Breakfast / Recipes

Southwest Breakfast Casserole

There is nothing better than a Saturday morning (except for maybe a Sunday morning…only to be exceeded by Sunday afternoons). Okay so maybe I should expand on my previous statement…there is nothing like the weekend. You get to sleep in, no meetings or deadlines, and you can sit in your pajamas all day with absolutely zero judgement.

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This is Riley. He’s staying with us for a week while his family is on vacation. Riley likes to sleep in too. Riley also likes to watch TV, stay in bed all day, and act like a grumpy old man.

But back to Saturday mornings. The only thing better than basking in the glory of your flannel jammies is an indulgent cup of coffee and a gargantuan piece of  breakfast casserole. So this is what you need to be in pajama heaven with me:

Eggs, Milk, Dijon Mustard, Salsa, Bacon, Cheese, Bread, Onions, and a hankering for cowboys on a cattle drive. (just kidding about that last part)

First take some bread that has been toasted in the oven and tear into pieces. (I like whole-wheat french bread. Yum). This is the bottom of your casserole.

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Place the torn bread pieces into the bottom of a non-stick dish and try not to pop them in your mouth as you go. Because if your like me…Bread is a meal all its own. I would be content with bread and bread alone (well…bread and slabs of butter). But don’t quit yet! The casserole is worth it! I pinky promise.

Then melt a couple spoonfuls of butter with olive oil in a frying pan and add half an onion that has been diced. To caramelize the onions, fry on medium heat until golden brown.

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Aren’t they just beautiful?? I’d keep frying to get even more of a golden brown color. But i’m impatient. A girl only has a certain amount of patience and my patience levels have been depleted. Power to you folks that have patience. I envy you. But back to breakfast…

Once you’ve done that, crack 5 eggs into a bowl and add about a cup of milk. Next, add a spoonful of dijon mustard then whisk! And because whisking makes me feel special…whisk some more just because. Add some fresh cracked pepper and salt and…yup, you guessed it…whisk!! woo hoo!

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Now go back to those onions. Acknowledge their beautifulness. Take a whiff of their wonderfulness. *Sniff Sniff* And now go back to the real world. Scoop the onions out of the pan with a spatula and add them to the egg mixture. Careful to leave the buttery cooking oil in the pan. What are we leaving that oil in the pan for you may ask?? Well…to fry bacon in of course!!

Add some hickory smoked bacon to the pan and return to the stove! Now for those perfectionists out there..forget trying to make pretty strips of bacon. Bacon curls…its just a fact of life. And let’s be honest here…its going to get torn up in pieces for the casserole so no need to make them look all cute.

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Alright so here’s the deal…this bacon will get baked (no no no…not that kind of baked…get your head out of the gutter). But the bacon will be baked after being fried so making it crunchy now will only give you little black remnants of what was once bacon and you can kiss your glorious breakfast goodbye. You might as well just start eating the bread pieces. SOOO….here’s what you do. While frying…leave it a little undercooked. I promise it will get finished in the oven and it will be sensational.

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Now remove the bacon and set to the side on a plate. Pretend that you didn’t steal a piece to eat in secret. And then move on…to assembly!!

Take the egg-onion mixture and pour over the bread pieces. Now tear up your pieces of bacon and sprinkle over the casserole. Then comes the debate…

My taste-tester doesn’t like salsa. Unless its served with tortilla chips in a Mexican restaurant. I however have discovered a new affinity for chipotle salsa…on everything (chips, dips, chicken, beans, etc.) So if your a fan of salsa…I say take a spoon and sprinkle a little bit over the bacon! you know you want to (peer pressure peer pressure peer pressure)! Or if your like my taste-tester…don’t add any salsa just yet.

And because nothing says delicious like a generous topping of cheese…we add some. And then we add a little more. And then we look around and say “ah what the heck” and dump the bag of cheese on there!

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Whew, almost done!! I know your breaking out in a sweat so just hang in there. Cover the casserole with foil and pop it in the oven! Bake for 30-35 minutes, take the foil off, bake for 10 more minutes.

Once the eggs are done, take it out of the oven. then step back, admire your work, heap a ginormous piece on a plate and watch people flock from all over to get a piece.

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Riley says “hey, don’t forget about me down here. Give me a piece or I’ll stare at you with my sad puppy-dog eyes until you surrender”

Sorry Riley. None for you…

Add a dollop of salsa and voila! Southwest Breakfast Casserole!

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Then watch as your piece gets stolen when the taste-tester has an epiphany about the awesomeness that is salsa. And has two more helpings to prove his new found attraction.

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Southwest Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 loaf of french bread (enough to cover bottom of casserole dish), diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic dijon mustard
  • 5-10 pieces of hickory-smoked bacon (any bacon or sausage will do)
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • pepper and salt to taste

Optional:

  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 2-3 shakes of Tabasco sauce

Directions:

  1. Dice or  tear bread and toast in oven for 10 minutes at 350° just until slightly crunchy. Place pieces in bottom of non-greased, non-stick casserole dish
  2. Heat oil and butter in frying pan. Add diced onion. Caramelize on medium heat until golden-brown. Add bell pepper and cook until softened (3-4 minutes) and then set aside.
  3. Combine eggs, milk, Dijon mustard, pepper and salt. Stir together.
  4. Add onions and peppers to egg mixture. Reserve the cooking oil for next step.
  5. Fry whole pieces of bacon in the cooking oil. Leave just slightly undercooked. Remove from heat and set aside
  6. Pour egg mixture over bread pieces.
  7. Tear bacon into pieces and sprinkle over egg mixture
  8. (optional: spoon small amounts of salsa or Tabasco over top)
  9. Sprinkle with cheese until covered.
  10. Top with foil and bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until eggs are set and fluffy.
  11. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes.
  12. Remove from oven, cool, serve with salsa or Tabasco.
Note: to give it more of a southwest flavor, consider using hot pork sausage in place of bacon. Just make sure to brown it completely before adding to the casserole.

 

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