Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Egg & Cheese Hash Brown Waffles

Matthew started the second grade this week and while I will miss having him around the house, it was definitely time for him to begin. I really like the routine that comes with the school day. Our family is forced to get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and leave the house at an early hour. I like the sense of accomplishment that comes with having run all my errands, performed my morning chores and finished my workout routine all before 10:30 AM! While I do not especially enjoy getting up super early - even earlier this year since school stars quite a bit earlier than before - I appreciate the benefits of a structured life, especially after living such an unstructured one this summer! The girls miss their brother, but the house has been remarkably more quiet without the constant bickering between Matthew and Emma. I've also enjoyed being able to go about my chores without hearing a never-ending string of animal facts and trivia from my little chatterbox. He seems to be having a good year so far and has some great kids in his class. He has enthusiastically headed to school each morning. Let's hope that enthusiasm continues!

Having some extra time in my morning means I've had a bit more time to test recipes and I've got a simple and delicious one for you today!

I had heard of making perfectly crispy hash browns using a waffle iron before and had bookmarked several recipes for it but the moment to make them never seemed right; my laziness always got in the way. When you're too lazy to make hash browns, especially when they involve pre-shredded potatoes, you have a problem. Then, I stumbled across a recipe for these Egg & Cheese Hash Brown Waffles and the pictures made me want to jump through my computer screen and eat one immediately. The time had arrived!

The recipe is stupid simple to prepare. Whisk, add, mix, and your potatoes are ready to be cooked. Now, cooking them was a little bit more tricky. My first "waffle"was a complete failure. The stupid thing wouldn't come out of my waffle maker until I took a fork and practically dug out each piece, leaving a heap of super-appetizing broken up potatoes on the serving plate. I began to despair that perhaps I had spent too much time away from the kitchen. I couldn't even make some stupid hash browns with my waffle iron! However, the subsequent batches of waffles turned out much, much better - they held their shape, were easy to remove, and were deliciously crispy.

A couple tips I learned:

1) Every waffle iron is different, so the setting that worked for me (medium-high) might not work for you with the make and model of iron you own. Do not be afraid to play with the settings as you cook these!

2) Liberally oil your iron with vegetable or canola oil. I kept a little ramekin of oil nearby and brushed a new coat on between batches. The oil is essential to ensure that these do not stick and turn out crispy!

3) I found that I had to leave these in my waffle iron long past when the sensor claimed they were done. This ensured optimal crispiness and ease of removal.

4) To ensure that all diners be served at once, keep the finished batches of waffles in a 200-degree oven until you have used up all your potato batter.

Do give these a try! My kids loved them, but really they love any meal centered around eggs. I don't know any kids who eat more eggs than mine. Breakfast for dinner is a major hit around here. I enjoyed these hash brown waffles for both lunch and dinner in one day, which shows how much I like them!

Egg & Cheese Hash Brown Waffles
from Yellow Bliss Road

1 20-ounce package Shredded Hash Browns (I weighed mine out of a 32 ounce bag)
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup fresh chopped chives, plus some for garnishing
Salt & pepper
Fried eggs, for serving

Heat waffle iron on the medium-high setting. Coat each side liberally with canola or vegetable oil.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Stir in potatoes, cheese, chives, salt, and pepper.

Depending on the size of your waffle iron, scoop a layer of the potato mixture onto the surface (for the round waffle maker, I used about 1 cup of the mixture). Spread to about 1/2 inch from the edges and close the waffle iron. Cook for about 5 minutes, checking every few minutes to avoid burning. I found that mine took much longer to get brown and crispy. When the entire waffle is golden brown in color, carefully remove from the waffle iron with a fork. Transfer to a warm (200 degree) oven while you make the remaining waffles.

Serve with some fried eggs over top and a sprinkling of extra chopped chives.

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