This is the second in a series of recipes shared by my grandmother Joanie.
Occasionally Joanie will turn to me and say, “It’s hell getting old.” But the other phrase I’ve heard from her over and over is something like, “These are the good ol’ days.” She’ll say that about the present, or when she used to take us to amusement parks as kids, or when she’s telling stories about her youth. It’s not that she doesn’t have a concept of time, but rather that they’re all good ol’ days.
When Joanie began telling me about this casserole, one of her first comments was that this casserole was made after the death of her dear friend Hal. “The lady across the street brought it over the day after he died,” she said. “Everybody loves it. It makes a lot of casserole for a group. Any time anybody comes to Florida I make it the first morning they’re here.”
In the same story, within a few moments, she mentioned death and visitors to her Florida house, where she spends her winters. Life, it seems, is full of sad memories (“it’s hell getting old…”), but those memories become interwoven with the good ol’ days, too.
“He had cancer for eight years, and we were friends of theirs since Sam was three months old. Marie and Hal were wonderful friends of ours for so long. Jimmy misses him. We went on vacation with them. We went to Florida with them. We did go a lot of places, Canada, Michigan, went fishing. They had a cabin up there in Michigan. Hal would always tease me so much.
“I’ve got a lot of recipes from Marie. Marie’s a cook. She does meatballs that are wonderful, stew with dumplings, banana cake, goulash.”
I’m looking forward to testing out a few more recipes from Marie. Her goulash recipe was an old standby that we ate many times at my grandparents’ house, and the banana cake was an occasional treat, too. This breakfast casserole made enough for me to feed about seven people brunch one morning (we also had a bit of salad, some fresh fruit, janky blueberry muffins, coffee and orange juice), and I still had leftovers for a couple days worth of breakfast. It was a definite hit with the crowd, and I’ll happily turn to it again. On my next round, I’ll be experimenting with sweet potatoes and onions, swapped out for the hashbrowns.
Marie’s Sunrise Breakfast Casserole
- 10 large eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1.5 tsp. ground mustard
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
- 1 package (8 oz) shredded cheese
- 1 package (20 oz) shredded hashbrowns
- 1 lb. roll sausage
- Optional: 3/4 cup chopped green onions or 1 cup salsa, for garnish
Brown and drain sausage. Set aside. Mix well in large bowl: eggs, milk, mustard, salt and pepper. Add in hash browns, sausage, cheese and red pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before ready to bake. Pour all contents into greased large baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until set and golden brown. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving with salsa or picante sauce.
PS: Yesterday was Joanie’s birthday! I’m wishing her a very happy belated birthday with this post.