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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

quick and easy breakfast casserole with ham, peppers, potato pancakes and cheese

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Hard to believe that it's been a year since my last post...I have to confess there have been many occasions when I've been tempted to just shutter the whole blog idea.  I'm still cooking a lot, but with kids, work, and life in general, something just really had to give and it was the blog.  I'm going to try to post more often in 2017 (though I'm sure I've said that before).  Part of my strategy is that I'm going to try to make things a bit easier on myself...I just got a new phone, and it takes pretty decent photos.  So you'll probably see more posts with phone photos.  Not the same as the DSLR, but it's also WAY less hassle for me.

Anyway, back to this recipe.  I actually feel compelled to share it, because I've made it three times in the last month.  And for anyone who knows me, this is a truly, truly exceptional circumstance. It's just really good and really simple, and could not be more perfect for busy holiday times.  

There are a million different breakfast casserole ideas out there, and this one is not hugely groundbreakingly different, but here are the reasons that I like this one:

1. You can throw it together in about 15 minutes.  No pre-frying, nothing complicated.  Some chopping, but not a crazy amount.
2.  The secret ingredient potato pancake crust gives this casserole a little bit of indulgence.  It's not super healthy, but it's so tasty.  An alternative could be to shred your own potatoes and pre-saute them with some grated onion, salt and pepper. But trust me on the potato pancakes.
3. It uses a dozen eggs.  Many of the other casserole recipes out there only use 6-8, so I find they aren't as hearty and filling as this one.  This makes 12 legit servings.
4.  You can either bake this right away or let it sit overnight, which makes it great for either a last minute brunch or for one where you need to plan ahead.  It reheats well too.  The first time I made it, I just cooked it Sunday night and then hubs and I ate it for breakfast all week.  Yum!

I took this photo on my phone!!!!  Not bad, eh?

quick and easy breakfast casserole

12 servings

1 package McCain Potato Pancakes (I'm linking so you can see the package - this post is not sponsored.  I just really like these - 2022 notes, McCain downsized the package so I now buy 2 packages and use 5-6 from the second package as well)
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2-3 cups ham, cubed
2 c. shredded cheese (aged is better!!! - 2022 note - Farm Boy Fiesta shredded cheese is amazing in this.
1 dozen eggs
1 c milk
2 T dijon mustard
1/2 t salt

To assemble:
1. Lightly oil a 9x13 pan.  Line it with the potato pancakes.  I like to have them go up the sides, because the top bit gets extra brown during baking.

2. Sprinkle the diced onion, diced red pepper and ham over top. (An optional step here is that you can saute the onion and peppers, then add the ham and saute it to get some of the excess liquid out. Not necessary, but does improve the results.

3. Put the grated cheese on top.

4. In a large bowl/pitcher, crack the eggs, add the milk, dijon mustard, salt and some pepper.  I like to use my immersion blender here to make things perfectly smooth.  You'll have best results with a well-blended custard mixture.

5. Pour the egg mixture over the casserole.  You can either bake right away or let it sit in the fridge overnight.

To bake:
1. Put the casserole in a cold oven and turn the oven to 325F (this may just be paranoia on my part, but when taking a cold glass pan from the fridge, I prefer to place in a cold oven to avoid sudden temperature changes).

2. Bake about 1 hour-1h15, uncovered.  I like to bake mine in the top third of my oven, because that way the bottom doesn't get super brown, but the top does.  

3. IMPORTANT: The casserole is done when the egg mixture is set, but you shouldn't eat it right away.  Let it cool for at least 15 minutes.  When you cut in right away, it will be watery.  But if you let things settle and cool for a bit, it's perfect.

We had it on Christmas morning and it was great - super easy for me to just pop in the oven and we let it bake while the kids opened their gifts.  :)  


Deborah said...

I can definitely say this is delicious! You served it to a crowd of hungry relatives the morning after hosting a wonderful foodie 60th birthday party for moi (your mother๐Ÿ˜Š) You also served an amazing French toast baked "thingy" and we all swooped like hungry ravens, it was amazing! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป Actually YOU are amazing ❤️

Carlee said...

This looks yummy! Putting it on my list! (I don't mind iPhone pics, they still look good to me!)

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