and do not cook like that anymore.

By susan gauba on October 19, 2010

Ahh! I can’t wait to try this! Thank you for making a light version!!

By Moo on October 07, 2010

I would also like to see a lighter side of Paula’s recipes in a cook book.  Come on Bobby hurry up and write a cook book.  We would all appreciate it.

By Anna Parham on September 24, 2010

To print - I hi-lighted just the recipe and then right clicked on the blue area. I thought I would get just the recipe but it printed the whole message, but I did get the recipe.

By Debi Stokes on September 23, 2010

If you’re having probelems printing the recipe. Just drag your mouse across the recipe itself to hightlight, right click to copy, then paste in word and print =). Works great!

By Lorrie Burns on September 23, 2010

I’ve tried three different times to print Bobby’s
“Lighter Creamy Hash Browns”.  It doesn’t print the recipe for this.  Four pages but not the recipe.  What is the problem!!!  Thank You….

By Lois Williams on September 22, 2010

I would love to print Bobby’s recipe—-no way I can….help

By carolyn lawless on September 21, 2010

I am really interested in fixing the hash brown cassrole, I am looking for lite receipes because I need to cut my calorie intake.
Thasnk yo for sharing this.

I thinks the tips you share a very interesting. A lot of things I would have never thought to do.

I also enjoyed our visit to the Lady and Sons a while back I wish I could have seen Paula or any of the family.  Maybe next time I hope to come to Uncle Bubba Bubba’s for my birthday in Novemeber.
Thank You

By Kathy Stewart on September 21, 2010

I was thrilled to see Paula’s recipes that are on the lighter side. If Bobby would put out a book with these wonderful recipes I would definitely buy it!

By Maria on September 21, 2010

I would have liked to see a picture of the finished casserole. I think the one shown is the original recipe since it has potato chips on it.

By JV on September 21, 2010

Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I love Paula’s dishes, but I am glad to see lighter versions as this casserole.
Have you thought of printing a cookbook with Paula’s recipes but in a “lighter” manner? I think it would be hit.
Thanks again.

By Chrissy Haskins on September 21, 2010

Thank you sooo much for the lighter recipes.  I like things to be healthy.

By L. Allen on September 21, 2010

Why can’t we print Bobby’s recipes just like we print Paula’s?

By vicki pierson on September 21, 2010

This sounds fantastic!  Way to go Bobby!

By Robin Houston on September 21, 2010

Paula Deen
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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm