Breakfast Casserole

I love casserole, and I love breakfast. However, I don’t function well in the mornings. This breakfast casserole can be prepped when you’re half asleep or it can be put together the night before and stuck in the oven. You can also alter it for vegetarians and the like.

Every Christmas morning, we have “Night Before” Breakfast casserole, which is what I based this casserole on. However, that casserole is built on a foundation of white sandwich bread. I’m trying to cut as much wheat out as I can without sacrificing occasional cake, so I subbed hash browns and was delighted with the final product.

Ingredients

1 lb hot pork sausage (vegetarian will work here as well)

tsp. olive oil

1 bag refrigerated hash browns (if you are not as lazy as I am, shred a couple of peeled russets)

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small can green chiles (larger can if you love em!)

4 eggs

1/2 c. egg whites (I keep a carton in the fridge to mix in with breakfast eggs — economical and healthy)

1/2 c. milk of choice (cream or evaporated milk if you’re feeling decadent)

a few shakes dried sage

a few shakes white pepper

salt and freshly ground pepper

red pepper flake to taste if you like it hot

1-2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (know your audience)

Procedure

Crumble and cook sausage until browned. Meanwhile, in a nonstick (or very well seasoned) pan, heat a little olive oil. Add the onion and hashbrowns and stir, then leave a few minutes to brown over medium heat. Turn to lightly brown on the other side. They don’t have to cook through since they’ll go in the oven. Mix in green chiles.

Preheat oven to 350.

Drain sausage on paper towels and set aside.

Whisk together eggs, whites, and milk with spices.

Spread hashbrown mixture evenly in 9×13 dish. Top with sausage and cheese. Pour egg mixture over all and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another five minutes or so, until the top isn’t wet and it looks delicious.

Serve with fruit, coffee cake, or something else sweet on the side. Reheats great. Perfect for tailgating, brunch, lunch, dinner… you name it. This is also a great recipe to tweak. Swap in black beans for sausage, salsa for chiles, jack for cheddar… the possibilities are only limited by your imagination! You can also halve or quarter this recipe, though I’ve seen two people eat the half size casserole in minutes. If you want leftovers, go big.

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