Hashbrown Enchilada Casserole

Nothing is better than sharing a great meal with friends, so it seemed only fitting to celebrate my birthday with a brunch. What's more I spent more time planning what to serve than actually cooking, but that's as it should be. Most of my menu consisted of baked goods, that I could prepare ahead of time. But I wanted something heartier for the table, yet still easy so I wouldn't spend my entire morning cooking. Anyone who knows me know how much I love potatoes, and southwestern flavors. Thus, the inspiration for my hashbrown enchilada casserole. The recipe went over really well with my brunch guests, and what I really love about this recipe that you can set it and forget it. All the ingredients go in a slow-cooker overnight and in the morning, it's ready to serve.

1 bag frozen cubed hashbrowns
2 bell peppers
1 onion
2-3 medium-size tomatoes
1 can green chiles
2 cups cheddar jack or jalapeño jack cheese
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried jalapeño 

1. Dice bell peppers, onion and tomatoes.
2. Combine sour cream, milk, eggs and spices. Beat well.
3. In a slow-cooker on low heat, layer half of the hashbrowns, then half of the bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and green chiles. Lastly add a layer of cheese. Repeat with the remaining half of the hashbrowns, vegetables and cheese. 
4. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the hashbrown casserole. 
5. Cook for 6.5 hours, then lower the slow-cooker to warm until you're ready to serve. 

Serves 8-10

Quinoa with Sausage, Zucchini and Crimini Mushrooms

3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup water
8 oz. sausage
1 red sweet onion
12 crimini mushrooms
1/4 cup sun-dried tomato
Olive oil

1. In a large sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Add quinoa and let simmer for 12 minutes.
2. Dice zucchini, mushrooms, onion and sun-dried tomato.
3. In a saute pan, heat olive oil. Add sausage and cook until no longer pink. Add vegetables and saute for 5-7 minutes.
4. Add quinoa to pan and toss well. Add olive oil as needed if dry.

Serves 2-3

Swiss Chard & Sausage Pasta

1/2 lb. pasta
1 bunch swiss chard
8 red pearl onions
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 roma tomato
3/4 cup mushrooms
2/3 lb. Italian sausage
2 tbsp olive oil
Mizithra cheese

1. Boil pasta for 6-8 minutes until al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. In a skillet cook Italian sausage until lightly browned and no longer pink.
3. Rinse vegetables. Chop swiss chard, mushrooms and tomatoes into 1/4 in. pieces 
4. In a large sauce pan combine olive, garlic, swiss chard and mushrooms. Cook until swiss chard is wilted. 
5. Add pasta, tomatoes and sausage. Toss well and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
6. Serve with grated mizithra cheese.

Serves 2-3