A couple of weeks ago I was working, as usual, when my husband, Ervin, called and told me we had a house full of teenagers. He had run to the store for more mandatory supplies, chips and various requested items. I was called to review what was already in our pantry. That evening I had planned hot roast beef sandwiches, but the menu changed when some of the friends stayed over.
Then the next weekend we had several people at the breakfast table on Sunday morning. They come and they go and I just keep right on cooking! Don’t kid yourselves, I love every minute of it, especially when I’m home! Since I work weekends it’s not always easy to be a gracious host when I run out the door to work. When my surprise overnight guests were here I reached for this very seasoned casserole. Made the night before we slid it in the oven as I exited the house. Not only did the kids love it, Phillip enjoyed every serving that was leftover. It also is great with a salad as an evening or lunch/brunch entrée.
Probably close to 35 years ago I started making this recipe. However I made it for quite some time and then stopped for some reason. Actually I believe it was because I could not find dry hash brown potatoes. I apologize for not having an exact dry potato measurement but the amounts can range from 4 ounces per box to 8-9 ounces. When the group of boys were here I didn’t even use a recipe. I just started throwing things together. In the dish I used dry onions because they aren’t as visible as fresh tend to be. I also used 2 1/2 cups of milk instead of 1 1/2 water and then only 1 cup of milk. This worked just fine.
For the meat in this recipe you can modify with whatever the family likes best. A couple of weeks ago I used cooked sausage that I had in the freezer. I also raised the eggs to 9 versus the 5 called for in the recipe. With young people I always use cheddar cheese, and usually more than what’s needed in the dish.
On the home front I keep telling folks that it’s time to stock for the off-season or what everyone else calls ‘winter’. I’ve been buying things in bulk and then using the vacuum sealer to package meats. This week at one of our stores they had Pork Butt for .99 lb. I baked 7 pounds today and tonight I processed and bagged.
Then when I’m tired, or 8 kids drop by unexpectedly, I’m ready to rock and roll.
Many years ago my sister, Judy, told me that you ‘always’ keep your cupboards full when you have teenagers. You want the kids to congregate at your house because you’re always stocked with food. This way you know where they are. It’s been one of the best pieces of advice, also one I continue to repeat in this column.
Just in case you are wondering what I always have one hand, I’ll give you a few ideas: frozen hamburgers, brats and hot dogs, spaghetti sauce and beef, pasta, popcorn, eggs, potatoes, fruit, cereal, and milk, lots of milk! I also keep pizza crusts in the deep freeze and plenty of cheese. It’s a good feeling when the kids want to gather at your home. Sometimes it means wearing many, and I do mean ‘many’ hats, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
School started here this week and it’s just another reminder that fall is right around the corner. Enjoy the sunshine and make someone’s day. Last week my sis called as she was in a drive thru for coffee. When she got to the window the car ahead had paid for her beverage. What a surprise, what did she do? Passed it forward, of course! Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
Egg, Ham & Potato Casserole
1 box of dry hash browns, (dehydrated 5-9 oz.)
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup milk
1 cup chopped ham
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon salt*
1 teaspoon dry mustard
5-9 eggs, beaten
Paprika for sprinkling over the top
Mix everything together and pour into a greased, 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
Serves 10-14 persons. This recipe seems to adapt whether I have 5 eggs or nine.
*This recipe is at least 35 years old. Today we tend to watch our salt more closely. You may desire to omit entirely, or even substitute with another herb or spice.