Prepare sausage according to package instructions, cool slightly and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside. In a bowl, combine hash browns, butter, salt and pepper; divide evenly into 12 greased muffin cups. Press mixture onto sides and bottom of muffin cups. Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven, divide sausage pieces into muffin cups. In a bowl, combine eggs, cheese and bell pepper. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle with chives or onion. Return to oven, bake 13-15 minutes or until set. Serve.