I use Pinterest to bookmark recipes from one computer to another. I pinned Breakfast Casserole in a Crockpot and was eager to try it soon. After 120 people repinned it over the next week, I knew it was a must try! I wanted to see if it was worth all of the attention! I made it this weekend and it was all it promised to be. Totally yummy and easy to make!
Quiches and stratas are my favorite dishes to make. I make a large recipe and cut it into servings and freeze individually wrapped pieces. Such an easy grab for breakfast or lunch! They’re so easy to make: sausage, bacon or ham, add sautéed onions and red peppers, maybe some mushrooms and/or black olives, cover with shredded cheese, then pour the egg mixture over it all and bake.
I like stratas with the cubed bread that adds more bulk to the dish. The recipe I was using from my Mom had cubed white bread with most of the crusts cut off. Recently on The Chew, Mario Batali was using a cubed and crusty Italian bread in his strata. That sounded fabulous. It looked even more interesting and probably had a totally different texture from the white bread cubes! I haven’t tried it yet, I’ve been too busy making the mini crustless quiches lately. But it’s on my bucket list.
The crockpot recipe seemed ideal. Throw it all together at midnight, get up at 8 am to breakfast all ready to eat! The recipe called for sausage so I used that the first time to honor the recipe’s original ingredients. I think ham or bacon would also be excellent. I browned the sausage on high heat in a non-stick skillet the previous day to pack and carry to my sister’s house where I was staying for the weekend. As always, I made sure the meat was nicely browned and caramelized. Flavor in the brown, as the tv chefs say!
I also chopped the onions and red peppers as well. I like to add those to my egg dishes; it makes that little extra flavor come through. I sautéed them until the onions were translucent and also packed them into a container for transporting.
At my sister Linda’s the next day at about midnight, I pulled out the ingredients and the crockpot. I sprayed the inside of the crock with cooking spray and layered the bag of hash browns first. Then I added the sausage and the onions and red peppers. A large bag of shredded cheese was the last layer.
I used a large measuring pitcher and whisked the eggs, milk, dry mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper. I poured it into the crockpot and started to get nervous. It was almost at the top of the crock and I still had to stir it well to integrate all the ingredients. Using a large slotted spoon I carefully mixed it without incident and set the lid on it.
The crockpot only had two settings: low and high. The directions had said it could be put on keep warm for hours after it was done, so that wasn’t going to happen here with this crockpot. I put the crockpot on low and set the alarm for 7 hours to check on it.
I actually woke up at the 6 hour mark and went to check on our breakfast. It was lovely: risen and puffy and fully cooked. There was a slight puddle of water on top which I assume was from separation of the milk or maybe the melting of the frozen hash browns. No big problem, I tipped it and drained it into the sink.
We were pleased with the finished egg dish. I’m not sure what to call it. Egg bake, maybe. It had an almost fluffy texture, the cheese was integrated throughout the dish and the sausage was very flavorful. It was excellent microwaved the next morning as well. This was a large pot of breakfast and would serve at least 8 people. Or provide quite a few breakfasts for two!
I would like to add more things next time, just to create some different flavors. A couple handfuls of chopped spinach would be awesome. Maybe some chopped black olives. And since I’m more of a bacon or ham person than I am a sausage person, I’d probably try one of those next time.
Since the crockpot eggs were done in 6 hours, I shut it off and left it in the crockpot. I figured we could microwave it to heat it as we each woke and wanted to eat breakfast. That worked out well. Later when I emptied the leftovers into a container to refrigerate, I noticed one side of the pot had burned the eggs slightly. I don’t know if that was the crockpot’s fault or what happened. It was easy to leave that small side bit out of the leftovers and discard it.
That was just a heads up that the temperature might need to be adjusted depending on your crockpot. After your first attempt you’ll know how your crockpot works with the recipe, and know how to adjust the time or temp. My own favorite slow cooker at home has numbered settings so I can set it lower for longer periods of time. But it’s a simple adjustment and the eggy breakfast was totally worth it. And worth all of the repins it continues to get on Pinterest!
Breakfast Casserole in a Crockpot
adapted from Joy on my Journey
1 lb sausage
26 oz. bag frozen hash browns
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and pepper
16 oz. bag shredded cheddar cheese (I used half sharp and half white cheddar)
Spray crock pot and evenly spread hash browns at the bottom.
Crack 12 eggs in a large bowl.
Mix well (and slowly) using a whisk. Add the milk, ground mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
Cook the sausage on high heat, drain and add on top of hash browns.
Sauté the onions and red peppers in a skillet with the oil. Add to the crock pot.
Pour the egg mixture over everything in the crock pot. Using a big spoon, mix well so it’s all spread evenly.
Turn the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours or make this the day before and keep it on warm all night.