It’s that time of year for large gatherings of family, friends or both. We have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduations and Unit parties. I was first introduced to this special recipe when my daughter visited one Thanksgiving weekend. This 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 the 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!
Brunch for a Bunch
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)
1/2 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
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 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.
- 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 1/4 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.
- 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 1/2 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.