from my friend Ray's kitchen to yours:
8 oz (1 cup) sour cream (not low fat)
1 can (10.75 ounces) Campbell’s "Cream of Chicken" condensed soup
3 ounces large-curd cottage cheese (not low fat)
4 ounces shredded cheese (Sargento Bistro Blend Italian and Cheddar blends recommended)
1 Tbsp. dried onion flakes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
generous grindings of black pepper from a pepper mill to taste
1 package (20 ounces) Simply Potatoes (plain) Shredded Potatoes (Do not substitute Southwestern-style Shredded Potatoes: this makes for a mushy, unappealing texture because of the added salsa)
4 pinches coarse kosher salt
1 ounce shredded cheese (for optional topping)
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray a 2-quart glass casserole dish (or a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan) with a non-stick vegetable spray, such as "Pam."
Mix sour cream, cream of chicken soup, cottage cheese, and shredded cheese together in a large mixing bowl. The consistency will be thick and somewhat lumpy. (Avoid any temptation for smoothness that might be achieved by the additions of milk or cream – this will ruin the casserole with pools of dairy fat in the finished product. Avoid deluxe cheese substitutions, especially extra sharp cheddars and fontinas for the same reason.)
Mix in the onion flakes and garlic powder. Add several generous grinds of black pepper.
Open the package of potatoes and empty it as a pile on top of the mixture of creamed and cheesy ingredients in the bowl. Sprinkle the kosher salt onto the pile of shredded potatoes before folding them into the other ingredients. (Although ingredients such as the Cream of Chicken soup have plenty of salt, it does not penetrate raw potatoes in the same way that a sprinkling of salt will do in an instant. If you omit this step, expect the dish to be fine but taste a bit under-salted.) Blend the potatoes well.
Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. (The dish may be prepared several hours in advance at this point; keep refrigerated.)
Bake covered at 350° for 75 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with extra cheese if desired, and continue baking for 20 minutes.
*To double the recipe for 6 people. Use the same size casserole, namely a 2-quart dish. Use 2 cans of Cream of Chicken soup, 2 packages of Simply Potatoes. Increase the remaining ingredients one and one-half times (do not double the other ingredients). Bake covered for 90 minutes. Uncover and bake 30 minutes longer.