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Cheesy Sausage and Potatoes Casserole

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This Cheesy Sausage and Potatoes Casserole is the ultimate comfort food, perfect for breakfast, brunch, or even dinner. Featuring hearty breakfast sausage, shredded hash brown potatoes, and a rich, creamy cheese sauce, this casserole is a crowd-pleaser that’s both delicious and easy to prepare. Whether you’re cooking for your family or hosting a gathering, this dish is sure to satisfy everyone’s cravings.

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Ingredients

Main Ingredients:

  • Bulk Mild Breakfast Sausage: 1 lb
  • Shredded Frozen Hash Brown Potatoes: 16 oz, thawed
  • Onion: 2 tbsp, finely chopped

For the Sauce:

  • Butter: 3 tbsp
  • Flour: 3 tbsp
  • Chicken Stock/Broth: 1/2 cup
  • Milk: 2 cups
  • Velveeta: 4 oz, cubed (see note)
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste (see note)

Optional:

  • Panko Bread Crumbs: 2 tbsp

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Sausage and Potatoes

  1. Cook the Sausage: In a large skillet, cook the bulk mild breakfast sausage over medium heat until it’s no longer pink, breaking it into crumbles as it cooks. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Combine Sausage and Potatoes: In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked sausage, thawed shredded hash brown potatoes, and finely chopped onion. Mix well and set aside.

Step 2: Make the Cheese Sauce

  1. Melt Butter: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Add Flour: Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and slightly golden, creating a roux.
  3. Add Broth and Milk: Gradually whisk in the chicken stock/broth and milk, continuing to whisk until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Add Velveeta: Add the cubed Velveeta to the saucepan, stirring constantly until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
  5. Season: Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3: Assemble the Casserole

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Combine Mixtures: Pour the cheese sauce over the sausage and potato mixture, stirring until everything is evenly coated.
  3. Transfer to Baking Dish: Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish and transfer the mixture to the dish, spreading it out evenly.

Step 4: Optional Topping

  1. Add Bread Crumbs: If desired, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Panko bread crumbs evenly over the top of the casserole for a crunchy topping.

Step 5: Bake

  1. Bake: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and the top is golden brown.
  2. Cool and Serve: Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

Cooking Notes and Variations

Cooking Notes:

  • Velveeta: Velveeta cheese is recommended for its smooth melting properties, but you can substitute with another melty cheese like cheddar or Monterey Jack.
  • Salt and Pepper: Adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Remember that both the sausage and Velveeta contain salt, so taste before adding extra.

Variations:

  • Spicy Version: Use spicy breakfast sausage and add a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the cheese sauce for a kick.
  • Vegetarian Version: Replace the sausage with vegetarian sausage crumbles and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Loaded Casserole: Add 1 cup of cooked, crumbled bacon and 1/2 cup of chopped bell peppers for an extra hearty casserole.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

A: Yes, you can assemble the casserole up to a day in advance. Cover it tightly and store it in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes and then bake as directed.

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Q: Can I freeze Cheesy Sausage and Potatoes Casserole?

A: Absolutely! Assemble the casserole and let it cool completely. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.

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Q: How do I store leftovers?

A: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven until heated through.

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Q: Can I use fresh potatoes instead of frozen hash browns?

A: Yes, you can use fresh potatoes. Grate the potatoes and squeeze out as much moisture as possible before using.

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Q: What can I serve with this casserole?

A: This casserole pairs well with a fresh green salad, fruit salad, or steamed vegetables.

Keto and Low Carb Version

Keto Version:

  • Potatoes: Replace hash brown potatoes with 1 large head of cauliflower, grated and drained.
  • Sauce: Use heavy cream instead of milk and chicken broth.
  • Velveeta: Ensure the cheese used is keto-friendly.

Low Carb Version:

  • Potatoes: Substitute half the hash brown potatoes with grated zucchini.
  • Sauce: Use a mix of half-and-half and chicken broth for the sauce.

This Cheesy Sausage and Potatoes Casserole is a versatile, comforting dish that can be enjoyed for any meal of the day. Its rich, creamy cheese sauce combined with hearty sausage and potatoes makes it a family favorite. With easy preparation and the flexibility to make ahead or freeze, this casserole is perfect for busy households. Try out the keto or low carb versions to suit your dietary preferences and enjoy a delicious, satisfying meal. Happy cooking!

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