Sassy Sausage and Hash Brown Breakfast Bake

by Julie Ruble on October 14, 2011 · 37 comments

Things I learned from experience this week:

1. If you give in to the urge to take a nap after around 7pm, your body is going to decide it’s sleeping all night (and it won’t bother to consult with your blaring alarm clock). Drink some more caffeine and push through ’til bedtime.

2. Byrd might be certifiably insane. She now brings me pieces of her kibble to throw. She’ll fetch them once or twice before eating them. It’s gotten to the point where she almost won’t eat her food unless she’s played with it first.

I’m not going to lie; I’ve done this test on her. Just in case.

3. I might be certifiably insane. Because I throw that piece of kibble for her every. single. time.

And not only that, but if I’m paranoid she’s not eating enough, I’ll sit in the floor and feed her dinner to her piece by piece like I’m feeding grapes to a flippin’ Roman emperor.

4. Don’t ever say the word “menopause” to 7th graders. You will never get them back. They’re probably still somewhere doubled over in awkward laughter at this very moment.

5. Middle school children will come up with myriad excuses to be violent with each other. The game of “Punch buggy” has apparently expanded: there’s now “Honda Hit,” “Kia Kick,” “Chevy slap,” “Ford flick,” and “Toyota tap.”

6. There’s some sort of principle at work in the universe where, if you’re running late, the passing lane of the highway will be completely blocked by slow drivers. These lovely folks, instead of passing anyone, will be lackadaisically playing a game of “Tap Your Brakes Unnecessarily at Random Intervals.”

Their cars usually sport obnoxious bumper stickers designed to infuriate you while you almost run into them repeatedly. Today, it was a huge Sponge Bob decal that took up the entire rear window. I could not make this stuff up. I almost ran into them on purpose to wipe that oafish starfish grin off of Patrick’s face.

7. Condiments make everything more fun. Please give me dipping sauce, garnishes, toppings, relishes, creams, pastes, flakes, and herbs. I can’t decide if things actually taste better when they’re all dolled up, or if I just love the assembly process.

8. When you’re putting on your fancy dress and high heels, googling librettos, driving downtown, paying for parking, and running full-tilt to make it on time to your very first opera (Carmen, in case you’re wondering), do be sure to check the date on the tickets first. Turns out there was no chance of Mike and I arriving late, considering the opera is next week. We ate Lebanese food in our fancy clothes instead.

9. Always order extra tahini. See #7.

10. Breakfast is one of the best parts of the day. Sometimes I go to sleep early specifically to get to breakfast sooner. And I think you need to go to sleep RIGHT FLIPPIN’ NOW to get to this Sassy Sausage and Hash Brown Breakfast Bake ASAP.

This casserole is super easy, can be prepared in advance, and is one of the best sorts of breakfast to wake up to: hearty, spicy, warm, comforting, and filling. And one you can serve with lots of condiments.

What did you learn from your experiences this week?

Sassy Sausage and Hash Brown Breakfast Bake

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking
Yields: 9 servings

Oh, this breakfast casserole is perfect. The slight heat of the peppers, sausage, and cayenne pepper are the perfect complement to the layers crisp hash browns and cheese. It’ll fill you with warmth and satisfaction on a cold autumn morning. Since it can be prepared days in advance and popped into the oven when you wake up, it’s perfect for brunches or family breakfasts where you’d rather not be trapped in the kitchen for hours!

4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
16 ounces hot sausage
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green and red peppers
1/2 clove minced garlic
minced jalapeno to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 cup shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
dash paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Toppings: sour cream, diced jalapenos, hot sauce, salsa, chopped green onions, and some fresh cilantro or parsley

Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (if you’re baking the casserole on the same day). In a large skillet over medium-high heat, crumble and cook the sausage until completely browned and cooked through. Remove the sausage to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Discard all but a couple of teaspoons of its grease.

Place peppers, jalapenos, and onions into the skillet and toss to coat them with the grease. Sauté them for about 5 minutes until they’re soft and the onions are beginning to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, until it’s fragrant. Remove this mixture to the paper-towel lined plate with the sausage.

Add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil to the skillet. Brown the hash browns in batches by spreading out about a third of them over the bottom of the skillet in a flat layer. Cover the skillet and let them cook without stirring for around 10 minutes (double check the directions on your hash browns package). When one side is browned, flip the hash browns and brown the other side. Remove these to a separate paper-towel lined place. Continue until all hash browns are browned.

Place half of the hash browns into the baking pan in an even layer. Top with half of the sausage, peppers, and onions mixture and 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat these layers once more. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, evaporated milk, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture evenly over the hash brown casserole and cover it with aluminum foil. You can refrigerate the casserole overnight at this point or bake immediately. If you refrigerate it, let it sit out at room temperature while the oven preheats.

Bake the casserole for around 50 minutes before removing the foil and baking an additional 10-15 minutes. Let the casserole cool for 10 minutes before serving it with sour cream, diced jalapenos, hot sauce, salsa, green onions, and some fresh cilantro or parsley.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Kat October 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Hmm. Might be tasty. Throw it down the hall for me a few times before I eat it?


