English muffins are a staple in my house, my P.S. being a bread man. I love them simply toasted with peanut butter on them, but when they come in a package of 12, that’s a lot of English muffin eating for just two of us. Unless we want to eat one every day, we need to find other uses. When I saw the recipe for a casserole using English muffins, I knew that had to happen.
The recipe is either called McMuffin Casserole or Eggs Benedict Casserole, depending on which site you look at. The first recipe is a basic layered breakfast casserole; the second recipe you make a Hollandaise sauce to put over the dish. I opted for the first recipe version, for this first attempt.
I really do know how to make a Hollandaise sauce, but that’s best made just before eaten, and requires a group of people eating together since it doesn’t save and reheat very well without breaking. I’ll save that version for holidays when I’m feeding a group of overnight guests. For just the two of us, we’ll do the virtual visit to the golden arches.
Super simple recipe, I started by spraying a 11″x8: Corning ware dish. Any 9”x13” or comparable ovenproof dish will also work. The original recipes all called for only using an 8″x8″ pan. I wanted a larger recipe and so adjusted the ingredient quantities.
I separated the muffins into halves before cutting into cubes. They could be torn instead for a more rustic look; I didn’t bother this time. I spread half of the cubes into my baking dish for the first layer.
I’d picked up a package of sliced ham, and cut that into smaller squares. I spread half of the ham over the layer of muffins, then half of the shredded cheese. I used a shredded cheddarjack cheese I had on hand; cheddar or a blend with cheddar would also work well.
Then I started over with a bread layer, the rest of the diced ham, and lastly the rest of the shredded cheese on top. Since my pan was a bit smaller than the 9”x13” recommended size my casserole was a bit deeper. No problem, I just made sure I baked it a little longer.
In a large mixing pitcher I whisked the eggs, milk and seasonings together, then poured it over the pan, making sure it was evenly saturated. I covered the pan and refrigerated it for an hour to allow the liquid to equalize somewhat in the pan. At this point it could be refrigerated overnight and baked in the morning.
After an hour I preheated the oven to 350°F and removed the plastic covering from the pan. I slid the pan into the oven and set the timer for 45 minutes. When the timer rang I inserted a knife in the center to test it; it was still fairly wet so I let it bake another 10 minutes, until another knife test showed that it was all set. I let it cool a few minutes to firm up and served it on plates.
We loved the casserole. It really was like eating one of those breakfast muffin sandwiches from the golden arches. It was a good combination of moist and dry- the egg custard was creamy yet firm, the muffins a bit crispy on the top layer that was more exposed to the heat. Even the next day, reheated in the microwave it was great. I think it would freeze well in individual portions, but my pan didn’t last long enough to try that.
This will definitely be one of our go-to recipes for using English muffins. I could see it made with fried, crisped up bacon or crumbled sausage as well. I think a layer of fresh spinach would give it a “Florentine” profile that would be delicious too. And of course I still want to try it with the Hollandaise sauce to make it a true “Eggs Benedict” casserole one of these days. That might be our new holiday version.
English Muffin Breakfast Bake
6 English muffins, split and cut into 1″ chunks
6 oz diced ham
2 cups cheddar cheese; shredded
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground mustard
Grease a 9×13 or comparable sized square baking dish.
Layer half the English muffins, half the ham, and half the shredded cheddar. Repeat layers.
Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper and ground mustard in a medium bowl. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the casserole.
Wrap the dish with plastic wrap and place refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day.
Bake at 350 degrees 45 to 50 minutes, or until knife tests dry in center.
Serve warm with maple syrup (optional).