Simply Yaya: Barbecue Chicken Hashbrown Casserole

I thought I could, but I was tired…
Life is exhausting. I know I’ve told you I love to cook, that it brings me joy, but if I’m being honest, sometimes I am just too tired. And if I am brutally honest, sometimes I can’t tear myself away from whatever series I’m currently binge watching.
Then there is the excuse that groceries are just so high right now. And how convenient is just running through a drive thru on the way home? Add in a few screaming kids and homework and team practices, working, and well, once again, life, I don’t see how young families manage it. Yet, I see so many around me not only doing it, but also doing it well.

I attended a children’s birthday party this weekend; it was family, and we had kids running everywhere, playing on the playground, going down the slides backwards, blowing snake bubbles out of some water bottle contraption my aunt had come up with, the older kids helping the younger ones into the swings and pushing them – and laughter. There was a lot of that. The good food and chocolate cake was just a bonus. I am happy to add they were so busy playing they didn’t even take time to open presents. That is saying something!

I looked around and realized just how truly blessed I am with family. My baby cousins now have their own babies and we do our best to carry on the traditions we were shown as a child. Vowing that our children will know one another and have the closeness we all did when we were little. There is not a lot of that anymore; the family unit is sadly going away. There are no more Sunday dinners at grandparents. Hardly any get-togethers. It’s very sad.

Even when you’re tired, make an effort to make these times happen for your families. You won’t regret it and it can forge relationships between cousins and sisters and brothers and even us aunts and uncles and older folks. We love that glimpse into how it used to be and cherish that the effort is being made to carry it on.

And even when you are tired, try to skip that drive thru and go home and make a home cooked meal for your family. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it can be easy. All in one dish, too. Search out those recipes that make simple weeknight meals and fix them when time allows. One day those kids will think back and say, “Remember when Mom made this?” And they will smile.
This is a great all-in-one dish recipe that is a real kid pleaser also. Try it and see! No sides needed.

Barbecue Chicken Hash Brown Casserole
• 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
• 1 cup barbecue sauce
• 1 bag (30 ounces) Shredded Hash Browns Potatoes
• 2 cups cheddar cheese
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Place the chicken and 2/3 cup barbecue sauce in a ziploc bag. Make sure the chicken is coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Place the hash browns, 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a greased 13×9 pan. Mix all the ingredients until combined. Spread the hash browns out so that they are covering the bottom of the pan.
4. Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the hash browns. Spread the additional 1/3 cup of barbecue sauce on top of the chicken.
5. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside. Once done sprinkle the additional 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese on top of the chicken. Place back into the oven until the cheese is melted, about 3-5 minutes.

-Kim Rice-Holman

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