Build-Your-Own Breakfast Casserole

We are in full-blown cooped-up winter mode. I love winter because it means tons of extra family time for us, but I sure wish we could get outside without worrying about our skin blistering and shriveling up. I heard somewhere recently that we are on the verge of breaking a record for most days below zero in a single winter (!!). Even my boys have been occasionally asking me things like, "Mom, why don't we live somewhere warmer?" We press on, as Minnesotans do, and get through the bitterness. The warm spring weather will be sweeter than ever this year.

Maybe you've noticed that I have been creating an unusual number of comfort food recipes in the past few months. If there is one thing I'm good at doing while trying not to go stir crazy in our little home, it is eating comfort food. I put together a versatile breakfast casserole the other day because who doesn't love a good, loaded breakfast casserole with tons of options? Begin with the base ingredients, and go as crazy as you want with meat, veggies, extras and toppings. Have fun! Dan and I made a venison/green onion/green bell pepper/parsley version and even with the lean meat, it was fantastic!

10 eggs, beaten

30-oz. bag frozen hash browns, thawed

2 cups milk

2 to 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper, to taste

Ground sausage, beef, turkey or venison (cook in skillet over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink)

Bacon (bake on foil-lined baking sheet at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes until crispy - drain and chop)

Diced cooked ham (pre-packaged) or chopped deli ham

Shredded chicken (bake 2 large breasts at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until juices run clear, or shred meat from a cooked Rotisserie chicken)

1 white, yellow or red onion, chopped (cook in skillet with oilve oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes)

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (cook in skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes)

1 green or red bell pepper, chopped (cook in skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes)

8-oz. package mushrooms, chopped (cook in skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes)

1 medium zucchini, finely chopped (cook in skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes)

2 cups chopped asparagus or 2 cups finely chopped broccoli (lightly steamed)

8-oz. container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved 

2 cups chopped kale or spinach 

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chives or cilantro, finely chopped (cook in skillet with oilve oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes)

2 cloves garlic, minced (cook in skillet with oilve oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes)

1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (cook in skillet with oilve oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes)

Salsa

Sour cream

Avocado slices

Build-Your-Own Breakfast Casserole

Build the breakfast casserole of your dreams! This is the perfect template!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Feb 10, 2014

Serves:

12

Total time:1 hr, 20 min

Build-Your-Own Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

  • ESSENTIALS:
  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 30-oz. bag frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • CHOOSE 1 POUND TOTAL OF THE FOLLOWING MEAT(S) (mix & match, if desired):
  • Ground sausage, beef or venison (cooked in skillet over med-high heat until meat is no longer pink)
  • Bacon (cooked until crispy and chopped)
  • Diced cooked ham
  • Shredded chicken
  • CHOOSE UP TO 2 OF THE FOLLOWING VEGGIES:
  • 1 white, yellow or red onion, chopped (cooked in skillet with olive oil over med-high heat for 3 to 5 min)
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (cooked in skillet with olive oil over med-high heat for 3 to 5 min)
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped (cooked in skillet with olive oil over med-high heat for 3 to 5 min)
  • 2 cups chopped asparagus (steamed)
  • 8-oz. package mushrooms, chopped (cooked in skillet with olive oil over med-high heat for 3 to 5 min)
  • 8-oz. container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups chopped kale or spinach
  • 2 cups finely chopped broccoli (steamed)
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped (cooked in skillet with olive oil over med-high heat for 3 to 5 min)
  • CHOOSE UP TO 2 OF THE FOLLOWING EXTRAS (optional):
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chives or cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
  • CHOOSE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING TOPPINGS (optional):
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado slices

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, hash browns, cheese, milk, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Choose 1 pound total from the meats (mix and match, if desired, but do not exceed 1 pound) and cook as directed. Add to mixing bowl.
  4. Choose up to 2 of the veggies and cook as directed (if cooking is necessary). If using any “extras,” cook along with veggies or alone if veggies do not need to be pre-cooked. Add to mixing bowl.
  5. Mix well and pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Spread evenly and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Add toppings, if desired, and serve!