A warm and crispy hash brown potato shell filled with cheese, eggs, and sausage. In my family, this particular breakfast was a staple of potluck brunches, family gatherings, and, most memorably, Christmas morning. It’s easy—spread the hash browns in a pie plate, layer in sausage and cheese, and then pour in a few whisked eggs on top. The result is an appetite-inducing, eye-pleasing addition to the breakfast table.
When Simply Gluten-Free Magazine asked us to work on a brunch menu for the March/April issue, this breakfast casserole was one of the first recipes I thought to include. A few phone calls to mom, and I had the details of the recipe sorted. It became my favorite part of a story on hearty brunch dishes that I ended up developing, which also included a potato medley hash and a creamy grits bar (a nod to my adopted home in the South). Working on these recipes gave me a chance to write about one of my favorite ways to share breakfast: a gathering of fellow soccer fans on a Saturday morning to watch English Premier League soccer and cheer on our favorite team, Chelsea FC (Go Blues!).
The breakfast casserole had the most personal significance to me. Like Mom’s Chicken Soup, it conjures up happy memories. This time, it's Christmas morning and I can instantly see mom behind the stove in the little kitchen of our house in Longmont, Colorado, pouring the egg mixture into the pie plate just before popping it into the oven. Those memories make it a favorite family recipe. It’s also a recipe for classic comfort food. This recipe is durable, satiating, and delicious. And it’s versatile. It will always be a crowd pleasure with breakfast sausage and cheddar, but swap in swiss and use turkey sausage or even ham and it will be equally tasty. For a healthier option, one could do egg whites and toss in some chopped kale or spinach, or make it vegetarian by eliminating the meat entirely.
It’s the perfect recipe for the cook who loves to experiment. A few ingredients, simple instructions, and a world of possibilities—I’m increasingly convinced those are the elements behind a family favorite that just about anyone can enjoy.
Now, for the recipe:
1 lb. (16 oz) frozen hash browns
1/2 pound turkey sausage, browned
1/2 cup (4 oz) shredded Monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup half and half
1 tsp. salt
Dash of pepper
1 Tbs. olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375˚
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and brown hash brown, flipping them once (about 3 minutes on each side).
- Mold hash browns into a 9-inch pie plate.
- Layer turkey sausage on top of the potatoes, then add the shredded cheese.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, half & half, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over cheese layer.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
Note: The hash browns do not need to be fully cooked before placing them in the pie plate, and slightly undercooked potatoes will make for a firmer casserole crust.