Breakfast casseroles, like this "eggsquisite" choice made with bacon and beef, are a convenient way to please a fall brunch crowd. Or, make one for yourself and enjoy a serving each day for the rest of the week. Photo by: tasteofhome.com
September 23, 2020 11:12:07 AM
There's something about the teasing taste of fall we've had that stirs thoughts of plaid stadium blankets, wood smoke, cozy sweaters -- and comfort foods. Like seasonal clockwork, our palates begin that inevitable transition from summer's salads and poolside fare to visions of satisfying casseroles, chili and soups, foods we picture ourselves enjoying in front of the fireplace or around a table decorated with autumn colors. I, for one, am ready.
We all have certain foods that fall and winter bring to mind, that tickle our memory. Breakfast casserole is one of those for me. On long-ago holiday mornings when we would visit my brother's family, hot breakfast casserole was often center stage on the table. Who can argue with eggs, cheese, bacon, sausage or ham all together in one helping? Options are endless: shredded potatoes, mushrooms, grits, onions, green peppers. Or you might lean toward the sweet side, like a French toast or fruit-filled pancake casserole.
Yes, these popular dishes tend to be heavy on carbs and fats, but you can trim them up. Seek out recipes that use whole wheat flour or quinoa. Spinach, kale, chia seeds and nuts can have a role to play, says eatthis.com. Use zucchini, broccoli or squash to bulk up a savory casserole. Read up on substituting cauliflower for calorie-laden bread. Oats, berries and chickpeas can be included, good sources of fiber.
Breakfast casseroles are big on convenience. Instead of the frenzy of trying to make separate dishes all come out at the same time the morning-of, prepare your casserole the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning. Some recipes can be made in a slow cooker.
Complement your casserole with muffins, biscuits or bagels. Add a cold fruit salad to the feast, maybe a medley of watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew, or an ambrosia salad with pineapples, mandarin oranges and coconut.
You don't need a special occasion for a delicious casserole. Make one up at the beginning of the week and savor a serving to begin each day. Cooking for one or for a brunch crowd, today's recipes are suited to the season.
EGGSQUISITE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 55 minutes
Makes 12-16 servings
1 pound sliced bacon, diced
2 packages (4-1/2 ounces each) sliced dried beef, cut into thin strips
1 can (4 ounces) sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 cups whole milk
16 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, cubed
Chopped fresh parsley, optional
(Source: tasteofhome.com/Bess Fischer)
SLOW COOKER BREAKFAST CASSEROLE
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
1 package (32 ounces) frozen hash brown potatoes
1 pound sausage browned and drained or 1 pound bacon cooked and crumbled (or use both)
1/2 cup green onions, diced optional
1 medium green pepper, diced optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Colby jack divided
1 dozen eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard optional
Notes: With a base of a dozen eggs, 1 cup milk and hash browns, you can play around with the rest of the ingredients. Exchange the meats for mushrooms, spinach, or other veggies for a vegetarian option. Add cumin, canned green chilies, pepper jack cheese, and serve on a tortilla with salsa as breakfast burrito. You can also make the slow cooker egg casserole in your oven by baking it for 1 hour at 350 F.
OVERNIGHT BLUEBERRY FRENCH TOAST
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
12 slices day-old bread cut into 1-inch cubes
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup fresh blueberries
12 large eggs beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup
Notes: Depending on preferences, use whatever type of bread you choose. The heartier the bread, the more filling the casserole. Crusty French or Italian bread works well. Blueberries can be substituted for any type of fresh fruit. Apples and chopped nuts would be really good. Also, if you would like your French toast casserole to have more of a bread pudding texture and not be as crusty, decrease cooking time by 10 minutes. Check to make sure the center has set up and is not runny.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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