H knows how to welcome people into her home. The first time I visited, she greeted me like we’d known each other for years; she offered me food and drink, and showed me to where my friend was in the backyard roasting coffee beans in a popcorn popper. She left us be, but was a delight throughout the evening, chatting amiably during dinner. I recently hosted her in my home and nothing could have brought me more relief and excitement than hearing “You are being such a good hostess!” – it made me feel like our house was really a home.
H, for those who haven’t caught on, is my mother-in-law; that “friend” with the coffee beans is now known as Husband.
H has given me a variety of cooking tricks and tips over the years, but for the wedding she passed me the recipe for a Crockpot Breakfast Scramble, which my nervous self kept putting off because it seems like voodoo: put things into a crockpot before bed and have delicious breakfast perfuming the house in the morning? Too good to be true! But finally, on a Saturday night in February, I browned the sausage and dumped the rest of the ingredients into the crockpot and went to bed. Husband laughed at me when I went downstairs right before falling asleep, just to check if the kitchen was on fire. It wasn’t: instead, the sizzle and burble of the sausage and the hash browns comforted me.
The next morning, I couldn’t smell the casserole, but with every step I took downstairs, the gentle aroma of cooking potatoes, with an edge of cheddar cheese, grew stronger. When I walked into the kitchen, I saw the mound of frozen things had oozed down into a wide golden dome with brown sides; bits of cheese had fried into crispy edges as well and the whole thing smelled heavenly. I fluffed and mixed it, added salt and pepper, and served it to Husband in bed – he said it was tasty and I enjoyed it both for its convenience and the savory mix of breakfasty flavors.
It seems fitting that such a recipe would be in H’s purview, since I can see this being the perfect feast for hungry family members after a long night of playing darts, watching movies, and winning some card games (common pastimes in their house). It guarantees that no one has to get up extra-early to cook, but is still likely to generate some “ooohs” and “mmmms” when everyone does wake up. As I sink my teeth into another serving, I feel like I’m back in H’s house, looking out over the mountains, and feeling at home.
H’s Crockpot Breakfast Scramble (Love this!)
1 bag frozen hash browns
1 16oz. roll of sausage cooked (I like Jimmy Deans, hot)
16 oz. shredded cheddar
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
then make it yours: tabasco, peppers, olives, onion, etc.
Spray crockpot. Hashbrowns on the bottom. Then sausage, then your choices, then cheese, mix altogether. Pour liquid and other ingredients well mixed on top. Cover, cook 6-8 hours on low – serve alone or on tortillas for breakfast burritos.
(I have yet to try the breakfast burrito variation, but that’s on the list! It will also make this a great option for lunches.)