Easter Brunch – Part 1
First off, let me wish everyone a happy belated Easter. I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. I was busy doing Easter crafts last week with my daughter and my nephew. Then I was busy all weekend preparing for Easter. Cooking, coloring eggs, putting together Kayla’s Easter basket, etc. It was a hectic weekend, but I think everything turned out well.
I hosted Easter brunch for my side of the family this year. I wanted to make good food, but I wanted to try to keep things simple. I have a horrible habit of going overboard, so I decided to pick a few main dishes to make, plus some sides, and stick to it. I didn’t allow myself to add extra dishes, and in fact, I decided at the last minute NOT to make the cheddar bacon biscuits I was planning to make, or the smoothie. I can make those some other time, right?
My menu for brunch was this:
– Ham, Bacon, and Egg Hash Brown Casserole
– Sausage Breakfast Casserole
– French Toast Casserole
– Fruit Salad
– Sausage Patties and Maple Sausage Links
– Brownie Cupcakes
– Fruity Easter Cupcakes
I’m sure you noticed a theme here. I did three casseroles because they are simple to make, full of flavor, and have everything you need for a great breakfast. I also had sides of all the meats I used in my casseroles. I made a fruit salad that uses fresh fruit and canned fruit to make the best fruit salad I have ever tasted. And last but not least, I made cupcakes. Yum!
It’ll be too much to put all the recipes into one post, so I am going to break this up into multiple posts. I’m not going to cover the sides of bacon, sausage, and ham…but I will cover everything else. I’ll start out with the first two casseroles on my menu.
Ham, Bacon, and Egg Hash Brown Casserole
– 1 lb Ham, diced
– 3/4 cup Bacon, crumbled
– 3 cups frozen shredded Hash Browns, thawed
– 1 stick Butter, melted
– 8 eggs
– 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Salt
– 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
– 1 (24 oz.) container Cottage Cheese
– 1/2 cup Onion, diced
– 1 small Green Bell Pepper, diced
– 1 cup Mild Cheddar Cheese, shredded
– 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
I saw recipes online for hash brown casseroles with ham, but I really wanted something that also had bacon. I was having a hard time finding a recipe with both, so I came up with my own recipe. It was a hit at Easter Brunch. I saw my husband get seconds of this 2 or 3 times, as well as my brother-in-law. The combination of ham, bacon, eggs, and hash browns just reminds you of a good down home country breakfast. It’s oh-so satisfying.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 13×9 baking dish. Melt butter and toss with hash browns in baking dish. Press hash browns down in baking dish, making a potato crust.
In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add in salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix well. Stir in cottage cheese, onions, green peppers, and half of the cheese. Our over potato crust. Sprinkle remaining cheese and crumbled bacon on top.
Let casserole sit in the fridge overnight, or for at least 8 hours before cooking. Take casserole out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes before you plan to bake it. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Cheese should be completely melted on top, and the top should be browning slightly. Serve right out of the oven, or cover with foil until ready to serve. This casserole is hands down the best breakfast casserole I have ever tasted, besides the one they use to have at Cracker Barrel years ago. It is sinful, but delicious.
Sausage Breakfast Casserole Recipe
– 6-8 Sausage Patties, cooked and cut into pieces
– 6 eggs
– 3/4 cup Spinach, fresh and rough chopped
– 4-5 cups of Italian Bread, cut into 1 inch pieces
– 1/4 cup Red or Yellow Bell pepper, diced
– 1/4 cup Onion, diced
– 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
– 2 slices of American Cheese, cut up into small pieces
– 1/2 cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded (or you can replace this with 1/4 cup of Smoked Mozzarella Cheese for a different flavor)
– 1-2 teaspoons Salt
– 1-2 teaspoons Pepper
– 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
– 1 teaspoon Paprika
For the sausage breakfast casserole, I used frozen pre-cooked sauasge patties. I heated them through and browned them on the stove, per package directions. Then I chopped them up into little pieces. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease either a 8×8 baking dish or a 9×9 baking dish. If you use the larger baking dish, you make need to use a little bit more bread in the recipe.
I leave the Italian Bread sitting out on the counter for 30 minutes to an hour so that it will get a little stale. Put the bread pieces into the bottom of the baking dish in an even layer. I like to toss the bread with a dash of salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs slightly. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and papricka, mix well. Pour 1/4 of the egg mixture into the baking dish over the bread, then toss the bread. Once the bread seems to be evenly coated, we are going to start adding the other ingredients. Add the sausage, spinach, bell peppers, and onions on top of the bread. Spread out and try to make sure everything is evenly distributed so each bite will have all the ingredients. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese (or smoked mozzarella cheese) on top. Pour the remaining egg mixture into the baking dish. Top the casserole with the American cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until cheese is melted, eggs are cooked, and the top is browning slighly. Both times I made this, I ended up cooking it for about 45 minutes. If you don’t want to cook it right away, you can store this in the fridge overnight and cook it the next day. It’s actually better if it sits overnight. I just set it out about 20-30 minutes before I put it into the oven. Serve warm, right out of the oven. If you’re not serving right away, just cover it up with foil and it will stay warm for awhile. This is a great breakfast casserole. I would definitely make it again for a holiday, but I plan to make it throughout the year. It reminds me of breakfast casseroles I’ve had at restaurants over the years. It’s comfort food at it’s best.