Cranberry Walnut Maple Muffins
Makes a generous 9x12 casserole, or a half-sheet catering panful, serving 15 or so.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan(s) with cooking spray. For each panful, rehydrate two containers of freeze-dried hashbrowns according to the package directions and spread out in pan. Top with desired ingredients. For the ham and cheese one I used the leftovers from a spiral-sliced ham, diced into 1/4" cubes, probably a total of 3 cups per panful, and 1/2 to 3/4 of a pound of sharp Cheddar cheese. You can use more or less depending on what you have and how cheesy you want it. For the southwestern version I used two small cans of mild green chiles, 2 sliced and sauteed red peppers, 2 15-oz. cans of black beans, and 1 pound of grated pepper jack cheese. If you want a milder casserole you could use regular Monterey jack. Whisk or beat six eggs with one cup milk (I threw in one extra egg per casserole). Pour evenly over the casserole, trying to make sure that the egg mixture gets into all the crevices. Use a spatula to press down on the top of the ingredients. This amount of eggs and milk made a fairly dense and chewy casserole; if you want it creamier then you could add extra liquids, keeping the proportions of 2-3 tablespoons milk to one egg. I think when I make this again I'll use eight eggs and 1 1/4 cups of milk.
Bake for 30 minutes and then check the middle with an instant-read thermometer. It should be 160 degrees and may need another 10 minutes or so. Then let sit for 10-15 minutes. Keep warm in a chafing dish or on an electric serving tray if you're going to be serving this over a long time. Since we start serving at 8:30 and then take breaks throughout the morning, I made sure this stayed hot during that time.
The variations for this are almost endless: you could use browned ground beef with taco seasoning in the place of some or all of the black (or kidney) beans, or use Italian sausage, Italian seasonings, and mozzerella/Romano for a pizza version, or . . . whatever you want. The potatoes and cheese stay the same, with the protein provided by beans or meat. Just leave enough room in the casserole for the egg/milk mixture.