My inspiration for this comes from The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond). She has one of my favorite food network shows and everything she makes looks really delicious. It's also hearty since she is serving her ranch hand family.
Her recipe calls for a few more peppers, twice the potatoes, and doesn't incorporate sausage since it's a "side dish". I wanted to make this a breakfast casserole.
I also like this because it's a two-dish casserole. One large skillet on the stove and one 9x13 glass casserole dish. (Unless you have to grate the cheese with your food processor... then there's an extra clean up item.)
Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole
2 tablespoons butter
1 red pepper
2 poblano chilies (for more heat, add more chilies or pick a hotter one.)
1 white onion
2 pounds diced frozen hash brown potatoes (1 bag)
Salt & Pepper
1/2 pound grated sharp cheddar
1/2 pound grated Monterrey jack
8 slices of bacon, fried & chopped
1 pound sausage
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Cook the sausage & bacon (separately), and set aside. Drain sausage/pat dry bacon. Chop bacon.
- Dice the onion, red pepper, and chilies.
- Melt the butter in the large skillet and saute the onion, red pepper, and chilies until onion is clear and pepper & chilies are almost blackened. (I also added garlic, parsley, and cilantro frozen cubes at this point. - See below for more info.)
- Add the cooked sausage and the frozen hashbrowns, salt & pepper, and mix together. Let cook about 15 - 20 minutes. (Or however long it takes to shred your cheese.)
- Pour half the potato mixture into a greased 9x13 glass dish. Cover with a thin layer of cheese, pour the remaining half of hte potato mixture over the cheese layer. Spread the rest of the cheese over the casserole, top with bacon.
- Bake until hot and bubbly, about 30-40 minutes.
- You can change the peppers to make it hotter or milder. I think it had the perfect spice for breakfast
- You can make this the day before (I did) and I took it out about an hour before putting in the oven so it would come to room temperature.
- If you haven't discovered the frozen cubes of spices at Trader Joes, or now at Wal-Mart, you must! I keep the garlic, cilantro, and parsley on hand to flavor my dishes. As much as I love having fresh cilantro as a garnish, it's a pain to keep on hand.
- Since this has sausage in it, you don't really need another protein, but it would go good with a side of scrambled eggs.
- If anyone ever finds shredded Monterrey jack please, please call me ASAP. I love the flavor of MJ cheese, but am tired of always shredding it. My food processor does wonders, but then I have to clean that!