Place frozen hash browns in microwave safe bowl. Toss with melted butter, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on high 7-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Set aside to cool.
In a large skillet, brown ground beef with chopped onion and minced garlic until beef is cooked through. Drain excess fat as needed. Stir flour into beef; whisk in beef broth and worcestershire sauce. Stirring, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Stir in thawed frozen vegetables and bring back to a boil. If needed, thin stew with additional water to desired consistency. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle half the shredded cheese over stew mixture; gently toss potatoes with remaining cheese. Sprinkle with optional bacon crumbles. Place potatoes on top of stew; don’t pack down. Broil in oven until potatoes are golden (3-4 minutes). Garnish with snipped chives, Serves 6
Recipe may be made ahead and baked later. Prepare as directed above until beef stew is complete. Place stew in oven proof baking dish. Finish recipe as directed above, without baking. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. When ready to bake: preheat oven to 400 degrees, bake 35-50 minutes or until hot and bubbly throughout. If dish is broil proof, broil the last few minutes to brown potatoes.
Becky Low represents The Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada. For delicious dairy recipes and nutrition information go to
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For nutrition research go to www.nationaldairycouncil.org