As I was getting ready to make my breakfast casserole, I suddenly had the impulse to make it healthier by adding vegetables. I asked my kids what vegetable they thought I should add and my oldest son replied “BACON!”
My son’s transcripts from college indicate that he is quite bright, so I am pretty sure he knows bacon isn’t a vegetable. I think bacon is just his default answer to most questions. I have discovered that if you ask male college students what you should add to any recipe the most common answer is bacon. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.
Bacon is more expensive per pound than most of the meat I buy, so when it goes on sale I stock up and freeze it for later use. I also cook up a batch and crumble it and use it sparingly in recipes to add flavor rather than using it as a side dish.
Whether you make the hash-browns from scratch or use frozen hash-browns that have thawed, be sure to squeeze out all of the liquid. Here are several methods for removing the excess liquid from hash-browns. Removing the excess liquid is essential to prevent the casserole from becoming runny.
You can make this with whatever meat you have on hand. I usually make my hash brown casserole with ham, but sausage works well too. And a combination of both ham and sausage is always a hit. No matter what meat you use, cut it into very small pieces. This allows you to get a nice meaty flavor through out the casserole while using half as much meat of other casseroles.
Alea’s Hash Brown Casserole
Yield – 12 servings
Preparation Time – 15 minutes
Cooking Time – 1 hour
- 6 cups hash-browns (or 1 30 oz. bag frozen hash-browns)
- 8 eggs
- 2 cups cottage cheese
- 6 – 8 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, divided
- 2 cups diced ham or sausage (or a combination of both)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt (How to make seasoned salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup bacon crumbles (optional, unless you have a teenage boy)
- 1 – 2 tablespoons parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 Pan.
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs.
- Add cottage cheese and spices to eggs and stir to combine.
- In a large bowl, Combine hash-browns, 1 cup cheddar cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ham, and onions.
- Pour egg mixture over the hash-brown mixture and stir to combine.
- Spoon hash-brown mixture into the greased casserole.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese, bacon, and parsley over the top.
- Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
- Let sit for 5- 10 minutes to set before serving.
I usually make my hash brown casserole for Sunday brunch. I serve it with fresh fruit. If my son gets his way, I will also serve it with a side of bacon.