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 14, 2011 at 6:52 pm

LOL. I had no idea what you were talking about, Kat, despite the fact that I finished writing this just a couple of hours ago. It finally dawned on me. ;)


Vivian (@vivianruble) October 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm

No wonder I have trouble getting Byrd to eat when she stays with Grandma! I just pick it up and toss it back into her dish. No wonder I get those “deer in the headlight” looks…. :)


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 14, 2011 at 8:36 pm

She’s totally waiting for you to throw it! HA!


Brandie (@ Home Cooking Memories) October 15, 2011 at 7:23 am

This is my type of breakfast! Looks great…definitely saving it.


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 15, 2011 at 7:26 am

Thanks, Brandie!


Sprigs of Rosemary October 15, 2011 at 7:28 am

I’m wanting this casserole . . . now. I’m afraid I’d have to double it, though. When we have company for breakfast, we have COMPANY. Easily doubled, I imagine. The only lesson I re-learned this week is that if I’m recuperating and need to rest for a few days, my husband will get injured. What a pair we are!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 15, 2011 at 7:31 am

Yes, yes! Easily doubled and baked in a 9×13 inch pan :)

Aw, so sorry you and your husband are trading injuries! Eep!


Sandra October 15, 2011 at 9:29 am

This is hilarious especially #6! This casserole looks amazing thanks for the recipe and the laughs.


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 15, 2011 at 9:53 am

Thanks, Sandra ;D


Leslie October 15, 2011 at 9:53 am

We had similar “hitting games”… in college. Punch bug, mini-cooper slap, jeep pinch, and “woodies” (cars with wooden sides) strokes (you just pet the other persons arm) Yes, we were very mature, and honestly never really drunk. :-p

This looks tasty.


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 15, 2011 at 9:54 am

HAAA, I love this confession!! ;) Thanks, Leslie!


Trish Dragon October 15, 2011 at 11:18 am

Awesome recipe and yes, I’ve done that test on my dog as well. I do no think I could express as hysterically as either of you, though ;)


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Aw, thanks Trish :)


20yac October 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

Now that’s what I call breakfast. I can’t wait till tomorrow morning to make this for my family. Thanks for the recipes(and humor) and keep cooking!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I hope they love it!! Thanks!


camille October 15, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Ooh! I made something similar to this, but with bacon… and less accoutrements. While bacon always makes things better, so do peppers. And sausage. I am going to need to try this version.

And on the car-based hitting games thing? My friends and I played punchbuggy at World War 3 levels of intensity, and then one guy invented “bitch-slap Vanagon” for those VW vans. You don’t see them as often, which is good, because they mean you get smacked upside the head.


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm

LOL!! Oh, I’m dying. Thanks for this, Camille.


tom December 25, 2013 at 7:43 am

Anyone remember the “pa-diddle? Thats the “closed fist one knucle punch on the shoulder” after you’ve seen a VW bug with one working headlight. That hurts!!!


kat October 16, 2011 at 2:41 am

ahh that looks so amazing!!! :)


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 16, 2011 at 10:32 am

Thanks, Kat!


queenglitter October 16, 2011 at 7:46 pm

This looks so awesome. I love hash brown casserole. I don’t know why I never thought to put sausage in it.


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 16, 2011 at 11:16 pm

I don’t eat nearly enough hash brown casserole, but I’d put this on my breakfast favorites list now! ;D Thanks!


Amanda (onceuponarecipe) October 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

This looks delicious Julie. And that dog test link – I have had my ab workout for today from laughing at it. I could. not. stop. I’m pretty sure my Bella is slightly retarded as well!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm

LOL, I love Hyperbole and a Half for that reason — she kills me!

Thanks, Amanda!


Mary Whalen December 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm

love this site!


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Aw, thank you, Mary!


Melisa October 18, 2013 at 4:34 am

Can this be made with freshly grated potatoes instead of the frozen hash browns? No such convenience foods in China. Looks really yummy!


Julie Ruble October 19, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Hey Melisa! I’d say so! Just use this recipe for the crispy hashbrowns and then complete the recipe as stated: (might have to scale up/down — just gauge as you’re cutting your potatoes to get to about 4 cups of hashbrowns). I hope you love it!


Carrie December 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm

When you said made ahead of time, does that mean mixed up and refrigerated to cook later or baked and then re-heated?


Julie Ruble December 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Hi Carrie, all the prep is done and the dish is assembled the night before, refrigerated overnight, and then baked in the morning. See the recipe for instructions.


Kellie @ The Suburban Soapbox December 21, 2013 at 8:38 am

This is perfect for Christmas morning! Thank you, I found it on!
And I learned that you can’t live on cookies alone….you will begin to resemble a strung out version of Charlie Sheen after he was “winning” because of all the refined sugar.


catrina April 8, 2014 at 5:05 pm

can you use regular milk instead of evaporated?


Julie Ruble April 8, 2014 at 5:11 pm

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