What started off as an idea to make buttermilk pancakes became so much more. Once I decided to have the SIL over for breakfast, I thought fried apples would be a good addition to the pancakes, but that still might not be enough food for us all. Then I thought “what else goes well with pancakes?” That question led me to think of my favorite side dish at Cracker Barrel, (which costs a ridiculous $2.59 for a dinky serving – seriously, the plate is the size of a saucer) the super yummy-not-so-good-for-you hash brown casserole! I did a naughty thing by adding some leftover bacon to the mix of ingredients, but I did leave out lots of the butter that the recipe called for. Also instead of cheddar cheese, I added a full 8 ounces of Colby Monterey Jack cheese. I did M a favor by sautéing the onions until they were soft and translucent – he really doesn’t like the strong flavor. In addition to these tasty vittles, M requested biscuits and sausage gravy! Who does he think I am?;o) The night before I browned the breakfast sausage, made the buttermilk biscuits and readied the casserole for the oven. In the AM, all I have to do is cook the apples, make the gravy, put the casserole in the oven and cook some scrambled eggs! Whew!
Wow – this breakfast was delish! The casserole was the bomb – sorry to use such a stupid word to describe it but I couldn’t think of a better one!;o) I will make this again and everyone will love me for it! The biscuits and sausage gravy came out really well – so much better than Cracker Barrel’s salty mess they call gravy…and the baked scrambled eggs weren’t bad either. Baking them created a light and fluffy finished product and it was so much easier than cooking 10 eggs on the stove. This is the largest breakfast I have ever taken on, but it was so much easier because I planned ahead and didn’t have to make all these in the morning. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
*Cracker Barrel’s Hashbrown Casserole – adapted from Tablespoon
- 2 pounds frozen hash browns, thawed
- 1/2 cup butter, melted (*I used around a TBSP total, maybe two)
- 1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of chicken soup
- 1 pint sour cream (I used about 1/3 cup less)
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped (I softened these in a couple tsp of butter)
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (*I used Colby Monterey Jack)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then grease one 13×9 inch baking dish.
2. Combine all the ingredients together and pour into prepared pan. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
*Sausage Gravy – adapted from Taste and Tell
- 1 – 16 oz. tube of pork sausage
- Additional fat if needed: bacon grease or butter
- 4 TBSP flour
- 3 cups milk
- Salt and pepper to taste – don’t skimp!
Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet or large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and break it up into bite size chunks, but don’t break it up too much, you want nice cocoa puff sized chunks. Brown the sausage and get some fond on your pan.
Turn the heat down to medium. Remove the sausage and drain, reserving the fat. Return about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the rendered sausage fat into the pan. If you don’t have enough fat, add a little bacon grease or butter to bring it up. Add the flour and cook while whisking until the roux is golden brown. Keep stirring and slowly pour in your milk, making sure to whisk out all the lumps. If it looks too thin, don’t worry, it’ll thicken once it simmers. If you like your gravy super thick, use less milk (2 or 2 1/2 cups). Once you added all the milk, return the sausage back to the skillet, add herbs if you want to get fancy, and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Simmer the gravy until it’s thickened and serve it over your split biscuits.
*Oven Baked Scrambled Eggs – adapted from One Perfect Bite
Ingredients for 6 or 12:
- 3 to 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 12 to 24 large eggs
- 1 to 2-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 to 2 cups milk
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 11-inch glass pan with cooking spray if using 12 eggs. Spray a 9 x 13-inch glass pan if using 24 eggs. Pour butter into baking dish.
2) Beat eggs, salt sour cream and milk in a large bowl. When completely blended, pour egg mixture into pan.
3) Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir well, folding sides and bottom toward center and top of pan. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until eggs are set but still soft. Fluff with fork to form curds. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 to 12 servings.
*Fried Apples – adapted from La Fuji Mama
- 2 medium apples ( I used three small Fuji apples)
- 2 tablespoons butter (I used a little less)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I used about 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1. Peel and core the apples and then slice them into 1/4-inch wedges.
2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the butter has fully melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and then quickly place the apple slices in a single layer on top of the brown sugar. With a wooden spoon, stir the apples to coat them in the butter and brown sugar. Continue to stir the apples. When the butter and brown sugar have formed a syrup, sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt over the ingredients in the pan and stir to incorporate.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir the apples until they are fork tender and the syrup has reduced and thickened slightly. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the apples cool for several minutes. Serve alone, or as a topping for ice cream.