When my daughter visited for Thanksgiving she asked if she could make breakfast on Sunday. She told me ahead of time what I should have on hand and this is a wonderful recipe for brunch guests. It is a colorful dish and comes together in no time. A jellyroll pan is the best kind of pan to use. We used a 9 x 13 pan but needed to bake it a little longer because it was thicker in the middle. You must always cook eggs well. If a crowd is not coming and you wish to make it for a couple, use an 8 x 8 pan and cut recipe in half. And don’t forget to serve your favorite salsa on the side. We also had cut-up fruit and coffee cakes to round out the brunch. I hope you agree that this is easy to prepare and delicious!

Ham & Cheese Brunch Squares

1 tsp. olive oil

3 cups (12 oz.) grated Colby & Monterey Jack cheese blend, divided

1 pkg. (22.5 oz.) frozen toaster hash brown patties, thawed (10 patties)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened (microwave on HIGH 15-20 seconds or until softened)

12 eggs

½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

8 oz. thickly sliced deli ham (or half a ham slice)

3 oz. sliced mushrooms, cut in half

4-5 green onions with tops, divided (1 cup sliced)

3 plum tomatoes

Additional coarsely ground pepper (optional)

Salsa to use when served

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Lightly brush pan with oil. Grate cheese (or buy Kraft already grated cheese). Crumble hash browns over pan; press gently into an even layer. Sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over hash browns. Bake 13-15 minutes or until crust starts to brown and cheese is melted.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add eggs and black pepper; whisk until smooth. On a cutting board, coarsely chop ham. Slice green onions, reserving ¼ cup of the tops for garnish. Place ham, mushrooms and remaining green onions into a 10” sauté pan; cook and stir over medium heat 2-3 minutes or until hot. Stir ham mixture into egg mixture using a scraper.
  3. Remove pan from oven. Pour egg mixture over crust. Return pan to oven; bake 6-8 minutes or until center is set (especially if you use a deeper pan). Meanwhile, slice tomatoes in half lengthwise, scrape out seeds and dice. Remove pan from oven; top with remaining cheese, tomatoes and reserved green onion tops. Sprinkle with additional black pepper, if desired. Cut into squares and serve with a flat spatula or turner.

This should yield 12 nice servings. Any squares left over can be placed in a tight container (like Tupperware) and reheated in the microwave. I tried this and heated each square for 1 ½ minutes. It was as good, if not better, the second time.

If desired, 2 cups cooked and crumbled pork sausage (3/4 pound) or 1 pound bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled, can be substituted for the ham. Be creative – use some of each. Chopped green and/or red peppers would do nicely in the egg mixture.

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