We're headed into the season of entertaining, when family sleepovers become common, before and after big holiday meals. I also think of this as breakfast casserole season; everyone is looking for easy, hearty ways to put breakfast on the table in the middle of the zaniness. Well, here you go: One of the simplest, heartiest breakfast casseroles I know how to make.
This is adapted from another potato-egg casserole in my book Not Your Mother's Casseroles, and it's a simple, hearty dish of eggs baked with potatoes and vegetables, with a bit of bacon thrown in for flavor. This is easily adaptable for vegetarians; the one in my book is actually vegetarian, with extra vegetables and peppers standing in for the bacon.
It can also be made ahead: Just mix it all up and put it in the fridge overnight, then bake away in the morning. Leftovers are yummy too.
Bacon, Potato & Egg Breakfast Casserole
4 slices thick bacon, cut into strips about 1/2-inch wide
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, cleaned out and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons salt, divided
8 large eggs
1 cup milk, fat content between 1% and 4% (whole)
1 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups frozen diced potatoes, unthawed
Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13x9" baking dish with baking spray or olive oil.
Put the bacon slices in a large skillet and turn the heat on to medium. Cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until it is crisp. Add the onion, yellow bell pepper, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook over medium heat until all the vegetables are fragrant and soft — about 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly and whisk in the milk. Whisk in the remaining teaspoon of salt, and the black pepper. Stir in the cheese, frozen potatoes, and the bacon and vegetables from the skillet. (Don't worry; the frozen potatoes cook just fine!) Pour the whole mixture into the prepared baking dish. (At this point the casserole can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
When you are ready to bake the casserole, bake for 40 minutes, or until the eggs are firm and the top is slightly golden. A knife inserted in the center should come out clean.
Serve immediately with fruit and rolls or toast.
• This recipe calls for frozen potatoes for the sake of convenience. But if you don't have frozen potatoes and would prefer to use fresh potatoes, substitute one medium potato for each cup of frozen potatoes. Prick the potatoes several times with a fork, then place in the microwave on a paper towel. Cook on HIGH for 8-10 minutes, or until the potatoes are just barely tender. Dice and proceed with the recipe.
(Images: Faith Durand)