When you're searching for a solid make-ahead solution to breakfast, the easy options for breakfast lead quickly to breads and carbs: muffins, oatmeal, coffee cakes. As much as I love a blueberry muffin first thing in the morning, I prefer a more protein- and vegetable-packed breakfast on ordinary weekdays.
The healthier answer to muffins and quick-breads in the make-ahead breakfast game is very simple: the oven omelet. An oven omelet is simply a quick bake of eggs with whatever add-ins you like. Here's one of my favorites: a baked twist on the classic Denver, or Western, omelet.
This recipe is from my book Not Your Mother's Casseroles. I remember when I was going through the editing process my editor kept prompting me to change the title to "oven frittata," but that's just not what these are. A frittata is slightly more complex, since they are started on the stove before baking. I suppose I could have just called this an "egg bake," but I like the speed and ease that "omelet" implies. This really does taste like an omelet, and like an omelet you can easily fold in any flavors or ingredients you like.
The Basic Formula for an Oven Omelet
I've shared a basic formula for an oven omelet with you before:
- Get the recipe: Basic Oven Omelet
I use a base of 10 eggs to 2 cups milk, which I find gives you a firm enough egg bake to slice and carry to work with you, but one that is still a little creamy and tender.
You can throw in anything — leftover cooked vegetables, a handful of leftover sausage scraps, the two types of grated cheese knocking around in the cheese drawer. A morning oven omelet is a wonderful way to use up these little bits.
This particular omelet is full of vegetables and country ham, and it's a great dish to serve on a sunny summer morning. It's colorful and cheery, with the red and green peppers and white onion, and it makes a lovely presentation with slices of bright oranges and brown toast.
Baked omelets really should be more popular; they make it so easy to serve eggs to a crowd! In the time it takes you to make one omelet, you can have this whole bake prepped and into the oven. If you're a cheese-lover like me, sprinkling a little cheddar cheese on top before baking would take it over the top. We served it with a green salad and it was even perfect for brunch.
— Christine, May 2015
Baked Denver Omelet
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
8 ounces ham, diced, about 1 1/2 cups, from about 8 slices
10 large eggs
2 cups 2% milk
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the diced onion, bell peppers, and ham. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onion turns translucent and the peppers are soft and fragrant. Spread the vegetables in the prepared dish.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl and whisk in the milk. Whisk in the salt and a generous quantity of fresh black pepper. Pour over the vegetables and ham.
Make-Ahead Instructions: At this point the casserole can be chilled then frozen, unbaked. Cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with baking as instructed.
Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes, or until the top is slightly golden and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.
Leftovers will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.
Recipe adapted and reprinted with permission from Not Your Mother's Casseroles by Faith Durand (Harvard Common Press, 2010)