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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Egg, Sausage & Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole

I didn't know a breakfast casserole would change my life until I met this one.  About 2 years ago I was introduced to this casserole for a big church party. I signed up to help with food, but thought I could pick my own thing to make and bring.  However, I was asked to make and bring this casserole and was handed the recipe.  I'm rarely told what to make, and honestly don't really like to be.  I mean, can you blame me?  Needless to say, I didn't really have high expectations for this casserole.  I'm not sure I'd really had breakfast casserole before this.

But, oh baby, was my life changed after making this. Now it's a family staple.  I made a few slight tweaks, and made sure, after witnessing others are our party, do douse the top with salsa and/or green chile! Mmm. We've made this at least a dozen plus times since. I've taken it to two families after they've had new babies, and been asked for the recipe every time I've shared it.  So you know from that, that it's delicious and pleasing.

The prep on this casserole is easy.  You can throw it together in a matter of 10-15 minutes - and even refrigerate it up to a day before baking and serving.  I love meals like this for those busy days/nights. I can make it in the morning and have it ready to pop in the oven for a quick meal on a hectic night.  I guess I should mention that we actually haven't ever had this for breakfast, except the leftovers. We love it for dinner, or brinner, that is.

The layers in this casserole are all delicious. Try only having one serving...I dare you!  The base of the casserole is hash browns (fresh grated or buy the shredded frozen kind) lightly browned in a bit of butter and seasoned with some garlic salt and pepper.  The hash browns are topped with some seasoned egg, and then with some yummy sausage and onions.  Topped with cheese and baked til hot and bubbly! We like to top half the casserole with colby jack cheese (my kids favorite) and the other half with pepper-jack cheese (my husband and my favorite).  And if you've read through some of my other posts you know that we are true NM folk and love stuff like this topped with green chile.  Salsa is good too, and if you do both, then well, it's just even better.  


Egg, Sausage & Hash-brown Breakfast Casserole


2 pounds frozen hash-browns (or fresh grated potatoes (any variety), rinsed and drained - see **note for using fresh potatoes)
2 tablespoons butter
Garlic salt and pepper to taste
1 pound sausage (I prefer Jimmy Dean Natural Sausage (no nitrates and super yummy))
½ - 1 onion, finely chopped
8 eggs
½ cup milk
1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided (I really like using pepper-jack)
1 teaspoon salt or seasoned salt (I like to use garlic salt)
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2-3 tablespoons green onions, sliced (optional)

NOTES: If you prefer using fresh potatoes, grate them and rinse them of the starch and drain well. I like to drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and a little salt and microwave them for a few minutes (2 minutes at a time, stir, and up to 8 minute) to soften them up before browning. I also like to use pepper-jack cheese on half for my husband and I, who like things a little spicy.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9x13 casserole dish.  
2. In a deep 12” non-stick skillet brown frozen hash-browns in butter (8-10 minutes), season to taste with garlic salt and pepper, cook until lightly browned for best flavor.
3. Once potatoes are browned, dump them and spread lightly across the casserole dish. Top with half the cheese.
4. In same skillet cook sausage and onion until done.  Spread cooked sausage on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle green onions (optional) evenly on top of the sausage.
5. Mix eggs with milk, salt and pepper and pour on top of sausage, sprinkle remaining cheese on top of that. Cover with foil.  
6. At this point you can refrigerate for up to one day.
7. Bake for 30 minutes - remove foil and bake 5-10 more minutes.  Keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t get too brown.  

Serve topped with salsa and/or green chile.


lightly adapted from a recipe I got from my friend, Christine, who blogs at I Dig Pinterest.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lemon Blueberry No-Churn Ice Cream

Summer is still in full swing over here, how bout for you? Ice cream is eaten year round at our house, but it does have a special spot for summer. It's a tasty way to cool off in the heat. And since we've been experiencing high 90s temps, I'm always ready for some ice cream. I've seen no-churn ice cream recipes popping up all over the web lately, and decided they must be worth a shot. Have you jumped on that bandwagon yet?  I don't have an ice cream maker, but I love homemade ice cream.  

I have fond childhood memories of fresh strawberries and raspberries from my grandpa's garden mixed into my mom's famous homemade ice cream.  Mmmm, those are the best kind of memories!  We actually got to have some last week when we were visiting them. We had one of those old ice cream makers that is super loud and you have to add ice and salt to it to keep it mixing.  It was fun!  Nowadays you can buy ice cream makers that are much quieter.  But I haven't invested in one yet. I can't decide if I would have enough self control to only make it occasionally, I think that's the only thing holding me back. :)  

But thanks to no-churn ice cream, I can still enjoy the fresh taste of homemade ice cream made right from my own kitchen.  After mulling over hundreds of flavor combinations I went with a favorite flavor combo of mine . Lemon blueberry.

First off, can we stop for a second and admire how beautiful blueberries are! Gah! I'm in love. We've been getting good deals on them fresh at our local grocery stores too, so we've been eating LOTS of blueberries at our house.  I love to freeze them and eat them as a treat. They are so good! Have you tried them?  Better than frozen grapes in my book.

I was really skeptical about how no-churn ice cream would turn out - and while it's a little different than churned ice cream, I still think it's out-of-this-world-good.  If you serve it straight out of the freezer it's got a unique texture of frozen and creamy.  I also tried smoothing it up in my food processor and it was more like the soft serve ice cream you get from an ice cream  maker. Either way, it's deeee-licious! 

Below are the step for whipping up this yummy concoction! 

1. Place blueberries, lemon juice and lemon zest in a 2 cup measuring cup.
2. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth (isn't that color pretty!).
3. Pour a can of sweetened condensed milk and vanilla in a bowl and mix together. 
4. Add the blended blueberry mixture and stir. 
5. Stir it until it's totally combined (I love watching the shade of purple change).
6. Whip up two cups of heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer. 
7. Fold the whipped cream into the berry mixture. 
8. Once it's all combined you are ready to freeze it. 
9. Pour it into a large storage container with lid and smooth the top.  Place the lid on and freeze for 6-12 hours.  

Once it is done freezing you can scoop it up into a dish or cone and enjoy. And if you are after a more soft serve consistency, put it in the food processor and process til smooth.  

 We love making homemade cones too! 

Here is the smooth version of the ice cream!

 I hope this ice cream will keep you cool during this hot summer! Enjoy! 

Lemon Blueberry No-Churn Ice Cream

Yield: about 1 quart

1 ½ cups fresh blueberries (thawed frozen ones should work too)
1 small lemon, zested, and 2 tablespoons of the juice
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream


Place a medium-sized stainless or glass bowl in the freezer with beaters to hand mixer to get nice and cold for whipping the cream

Place the blueberries, lemon zest, and lemon juice in 2 cup measuring cup and blend with an immersion blender until smooth (or you can use a regular blender too).

In a medium size mixing bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk with the vanilla until combined, then add the blueberry mixture and stir until combined.  

In a medium size stainless steel bowl, whip the 2 cups of whipping cream on medium speed until frothy. Once frothy, increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form.  Fold the whipped cream into the berry mixture until combined.  

Pour the mixture into a large storage container with lid (that holds about 1 quart). Place lid on top and freeze 6-12 hours.  Scoop and serve in a cone or bowl.  If you want it more like soft serve ice cream place it in the food processor and blend until smooth.  

Recipe Source:

Originally posted on adapted from How Sweet Eats Blackberry Chip Ice Cream recipe.