A Pleasant Surprise – Farmer’s Casserole

It was one of those lazy mornings on Saturday. Matt and I slept in, finally getting going and ready to eat breakfast at about 11. We both felt like eating a big breakfast. Probably because it was actually lunch time. We were running low on staple breakfast supplies and neither of us we’re going to get dressed to run to the store. We wanted more than scrambled eggs and toast.

On a whim I picked up my Betty Crocker cookbook and thumbed around the never-before-inspected “Eggs & Cheese” section. Recipe after recipe let me down, as I listed off ingredients I didn’t have. But, hoping to be inspired, I kept at it.

I saw one titled “Farmer’s Casserole”. The word “farmer” is almost synonymous with “meat” in the recipe world, and being a vegetarian I thought it would be another fail. But the first ingredient set a light bulb off. “Frozen shredded hash brown”. Frozen? Gasp! I had frozen diced potato in my freezer from last summer! I had forgotten! Oh…1 cup of ham, shoot. Wait…I’ve got a bunch of vegetarian sausage patties in my freezer! Also from last summer! My mother-in-law, the substitution queen, would be so proud of me.

After a few more substitutions, (chopped yellow onion instead of green onion, and half chipotle cheddar half medium cheddar in instead if Monterey jack) I threw together what I thought would probably be a semi-disaster. Edible, but never to be made again.

How wrong I was. Turns out it’s one of the most delicious, eggy, cheesy things I’ve ever eaten. I will be making this ag

Farmer's Cassarole 5 Farmer's Cassarole Farmer's Cassarole 1 Farmer's Cassarole 3 Farmer's Cassarole 4 Farmer's Cassarole 2There were a few things I would change. After laying the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, I would sprinkle pepper all over them. If available, I would also use chipotle cheddar (or spiced cheese of some kind) entirely. It needed some pizzazz. I ended up adding hot sauce and pepper to every fork full.

The vegetarian patties worked wonders! I thawed them, chopped them and tossed em’ in. Next time I might add some diced bell peppers and half grape tomatoes. Yum. This MUST be your next Saturday morning meal. De. Lish.

Farmer’s Casserole – Betty Crocker

Nonstick cooking spray

3 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes

3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers or shredded cheddar cheese (3 ounces)

1 cup diced cooked ham, cooked breakfast sausage or Canadian-style bacon (or veggie sausage or veggies)

1/4 cup sliced green onions (2)

4 beaten eggs

1 1/2 cups milk or one 12-ounce can evaporated milk or evaporated fat-free milk (I used almond milk)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper (more if you’d like to add it to potatoes)

1.Coat a 2-quart square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange potatoes evenly in the bottom of the dish (insert – pepper). Sprinkle with cheese, ham, and green onions.

2.In a bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour egg mixture over potato mixture in dish.

3.Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven for 40 to 45 minutes (took mine more like 60 min) or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Enjoy.

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