30Ritz crackers(crushed (1 sleeve or 2 fresh stacks))
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
To a large mixing bowl, add hash browns, bell peppers, onion, and chicken. Toss to combine. Add in shredded cheese and toss to combine.
In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, condensed soup, ranch dressing mix, and pepper. Stir to combine.
Pour this mixture over the potato mixture and fold until everything is well incorporated.
Pour potato mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the crushed crackers with the melted butter. Toss to combine.
Spread the crackers over the top of the casserole and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown and bubbly around the edges.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator to up to 5 days.
Use salt sparingly. The ranch seasoning contains salt so I don't find it necessary to add extra salt.
Make sure to use thawed hash browns so everything bakes evenly. In a pinch, if using frozen hash browns, cover the casserole with aluminum foil for the first 45 minutes. Then uncover, top with the cracker topping and bake, uncovered for the remaining time.
To freeze, prepare the casserole and transfer to a freezer-safe dish (without the cracker topping). Wrap the casserole tightly and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bring the casserole to room temperature while preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes. Add the cracker topping and bake for another 15 minutes. NOTE: If the casserole is partially frozen, increase the baking time until heated through.
To reheat, plate individual portions and microwave until heated through. To reheat the whole casserole, cover with aluminum foil and heat in a 350-degree oven until warmed throughout.