Easy Make Ahead Hashbrown Casserole

This is from the collection of excellent back to school make ahead breakfasts I mentioned before. This is great for making and freezing, like the French Toast Casserole and can be a school day breakfast or a brunch dish that can travel frozen to an out-of-town thing or be ready when the holidays and all their visitors are invading your home. I have a picture of the one I made the first week of school, somewhere… If I can find it I will add it to this recipe. This casserole is best when served with a side of citrus fruit, you know, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, pineapple, something like that.

What you will need:

1 bag (medium-sized) frozen hashbrowns

1 medium-sized casserole dish (think 8 x 10 or so)

Leftover sausage

1/3 cup Heart Healthy Bisquick

7 medium eggs

6 oz Cheddar or Colby Shredded ( you can use more, but this ratio is a nice balance)

1 Tablespoon Seasoned Salt

2 Tablespoons Onion Powder

Black Pepper (to taste)

Cooking Spray (I recommend Butter for this one)

To make:

In a bowl combine eggs, salt, onion, pepper, bisquick, sausage, and cheese.

Spray casserole dish.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place 1/2 of hashbrowns in bottom of dish.

Pour all of egg mixture on top.

Place remaining hashbrowns firmly over everything.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes.

*If you are going to freeze this: Once it is cooled wrap with a layer of Saran Wrap and then another of tin foil, label and place in your freezer. When ready to cook unwrap and follow below directions straight out of the freezer. Keep in mind frozen solid to done will take about twice as long as 1/2 cooked to done, so some planning ahead will be required.*

Remove foil. Return to oven until hashbrowns are crisp looking on top and there is no runny egg mixture. (this will take about 20 minutes)

Serve in squares with fruit and glasses of milk for a hearty breakfast.

Easy Make Ahead Sausage Baskets

Here we are, back to school in one week. Sigh. One of the things I do to make the school year a little easier on myself is make breakfast the night before. I have several make ahead breakfast recipes, you remember the French Toast Casserole, I thought I’d share some of these with all of you. Make ahead breakfasts are perfect for those of us who want our kids to eat real food in the morning for school, but whose brains don’t function well enough to cook. (Not to mention I like my 5 to 6 hours of sleep every night, so no, I’m not getting up earlier) I also discovered that it was the best way to actually feed everyone when GC started middle school. Around here the high school starts, then about 30 minutes later the middle schools start, then 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours later (depending on which one your kid goes to) the elementary schools start. Now, despite the fact that eggs are going to kill us (for this week) I want to feed my kids food that includes proteins and carbs and fruit (not sugar cereal or pop tarts *shudder*) for breakfast. But anyone who has ever tried to eat hour old eggs can tell you, you can’t keep them warm or reheat them; so making breakfast that can span from 5:30 am till 8am, be quick, be appealing, be inexpensive, be different at least some days, and be fairly healthy? That’s my challenge. Also, most of these are great for taking to brunches, or when you have relatives around wanting breakfast at all hours like you have nothing better to do and have opened a damn bed and breakfast during the holidays (which, as we all know, once we get nice and used to school, Bam! Holidays!). Sorry I have watched my mother struggle with this and have even participated in the insanity. Anyway, back to school mornings. This first one is yummy and super easy, and can be carried in the car during snooze button related emergencies. (An added bonus)

What you will need:

1 lb sausage (Turkey works great here, but you can use whatever sausage you like. Make sure to use the ground sausage, not links or already pattied sausage. The good news, that’s the cheapest sausage out there)

Shredded cheddar

2 cans (10 to a can) biscuits (these are the tiny biscuits that are usually sold in four packs)

Muffin tins

Cooking Spray (I recommend a butter-flavored one)

Heat oven to 400° F

Brown Sausage. Place on 2 layers of paper towels to help drain fat.

Spray muffin tins.

Use 1 can of biscuits to make baskets in the bottom of each tin. Carefully (remember the less you handle dough the better) using your thumb in the center, stretch the dough into a shallow bowl like in the picture.

Place a pinch of shredded cheese (just enough to fill the divits you made earlier) into each basket.

Use a small spoon to place sausage on top of cheese. (you want to try to stay in the middle of the biscuit as best you can)

Gently stretch the second can’s biscuits large enough to top the baskets. Using fingers lightly push the edges just lower than the center.

Bake until golden brown. (about 15 mins)

 * You will have lots of sausage left over. Once it is completely cooled place in freezer safe container and put it in your freezer. You can use this portion in another recipe, or to make more of these baskets.*

After you have let these cool slightly (they will still feel warm, but wouldn’t burn your fingers) drape a clean dish towel over them. This will keep them fluffy and fresh tasting for in the morning. You can reheat these or not to serve, it’s totally up to you. After breakfast you will want to place leftover baskets in a Tupperware and place them in the fridge.

 Serving:

You will notice how tiny these are. That’s on purpose, you can serve these with whatever cut up fresh fruit you gave on hand (or applesauce- a breakfast fav around here) and a glass of milk to make a nice well-rounded breakfast that isn’t so filling you might need a nap afterwards. I recommend serving 1 basket, 1/3 to 1/2 piece of fruit (depending on the fruit, obviously) and milk to kids about 8 and under, if they are hungry afterwards, well, you have 10 baskets, let them have a another. For the bottomless pits bigger kids, I go ahead and start them with 2 baskets, 1/2 to 1 piece of fruit and the milk. An alternative for the kid who doesn’t want to drink milk this week: 1 glass of OJ (not SunnyD or other such crap, actual 100% OJ, with pulp, aka fiber) and 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt instead of fruit and milk works also.

See how easy that is? Just so you don’t think I put on my judgey pants today, yes we do keep cereal (like Cheerios and Raisin Bran) around the house, but I try to have those be for weekends (when I sleep in) and on mornings when we just have no time at all. Like all things, moderation is key, don’t eat sausage or processed cereal everyday, mix it up.

As always if you try this out, or have a make ahead breakfast idea of your own, let me know!

 

Chicken Burrito Filler

Another Tex Mex night around here! (told you before that we love this stuff) Tonight’s meal will be Spinach Salad (toss baby spinach, carrot shreds, and raw mushrooms; add dressing & serve) and Chicken Burritos. Mmmm

You will need:

3 small or 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts cooked and cut into thin strips (think fajita style)

1 packet low sodium taco seasoning

1 can (drained) corn

1 can (drained & rinsed) black beans

1 can (drained) low sodium diced tomatoes

1/2 cup instant brown rice

Salsa

“mexi blend” cheese shred

water

What to do:

In a large pot (with lid) put cooked chicken, seasoning, water to package directions, corn, black beans, and tomatoes. Stir. Bring to a boil.

Add rice and 1/2 cup water. Add 1/4 cup salsa. Return to a boil.

Place lid on, reduce heat,  allow to boil until rice is done and sauce thickens. (about 15 minutes)

Remove from heat. Assemble burritos in whole wheat tortillas with cheese and salsa to taste.

Enjoy!

*Side Note: as always, you can tweek this to make it more “little kid” (person who likes less heat) friendly by adding sour cream inside the burrito, or serving a dollop on the side for dipping. You can even substitute sour cream for Ranch, which is how my nephew loves his.*