There goes that nice track record…

So much for blogging every day for a straight month. I went back to work and resolve crumbled in the face of catching up after a week out of the office. So…what’s new? I’ve been kinda sick. Taking an immuno-suppressant is kind of lame when there is sickness going around the office. Ah well. I feel a bit better now. My parents came over for brunch and we had the following fabulousness, made by me at 9:00 last night after a family outing with D’s family.

Hashbrown Casserole
What you need: frozen hashbrowns, sour cream, sharp cheddar cheese, cream of chicken soup, onion, more sharp cheddar cheese

I have tried this many times, in an attempt to recreate the magic that The Cracker Barrel can achieve so easily. Today was the best so far, it just needs more onion flavor. Here’s how to do it:

Cook up some frozen hashbrowns in a skillet. Don’t use oil. Use water and cover them instead. Cook them for about 7 minutes on one side, flip them, and cook until soft and mushy. The bottom will probably be brown and that’s OK. Take those cooked hashbrowns and put them in a casserole dish. Sprinkle liberally with sharp cheddar cheese. Spread a diluted mixture of cream of chicken soup, grated onions and water in a layer over the cheese. Put on another layer of cheese. Spread a layer of sour cream over that, and then top with cheese one more time. Refrigerate overnight and bake in a 350-375 degree oven for an hour the next morning.

Breakfast Strata
What you need: bread, a tube of breakfast sausage, a package of pre-cooked cubed ham, shredded mild and sharp cheddar cheeses, peppers (optional), onions (optional), eggs, milk, half and half, spices (I use cracked pepper, cajun seasoning, and roasted red pepper)

This is awesome. Cook up some sausage in a skillet. I cook it the same way I brown ground beef. Set it aside on some paper towels to drain. Make a mixture of 3 part eggs (I use EggBeaters) to 1 part milk/1/2 and 1/2 mixture. Stir in the spices. Spray some Pam in a casserole dish and tear some bread pieces to coat the bottom of the dish. Layer on the sausage, ham and veggies with a layer of cheese between each. Pour the egg and dairy mixture over this whole concoction. Top with cheese. Refrigerate overnight and bake for and hour fifteen in a 350-375 degree oven. Serve with ketchup and hot sauce. Yum! If you use skim milk, fat-free half and half and lowfat cheese, plus lower fat sausage it’s really not all that bad for you.

French Toast Casserole
What you need: Loaf of French bread, sugar, cinnamon, eggs, milk, 1/2 and 1/2, vanilla extract, nutmeg (optional), butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon.

This was my first time making this one. Make sure you spray your casserole dish with Pam, otherwise you’re soaking that dish for a year when this is over. Cut your French bread into slices. Place in the casserole dish. Mix eggs, milk, 1/2 and 1/2, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, nutmeg in a bowl and then pour over the bread. Refrigerate overnight. Prior to cooking, mix butter, corn syrup, brown sugar and yet more cinnamon in a bowl and then spread over soaked, mushy-looking bread pieces. It makes a crunchy sweet topping. Bake at 350-375 degrees for 45-60 minutes and then top with maple syrup to serve.

Make any or all of these dishes for your next brunch event and you will be a hero. You’ll be even more of a hero if you do your dishes as you go, especially if your husband just cleaned the kitchen.

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