December 12, 2009

Jen's Sausage Breakfast Casserole

We had a Christmas party/brunch potluck for my MOMS Club today, and I signed up to bring a casserole. When I looked through what I had on hand, I realized that I didn't have the usual ingredients for my "go-to" egg casserole dish. So, I had to do some quick thinking and improvise something to bring. I threw together this dish, and it turned out very yummy. Luckily, everyone else seemed to like it, too; the whole thing disappeared pretty darn quickly!

Jen's Sausage Breakfast Casserole

cooking spray
1-2 Tablespoons of canola oil
1 lb. of bulk breakfast sausage, without casings
1 onion, diced
1 small can of sliced mushrooms, drained (or 1 package of fresh sliced mushrooms)
2-3 handfuls of frozen shredded hash browns (approx. 1/2 of a large bag or 1 small bag)
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
12 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
2/3 cup of skim milk
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread 2 OR 3 handfuls of frozen hash browns evenly in the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, over hash browns and set aside.

In a separate large bowl crack 12 eggs and combine with baking powder, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Beat eggs with an electric mixer until eggs are frothy (I used a handheld mixer with a whisk attachment). Fold in shredded cheese and stir to combine. Set aside.

If using canned sliced mushrooms, drain out the excess can liquid and discard it. Then, dry the mushrooms on some paper towels to get as much of the remaining moisture out as possible. (If using fresh mushrooms, skip this step.)

Heat canola oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Saute onions and mushrooms with a generous pinch of salt. When onions and mushrooms start to brown slightly, add sausage. Make sure to break up all large sausage chunks with a large wooden spoon and incorporate them in with the mushrooms and onions. When sausage is cooked and no longer pink, the mixture is done.

Scoop the contents of the skillet into the casserole dish, spreading evenly over the hash browns with the back of the wooden spoon. Pour egg mixture over the sausage layer and spread evenly. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until eggs are set and the top of the casserole is starting to turn golden brown.

Jen's Notes:
Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of my finished dish.

For an extra kick, spicy sausage would be a good substitution for the regular sausage. Also, I think a diced green pepper (sauteed with the onions and mushrooms) would have been really tasty, too. I might try that next time.

Ohhh...I just thought of another version to try! Use chorizo sausage and green chiles mixed in with the onions and mushrooms for a Mexican inspired dish. Instead of cheddar cheese, substitute Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack. There are tons of ways to tweak this recipe to suit your individual preferences.

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