We are currently shipping out cattle from our feedlot, and on these early mornings my kitchen smells divine. The combination of coffee brewing alongside the aroma of homegrown local sausage patties sizzling in my cast iron skillet is unbeatable. It almost makes me forget that I am up earlier than desired . . . almost. But with coffee, all things are possible. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. I have thermoses lined up by my coffee maker ready to send out to the guys to keep them going. Although, I’ve been told that my coffee is much stronger than the average cup of joe, so they sometimes cancel their coffee orders to prevent the jittery side effects. Apparently, I’ve built up a tolerance to caffeine—it is practically is my blood type since motherhood began six years ago.
They’re here at 4:30 a.m. so my early mornings don’t seem so bad in comparison. I just have to get their breakfast to them before I leave to drop off my daughter at school, which I might add isn’t so easy. Getting my daughter’s cold lunch made while getting the kids fed and dressed and out the door is no picnic while simultaneously throwing together a to-go breakfast for the guys at the feedlot. Even when I try to keep things simplified and quick, it is counteracted by the simple fact that my kids have to be tended to at the very same time that breakfast needs to be coming out hot and on-time just before we head out the door. But I do my best to keep it all together—well, mostly together.
On the first day shipping cattle, my daughter must have noticed that I was still ironing out the kinks in the conflicting schedules prepping food for the feedlot while prepping kids for school drop-off. In other words, she noticed her mother was a little flustered while bouncing from counter to counter in the kitchen and then to their bathroom to brush teeth and then to my son’s bedroom to yet again reason with an unreasonable wardrobe request. So she tells me calmly, “Mom, don’t worry. I’ll get Garrett dressed.” I could not have been more proud of her at that moment. She is so unusual for her age in that she cares so much about other people’s feelings and well-being. It’s amazing when a six-year-old can read a person’s body language or expression and actually step up to help out instead of thinking about themselves only. I don’t mean to brag (well, maybe sort of), but somewhere along the line I may have succeeded in this whole parenting thing. She even stepped in and helped out a kid being chanted at on the playground the other day. I love hearing those kinds of stories where she did the “right thing” instead of an easier alternative. Those stories on the car ride home make my day. It really does warm my heart to know that she has such a big heart for such a little girl. Okay, I’ll stop bragging now 😉
As I was saying, my daughter noticed how hurried and frantic I was on the first morning of shipping cattle. I had attempted to waffle-ize hash browns which was served with scrambled eggs and sausage patties. I even did a test run of the waffle-ized hash browns the night before to make sure they wouldn’t stick to my Belgian waffle maker. Of course, the test run came out perfectly when I filled only a quarter of my waffle maker. But when I filled the whole thing with hash brown mixture the following morning, it was stuck in every nook and cranny. Blast! Lesson learned: Do not use Belgian waffle makers for waffle-izing hash browns. Luckily, the guys don’t care if their side of hash browns is pretty. They just cared that it tasted good, and believe it or not, it still tasted delicious. I will demonstrate the deliciousness in a future post using a different waffle iron with shallower grooves. Mother’s Day present? Yes! Besides, this gift to myself will pay my family back indefinitely. Every cook needs options, right? Who doesn’t want both a deep Belgian waffle maker along with a square waffle maker.
Onto the frantic-free breakfast menu . . . Breakfast Casserole with Sausage and Hash Browns. It really could not be simpler. Prep the night before, take it out the following morning, bake and serve! It can be accomplished easily even while simultaneously completing your normal school morning schedule. To be honest, I was always turned off my breakfast casseroles until now. The previous recipes I tested never came out right—too wet, too flat-tasting or odd texture. It was like the Goldilocks tasting of breakfast casseroles. So I put together my own pros and cons of each previous failed recipe and compiled this foolproof combination. I’ll even quote my husband on this as he told me,
“This is your best one yet.”
I hope you enjoy the simplicity of this recipe as much as I do when I’m hustling to drop off breakfast at the feedlot before school drop off!
OVERNIGHT BREAKFAST CASSEROLE WITH SAUSAGE & HASH BROWNS
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 8 large portions
- 1 pound pork sausage, cooked (about 3 cups)
- 5 cups frozen hash browns, thawed (about half of a 30 ounce package of Mr. Dell’s Shredded Hash Browns)
- 12 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or Cheddar and Monterey Jack combination)
Grease a 9 x 13 inch glass pan with cooking spray.
Make a layer of the hash browns in the pan. Then add the sausage over top. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl (omitting the shredded cheese), and pour egg mixture over top of hash brown and sausage layers. Lastly, sprinkle cheese over top.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The following morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Uncover the pan and bake for 55 minutes or until eggs are set (no jiggling when you shift the pan) and the toothpick comes out clean with no wetness from eggs.