1 package (30 oz.) frozen shredded hash browns
½ cup (1 stick) melted butter
salt and pepper
1 and ½ cups (packed) Monterey Jack cheese - shredded
1 and ½ cups (packed) cheddar cheese - shredded
1 and ½ to 2 cups Black Forest ham* - cut into bite sized pieces
8 large eggs
1 and ⅓ cups evaporated milk or cream
1 tsp. seasoned salt
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. dry mustard powder - optional
¼ tsp. onion powder - optional
*Any kind of smoked ham will work in this recipe, even deli sliced ham will do. If I don't have any leftover ham, I often buy a $5 ham steak. You could also use an equivalent amount of cooked bacon or cooked sausage.
*Although you could make this casserole from start to finish on the same day, we have chosen to follow the overnight directions so that we could use it on Christmas morning after present opening.
THE NIGHT BEFORE:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick spray or grease with butter.
Dump the bag of frozen hash browns into the pan (No need to thaw them first).
Melt a stick of butter in a small bowl and put evenly over the potatoes. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper. Use a spoon to gently toss all together, then spread it out so that it's even.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and slightly browned on top.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Layer the Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese over the potatoes. Add the ham. (You can leave everything layered or use a spoon to gently toss potatoes, ham and cheese together.) Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight.
In a large bowl, whisk together 8 eggs, evaporated milk or cream, seasoned salt, kosher salt, pepper, dry mustard and onion powder. Beat well. Cover egg mixture and refrigerate overnight.
IN THE MORNING:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk the egg mixture once more, then pour over the potatoes in the casserole dish, making sure everything gets wet.
Bake at 350 for 45 - 55 minutes. It is done when bubbly, when the edges start to brown and the center doesn't wiggle then you shake the pan.