21 April 2009
Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays: Em Hash
Quick dinners that fill up bellies for relatively few pennies are my friends. When I get home from trekking across campus all day I'm often far from in the mood for complicated meal prep or long cooking times. This dish has neither. It isn't the absolute healthiest thing we've ever eaten, but paired with a cooked veggie and a green salad it isn't all that bad.
You will need ...
sausage ... crumbled or smoked links (or any other protein of your choice)
cubed hashbrowns ... either real potatoes or a bag of frozen
You will not measure any of these things. I am not a measuring kind of girl. I throw in what looks like enough based on my family's appetites and histories with a certain meal, especially this one. Sometimes I'm way off and someone starves or there are 30 days worth of leftovers (not really that exciting after 2 or 3), but most often it works out alright. I suggest experimenting with what looks appropriate for your family. The more wacky things you add to it, the farther it goes.
Now, to get started I cut up the smoked sausage in little disks. When I use uncased sausage, I just crumble it into the pan. These chopped nicely into little rounds, because well ... they were frozen solid when I started dinner.
No need to defrost, just cut them up anyway. They cook just fine from frozen, and better yet, there's no time spent on defrosting. If you're smarter than I, take them out earlier in the day. I just toss them all into the pan regardless.
The added benefit of tossing them in frozen is the pretty steam show. Also, the pan you see is my very favorite one in the whole world: a cast aluminum caldera. It's the.coolest.pan.ever. Once the sausage has a chance to brown a little, make a little divet by pushing all the sausage pieces to the outside of the pan around the edges and toss in the potatoes.
As you can see, also frozen. I would advocate breaking them up in the bag before tossing them in because they're easier to work with. I, because I was taking pictures for this post instead of paying attention to what I was doing, forgot that step. Usually I beat them on the counter a few times and call it good once they're broken into manageable chunks. Then throw in about a 1/2 cup of water, slap on the lid and let it hang out for a little while (5-6 minutes, stir, then another 5 or so until the hasbrowns are cooked through).
While you're waiting ... clean the counter, sort the mail, oh, and make some eggs. I just break them into the pan and 'scramble' them from there. No need for more bowls or utensils or the like.
Once the hashbrown time is up, take the lid off and give it a good stir. It will not be pretty. The water will have deglazed the sausage goodness off the bottom of the pan and the water will likely look like something out of a dirty bird bath. Do not be alarmed. It will also look a bit like soup. Rest assured it will get better.
See, I warned you ... soupy. Leave the lid off and turn the heat up a bit to give the potatoes some coaxing to soak up all that flavor-fest goodness. The extra heat also cooks off whatever water the potatoes can't handle. Stir frequently as it will start to stick once it starts to dry up a bit.
Once the potatoes look like potatoes again, throw the eggs in and give everything a solid stir. Grab your shredded cheese (any kind will do) and toss a handful or so on top. I usually put the lid on for a few minutes after that (off the heat) to let the residual heat from the pan melt the cheese. It should look something like this ...
It's not the prettiest thing I've ever made. It's not the healthiest, though it can be changed up with just about any protein (chicken or turkey sausage, for example) or even dinner leftovers (just throw in some spices ... oregano, sage, pepper to taste to replace the sausage's natural seasoning). It is sooooooo good, though, and it is absolutely cheap to make based on what you have on hand. You can throw in extra veggies if you have them (tomatoes and bell peppers are particularly good). My favorite: it's easy peazy and requires almost no time. I mean, really, I just put frozen things in a pan and they turn into magic. That's why my family named it after me.