Nothing Says "Weekend" Like Breakfast That's Ready When You Wake Up
The weekend is a time for taking it easy, though that's always a relative term when you have kids. One way to buy yourself some extra leisure time during those precious morning hours is by preparing your breakfast the night before. This Crock-Pot egg bake recipe gently cooks all night, so when you roll out of bed in the morning, there's nothing to do but dish it up for the whole family.
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 4 to 6
- 12 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 bag (20- to 26-ounce) frozen hash brown potatoes
- 1 pound bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped, OR 1 pound bulk pork sausage, browned and drained, OR 1 pound cooked ham, diced
- 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Sauteed leek or onion
- Roasted sweet peppers, homemade or from a jar
- Shredded zucchini, sauteed until it has released most of its moisture
- Mixed fresh herbs, chopped
- Fold a sheet of heavy-duty foil in thirds, so it makes a band 3 to 4 inches wide. Place it in the insert of a 6-quart Crock-Pot, so it forms a ring all the way around the inside. You may need to use more than one piece. Once it's in place, spray the foil and the bottom of the Crock-Pot, or line it with a slow cooker liner bag for easier cleanup.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and the milk or half-and-half with the seasonings. Set this aside.
- Spread half of the hash browns across the bottom of the Crock-Pot, and top them with half of the meat, cheese and green onions. Repeat with the second half of the potatoes, and then the remainder of the meat, cheese and green onions. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the top.
- Cover, and cook on your Crock-Pot's low setting for 6 to 8 hours. If your model has a timer and programmable settings, set it to cook for 6 hours and then keep warm.
- Serve hot from the Crock-Pot.
- Slow cookers vary in temperature, especially at the lower setting. The foil ring helps keep the eggs from cooking onto the sides of your slow cooker if it runs hot, so feel free to skip that step if you know yours maintains a moderate temperature.
- High-moisture add-ins such as zucchini must always be cooked first. Otherwise they'll release too much liquid into the casserole, and the finished dish will be wet and unappealing.
- Instead of the hash browns, you can dice a loaf of bread and toast the cubes, then use them to provide bulk in your casserole. Bread absorbs more liquid, so increase the milk to a full cup and add 2 eggs if you opt for that variation.
- The quantities of meat and cheese given here will make a tasty casserole, but you can increase or even double them, if you wish.
- Starting with frozen potatoes lets the casserole go 8 hours without becoming overcooked and rubbery. Thawing the hash browns first cuts cooking time to 6 hours, if you've stayed up late and need to shorten the process.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.