Merry Christmas week! Is that a thing? Like a birthday week? If it isn’t then it should be because Christmas is a lot more fun than your birthday.
I am officially on Christmas break and let me tell you it is just as glorious at 27 as it was at 17, or 7 for that matter. I think I still believed in Santa at 7 so maybe that was slightly more fun. I KNOW I didn’t appreciate the power of sleeping in and naps at 7 though so on second thought, it’s just as good now.
Now that Christmas break has begun, I’m finally getting into the Christmas spirit. It’s been a little tough this year for several reasons. For one thing, I’ve been sick and it’s been unseasonably warm and rainy…not ideal Christmas wellness or weather. For another (and this is probably the main reason) this is the first Christmas ever that I won’t have spent with my family. My mom tearfully reminded me of this on the phone a few days ago, that she won’t have either of her girls for Christmas this year FYI moms, reminders of this sort are not terribly helpful in cheering your children who are far away for the holidays. Since our families do not live in the same place, Robert and I navigated new married people territory this year and had to choose holidays. My family got Thanksgiving, his family gets Christmas and next year we swap. For those who haven’t crossed that bridge yet, as easy as you think it will be, even if you’re a holiday grinch, it isn’t. Every family has their own unique traditions and holiday quirks and no matter how wonderful the traditions you step into (or start anew) are, they still aren’t yours. I adore my in-laws, and I’m really excited to experience their Christmas (especially because my niece and nephew still believe in Santa!) but I know part of me will still be nostalgic for the holidays of my past. I KNOW this is part of life and growing up yada yada, but if your WHOLE family lives in the same place, count yourself lucky! I will get to see my parents on Tuesday as they plan to stop through Hilton Head on their way to see my sweet grandparents, so that is a definite plus!
Looking forward to all the festivities of this coming week, and enjoying all the fun we had this weekend has finally put me in the spirit! Not only was Friday my last day of work for two weeks, but my grandparents surprised Robert and I with an overnight visit on Friday evening! They drove over ten hours round trip to literally just have dinner and spend the night with us, did I mention they are the best? We took them to dinner, drove around to see Christmas lights and then came home to give them their Christmas gift and enjoy a piece of my favorite cake that my sweet nana made. An entire cake is pretty much the last thing I need right now with all the other holiday goodies I’ve been consuming but the fact she that she baked it and brought it just for me pretty much melts my heart.
My grandparent’s left around noon on Saturday and Robert and I quickly tidied the house and ran errands before his family holiday party. His mother’s side of the family gets together each year on the weekend before Christmas to enjoy dinner and a White Elephant gift exchange. It’s always a great time and this year was no exception! Robert’s cousin and her husband spent the night with us and Sunday morning we all reconvened once again for breakfast to see everyone off. I was tasked with providing the breakfast casserole, an oldie but always a goodie.
I went with my standby recipe but since our weekend was so busy, I took a few shortcuts that saved me a lot of time and still made a delicious casserole! This recipe makes a large casserole so it’s great for a crowd, although if it’s just you, it also reheats fairly well for about a week after. It can easily be assembled the night before and baked that morning and if you are short on time (and who isn’t around the holidays), the prep for this recipe takes A LOT less time than traditional casseroles. Browning sausage is one of my least favorite things to do in the kitchen. I don’t know why but standing over the stove and breaking meat up with a spatula is my own personal hell. These fully cooked sausage crumbles were truly a great find, and they’re almost the exact same price as a roll of sausage, score! I am almost ALWAYS a proponent of grating your own cheese as it really does taste better, but if your cheese is going straight into a casserole to bake, save yourself some time and buy pre-shredded. I Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! Happy Holidays!
Shortcut Breakfast Casserole
1 20 oz package Shredded Hashbrowns (fresh or frozen, thaw if frozen)
1 9.5 oz package fully cooked Sausage Crumbles
1 8 oz bag Shredded Monterey Jack and Cheddar
1/2 a bunch of green onions, chopped
8 Whole Eggs and 3/4 cup Egg Whites (or 4 egg whites), beaten
1/3 cup of Milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spray a 3 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
2. Spread hashbrowns evenly along the bottom of the dish. Cover with sausage crumbles. Layer cheese evenly over sausage crumbles and hashbrowns. Sprinkle cheese with chopped green onions.
3. Beat eggs, egg whites and milk in a medium bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Pour egg/milk mixture evenly over casserole. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is browned and middle is set.
4. Remove, cool slightly, and serve! I enjoy mine topped with a little light sour cream or hot sauce. Salsa or ketchup would also be yummy!