Pakistani food is as far removed from casseroles as possible and until I moved to the United States of America the only casserole I had ever made was probably lasagne. As time passed, I added Shepherds Pie (A great way to use leftover mashed potatoes), Moussaka and eventually my ultimate favorite that's featured here on my website the Southern Style Sweet Potato Casserole.
Some years ago I was tasked with making a breakfast casserole for a Christmas Brunch at one of my kids schools. Completely clueless as to what a breakfast casserole entails I asked a friend of mine, Heather, if she could help me with a recipe. She gave me her go to recipe for Ham and Cheese Brunch Squares.Â I switched up the ham for Turkey sausage as I don't eat any pork products and over the years I've made a few more changes to the original recipe but no matter what I add or minus it turns out amazing every single time and is always popular with people!
The hash browns and cheese make a crispy crust which is the perfect base for the soft and fluffy egg and cheese mixture that goes on top. Add some sautÃ©ed Turkey Sausage for a smoky taste and some vegetables for added fibre and texture and you have a healthy, nutritious meal that's super easy to make. I love eating this for breakfast, lunch and even dinner at times. it's perfect for a large group and reheats even better the next day for leftovers.
A basic rule for a good casserole is to have five main ingredients; a protein, a starch, a vegetable, some form of liquid and cheese. A dish that first gained popularity during the Depression due to its frugality, by the 1950's the introduction of lightweight ovenproof cookware and Campbells Soup created a cooking revolution. Today casseroles are such an integral part of our lives we can't imagine our life without them.
This recipe is so easy I'm sure you'll make it as often as I do and will add your own personal touch to it as you go along!
INGREDIENTS: (Serves 8-12 People)
2 Cups Mild Cheddar Cheese
1 8 Oz Package of Cream Cheese
10 Frozen Hash Brown Patties
8 Turkey Sausage Patties
½ Red Bell Pepper
½ Orange Bell Pepper
½ Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Cup Mushrooms
4-6 Green Onions
½ Teaspoon Black pepper
1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Chilies
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Take your casserole dish and lightly grease it.
3. Break the hash brown patties into pieces and spread in the dish.
4. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheddar cheese on top of the potatoes and mix well.
5. Press the potato cheese mixture firmly into the bottom of the dish and into the sides so it lines the dish.
6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes till a crispy crust forms.
while the potato crust is baking prepare the following:
1. Finely dice the sausage patties and sautÃ© in a non stick pan using a nonstick spray if needed till they're nicely browned and set aside for later.
2. Dice and sautÃ© the mushrooms in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.
3. Finely dice the peppers and green onions and sautÃ© slightly in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.
4.Beat the Cream Cheese with an electric beater till lightly fluffy and add in the black pepper and eggs one at a time, beating until you have a creamy and well blended mixture.
5. As soon as you pull out the potato crust, add the sausage and vegetables, layering evenly and pour the egg mixture on top.
6. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of cheddar and the Red Chili Flakes and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the center is fully cooked. Check with your knife and make sure it comes out clean and the eggs are fully cooked.
In this instance I made my casserole in a foil container as I was packing it to take on our vacation (this is a great make ahead breakfast to take) but typically I would bake it in a pretty dish and take it directly from the oven to the table and serve. Now for a few pointers:
- If you live outside the USA and don't have access to frozen hash brown patties just peel and shred about 8-10 potatoes (depending on their size) in a food processor.
- Any meat you have available can be substituted for the turkey sausage or you can keep the casserole strictly vegetarian.
- Feel free to change up the vegetables as variety keeps things interesting, but make sure to sautÃ© them as raw vegetables sweat when cooked and can prevent the eggs from setting properly.
- I add the red chili flakes as I like things spicy but you can eliminate them if you want it less spicy. Of course if you like spicy food, JalapeÃ±os add a nice touch of heat.
- I don't add any salt to my recipe because the sausage, cheeses and hash brown patties are already well seasoned, but if you find that you like your food on the saltier side then feel free to add a little bit extra to the egg and cheese mixture.
Happy Cooking! I hope you like this recipe. Drop a comment below to tell me how it went!