Saturday, April 17, 2010
Jessica’s Fab Slow-Cooker, cook it over-night, Breakfast Casserole
I love frittatas. Mmmmmm, so good. But work. In the morning. When I don't function so well. I've done things like melt the handle of my best pan in the morning making frittatas. I like breakfast casseroles too. A little less work and still yummy. But I have to use my oven and my oven is the modern day wood stove for house heating. In south eastern Texas. Like we need more heat. Plus it's still that whole having to function in the morning thing. I really just want to wake up with breakfast done. This explains why cereal is a hit.
Enter the slow cooker. I love my Crock-Pot, a wedding gift still going strong 14 years later. It was really just a matter of time before we figured something out with the Crock-Pot love, the frittatas/egg casserole affection, and me not being a morning person. Waking up with a hot breakfast that is delicious and ready to go is better than any pampering option I can think of because it pretty much means more sleep. I like sleep.
I tried this first. Meh, it was ok. I liked certain things about it. Like how fast it was to make and then I woke up with it done. Or would have had I remembered to turn it ON before going to bed. Oh, shut-up. How often do you turn something on to cook before going to bed? Yeah, I'd laugh at me too. The next time I did remember and it was ok, not great but something I'd make again, which I did but totally changed. Because I never, ever cook the same thing exactly the same way twice. Even if the first time I didn't actually cook it.
So then I read this but didn't make it. After all, it has bell peppers in it and I wouldn't eat it let-alone expect my kids to. But it had some good ideas which I borrowed later. I've also borrowed from this and this. And I've done spin-offs on this too. Yum. Breakfast in the Crock-Pot. I love the Year of Slowcooking blog and Stephanie is a culinary genius figuring out how to make masterpieces that tickle the tongue but don't take a lot of time and best of all, use the slow-cookers. Isn't she just grand?! If I met her, I'm pretty sure I'd swoon.
Anyway, they were all yummy but not as good as a frittata so I was still on the hunt. I found Crock-Pot's Slow Cooker Recipes for All Occasions at my local thrift store for $2 and tucked inside was a very promising recipe for a breakfast bake. I made it and it was well received by the family but still not exactly what I was looking for. So after a lot of tweaking, I've come up with this. Which is still so-not a frittata but it is close on the yummy scale.
This baby cooks over night. For real. How great is that? Sorry, no picture. Well, there are pictures but they have absolutely nothing to do with this post or the recipe. They do have everything to do with the new Hipstamatic app I've got on my phone. Love it, I'm having so much fun.
I used my 3 quart Crock-Pot. Please note, I cook a lot by feel so some of these measurements are approximate. Which pretty much means I have no idea...
15 large eggs (This quantity is solid, I know it was a dozen + 3)
1/2 Cup milk (give or take?)
1 1/2 Cups sliced or chopped sausage (or whatever looks good to you)
2 green onions, chopped
One loaf of crusty or artisan bread (not sandwich bread), torn up of cubed (maybe 4 cups?)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil (or more, I really like basil)
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder (who really knows, I really like garlic too)
3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 cup sharp shredded cheddar cheese
Grease inside of slow-cooker insert. Non-stick sprays don't work as well, I have found.
Whisk together eggs, milk and dried spices. Alternating ingredients, layer bread, spinach, sausage, onions and some of the egg mixture over the dry layers. Repeat, layering until an inch from the top of the insert. Egg mixture will not be that visible.
Turn slower-cooker to low and cook for 6-8 hours. I usually make mine after the kids go to bed and turn it on to cook around 10pm. (If it cooks a little long it is usually ok though the sides can get a little dark.) We love this, it is a hit. In fact, I'm getting hungry and now that this finally posted I'm going to go eat some of the leftovers. Which reminds me, it keeps well so you can eat left overs for lunch or breakfast for a few days.
This recipe could feed about 6 adults which it makes it grand for brunches or having left overs. You can halve the recipe, if you do be sure that your slow cooker is at least half full to cook properly and if need be use a smaller cooker.
Variations: I’ve made this several times. Sometimes I add sun-dried tomatoes and feta or blue cheese crumbles and omit the salt. Our grocery store often has day old artisan breads which I buy and freeze, these are perfect for this recipe. We love the potato rosemary bread in this casserole as well as the focaccia style breads and three cheese breads. Pretty much anything savory though the ones with nuts and seeds don’t really work so well. I have also omitted bread and used cubed potatoes instead which is also really yummy. Sometimes I add mushrooms but shrooms in the Crock-Pot can be kind of... odd. So I usually saute them and since that creates an extra step and an extra dish it really doesn't happen that often. Though if I'm going to do it then I go ahead and saute fresh garlic too and ditch the powdered stuff. I never put white or yellow onions in, I think they are gross for breakfast but that's just a personal issue. Oh yeah, and don't do this with turkey sausage, I've tried that and it forgets that it is supposed to have a flavor. Or color. Really kind of nasty.