But not for long. Just before dark fell that night and temps were about to plummet into the danger zone, I ran out and brought these last vestiges in. These survivors deserved some special recipe to commemorate them. Christmas morning! What would be more appropriate than to use them in my Christmas-morning brunch? Like red and green confetti they could dot the cheesy top of the casserole with the hash-brown potato base. I set them aside in the refrigerator and saved them for my food preparation which would take place in a few days.
This past Saturday morning they—and Crispy Potato Breakfast Casserole—along with the Chocolate Oatmeal Apple Muffins from a previous blog—made their debut. How glad I was that the pepper plants had held forth until only a few days ago so these fresh, chopped-up peppers could help us wish our guests (the aforementioned adult kid and her spouse and baby, who spent the night with us so Santa could visit ALL of them, not just the baby) a Merry Christmas!
The casserole was beautiful; since it made an ample amount in a 9-by-13-inch dish, it continues to be lunch and dinner while we chill a little from the frenzy of holiday food preparation and are happy to feast on leftovers. Soon the new year turns over; I can gaze out at my totally bare garden plot now and envision the scene a few months hence when it all springs back to life. Until then, I'm glad I have my supply of red and green peppers frozen in the deepfreeze.
Crispy Potato Breakfast Casserole
1 (30-ounce) package frozen shredded hash-browns, thawed
2/3 cup melted butter
2 cups shredded hot pepper cheese
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups diced cooked ham
1 cup skim milk
1 cup egg substitute
1/2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash)
1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
Press thawed hash browns between paper towels to remove moisture. Grease 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole; fit hash browns into it. Form a crust over bottom and up sides of dish. Brush crust with melted butter. Be sure to brush top edges. Bake 425 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle cheese and ham evenly over bottom of crust. Beat skim milk with egg substitute and salt. Stir in diced peppers. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center emerges clean (or the night before serving, bake the crust only. To crisp again place in oven 10 minutes before you add filling and let the crust crisp up while the oven preheats. Add filling and bake.)