I will just jump right in and say this breakfast casserole is amazing! It hits all my macronutrients and is seriously crave worthy. It seems like every morning I have less and less time to make breakfast. I know part of it is because I should wake up earlier, but really, who wants to do that? I am a half morning person. What I mean by this is that I have no problem waking up early, however for the first ten minutes or so after I wake up, I need to be left ALONE. I put that in all caps, because I mean it. I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to look at anyone, I just want to lay in bed, snuggle with my dogs, and gradually allow my mind and body to wake up. My husband learned very early on to give me that space, because if I don’t get that “me” time, I can be a bit grouchy. The point of the story is that I could get up earlier, but it’s best for everyone that I don’t.
This is why I need breakfast items like overnight oats, baked oatmeal (recipes coming soon on that), and this absurdly delicious breakfast casserole. I can’t find enough adjectives to describe how good this thing is. Really, you have to try it.
The best part is that you can do anything you want to it. Just stick with the base and then adjust as you please. The base is a 20oz package of Simply Potato shredded hash browns, 1/3 cup half& half (or milk/dairy of choice, although I would stay away from almond milk here, I personally do not like the taste of almond milk with eggs), 5 whole eggs and 3/4 cup + 3TBS egg white substitute. You could also just use 10 eggs, but I was trying to keep the fat content down to reach my macros. I will touch on that in a moment. Then add whatever veggies, meat, spices and cheese you want. Bake that baby in the oven for 45 minutes, cool, cut into 10 servings and enjoy for breakfast or a snack all week.
I had some broccoli, bell peppers, and red onion on hand so that’s what I used. I also added garlic, because I believe everything savory needs garlic…and onion, why do they taste so damn good? I also topped it with some green onions because they were starting to wilt. I know that will come as a huge surprise to anyone who has been reading my recipes, because pretty much everything I make is created because something is about to go bad. I swear I am working on that! I also added some al fresco Apple Maple Chicken Sausage, which I bought on BOGO at Publix, so I had a surplus of it. By the way, those freeze great! I usually pop one package in the freezer, and keep one in the fridge. You can take one link out at a time from the freezer and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds and then cook it on the stove top for another two minutes just to brown it up.
I wasn’t sure how the sweet would taste with the savory, but figured what the hell, let’s give it a try. Result = delicious! One thing I want to stress with this recipe is to salt and pepper each layer, it really enhances the flavors. I also added some Franks Hot Sauce because I was in a spicy kind of mood, although the final product didn’t really have any spice, but it did add a nice dimension of flavor, and you could easily top it off with more hot sauce when you serve it. I ended up eating the piece used in the pictures here right after I took the pictures, and then had a piece for breakfast the next morning and for my afternoon snack later that day. Seriously, it’s THAT good! I may try par baking (baking in the oven for a bit before adding the topping) the potatoes next time to crisp them up a bit, I bet that would add some nice texture.
Now that I am done gushing about this dish, let’s talk Macros or macronutrients. I won’t go into too much details as I think a full blog post specifically dedicated to them would be better, but I want to at least explain what I mean by reaching my macros. I recently met with a health coach and we are working together on a nutrition plan to try and reshape my body a bit. I am always interested in learning more about the human body, so I like the idea of adjusting my macros to work for my goals. Your macronutrients are broken down into fat, protein and carbohydrates. Alcohol is included in there too, but I don’t really drink so cutting that out is never a problem for me. In fact, the cocktail I had this New Year’s Eve was my first and last of 2016. Sad, I know!
My current body transformation goal is to build more lean muscle mass, so to do that, based on my current body composition, I am looking at a macro breakdown this week of 150g protein, 150g carbohydrates and 45g fat in a day. Let me just say that only consuming 45g of fat in a day is WAY harder than I ever thought it would be. A handful of nuts and an avocado and you are basically there. So that has taken some real thought to try and stick to that number.
My macros will change weekly based on my results, and I plan to stick with this program for six to 12 weeks, so we will see in a few months how I did. I won’t lie, I failed miserably the first week and a half. For some reason as soon as someone told me I had to fit into a certain number, I felt this childish need to do the complete opposite. No wonder I am self employed, I clearly don’t like being told what to do. ; )
Do you follow a macro diet? If so what’s your breakdown and why?
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 2 tsp garlic minced
- 1/2 red onion diced, see notes below
- 2 bell peppers diced, see notes below
- 1 cup broccoli chopped (I used about 1/2 a small head)
- 5 links breakfast sausage diced (I used al fresco Chicken Apple Maple)
- 20 oz shredded potatoes I used Simply potato shredded hash browns
- 5 whole eggs
- 3/4 cup + 3 TBS egg white substitute See note below
- 1/3 cup half & half full fat or fat free should be fine, I used full fat
- 1/4 cup hot sauce I used Franks
- 2 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded (you can use any kind of cheese you want or no cheese at all)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat over to 375 degrees, and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.
- Add 1 TBS of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the garlic and onions until slightly softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove to a bowl or plate and set aside.
- Add another TBS (if needed) to the skillet and cook the peppers and broccoli for 1-2 minutes. Add a little salt & pepper to start laying flavors. You don't really want to soften them because they will continue to cook and soften in the oven. You just want to warm them through. Remove to a bowl or plate (can be the same as the onions and garlic above) and set aside.
- Add the sausage to the skillet and cook for about 4 minutes, or until it starts to brown. The browning will add a nice caramelization to the sausage and help bring out the sweet flavor. Once brown, add the onion, garlic, peppers, and broccoli back to the skillet and stir to combine everything.
- Empty the bag of shredded potatoes into the greased casserole dish, and spread out with a spoon to make an even layer. Top with a little salt & pepper. Then add the veggie/meat mixture on top of the potatoes and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, half and half, hot sauce, and some more salt & pepper. Pour this mixture over the potatoes, veggie and meat in the casserole dish. Move the dish around just a bit t make sure the egg mixture is evenly distributed. Cover with the cheese and put in the oven.
- Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the eggs are set. Once you remove it from the oven, allow it to cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Cut into 8 equal portions and enjoy!
- I used red onion, but you could use any onion you like or have on hand.
- I used 1 red and 1 green bell pepper, you can use any combo you like.
- You could also use 10 whole eggs or 5 whole eggs and 10 egg whites. I followed the directions on the egg white container for 5 whole eggs.
- You want to salt & pepper each layer to enhance the flavors, just a little in each layer will be perfect, you don't want to over salt it either.
- Nutritional info below is for 1 slice