Posts Tagged ‘potatoes’

Sassy Sausage and Hash Brown Breakfast Bake

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!

Ingredients:
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

Directions:
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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Meatloaf “Cupfakes”

Mike typically likes his food to LOOK like what it TASTES like. While I understand his natural desire to know what he's eating, I also have a great love of trickery. I love food that's made to look like other food.

I saw this cute cupfake post on a blog the other day. Instantly, I was reminded of all of the fun meatcakes I'd seen before (here's a great gallery!) I'd always wanted an excuse to make some, and the perfect excuse came Saturday. Mike had a hard day of GRE testing (he obtained a PERFECT score on his math section, by the way; Congratulations, Mike!) and I told him I'd make a surprise dinner. What's more surprising than a platter of cupfakes? I baked these cuties up with two other kinds of real cupcakes: Peach Cobbler Cupcakes and Peach Lemon Cupcakes.


The whole meal together!

When he came in, I told him that his surprise was that we were skipping dinner and only eating dessert! I could tell he was a little disappointed, so I pointed to my cupfakes and asked what flavor he thought they were. He guessed chocolate, red, and green (okay, he's not good at guessing) before finally giving up. I loved the look on his face when I made the big reveal -- MEATLOAF cupcakes! He loved it!

The piping on these could have been a LOT better. I rushed a bit, and I made the mashed potatoes a bit too viscous. I also should've cut a larger corner off of my ziplock! Oh well, there's always next time.

This meal is so fun, and so easy to make! If you make these, make sure to post about how your surprise goes over!

Currency Meatloaf "Cupfakes"


Recipe By: Oprah, according to my Mom's recipe.
Yields: 2 loaves (or 12 meatcakes and 1 loaf, or 24 meatcakes)

Meatloaf Ingredients:
3 lbs. 97% lean ground beef
1 1/2 slices bread, torn
1 cup milk
2 eggs beaten
2/3 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon dried mustard
1 heaping tbs sage
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
3 stalks celery
pepper
1 can tomato paste, for top

Decorations:
instant mashed potatoes for "frosting"
grape tomatoes for "cherries"
salt
food coloring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix meatloaf ingredients and put a heaping scoop in each of 12 greased cupcake wells. Do not pack. Spoon the rest of the mixture lightly into a greased loaf pan (preferably with racks, to allow fat to drain out). Spoon tomato paste on top of each cupcake well and the loaf. Bake meatcakes for 25 minutes and drain on paper towels. Bake loaf for 1 hour.

Once meatcakes are drained, place them carefully into cupcake papers. Frost with instant mashed potatoes in a ziplock bag (I added some garlic to mine for flavor, and you can add more milk to get the right consistency. I think I added too much!) Mix a tablespoon or so of salt with a drop of whatever food coloring you like, and sprinkle lightly on top. Top with a squirt of ketchup or a grape tomato for a cherry (my mother reminded me, and I still forgot!)


Nestled in their cute cupcake foil liners!


Finished (albeit with not-so-cute piping on my part)


Mike's Cupfake Meal (with some delicious stuffed squash -- let me know if you want the recipe!)