Thursday, August 7, 2014

The best breakfast casserole.

Hold the phone and you better just sit down.

I have found the BEST breakfast casserole recipe.

Like, ever.

Do you love a good casserole that can be prepared ahead?

I do.  But I hadn't found one that I truly, absolutely love enough that I'd make it again.  That changed when I made this recipe from the Pioneer Woman for the first time.  I needed a dish to take to my staff meeting at work (it was my week for treats) and I had some bacon I wanted to use, and an abundance of eggs.  So I did what any normal person would do - I started scanning PW's cooking blogs, and found her Bacon & Mushroom Strata recipe.  And friends, it was so good that I made it again last weekend when my mom was visiting. 

I have to admit, I had a bit of "wife guilt" when I made it the first time for the office.  As I was putting the casserole in the fridge to sit over night, Clint looked pretty disappointed that I was making it for work, and not making it for him.  But he got to enjoy the second one I made this past weekend.  :)

The pita chip crust is what MAKES the casserole.  I was a little hesitant (well, a lot hesitant) at first.  Because come on - who has ever used pita chips in a breakfast casserole?  They're a snack food....or a dipping utensil...not a breakfast food, right?   Boy was I wrong - and in such a good, good way.

I've adapted PW's recipe slightly - I don't use the cream cheese (trying to be a bit healthier) and the first time I used a package of bacon that was made here locally and is more like a thick canadian bacon.  (It didn't have hardly any fat to render, and was thicker than traditional bacon.)  The second time I didn't add any meat to it, and just used mushrooms and cheese.  I fried bacon and served it on the side.  But the fabulous thing about this casserole, as it common with casseroles, is that you can use whatever meat/veggie combo you want.  Sausage, bacon, ham, canadian bacon or left over steak.....mushrooms, onions, asapragus, shallots, spinach, or bell peppers.

Pardon my photos - I took them with my cell phone (too lazy to grab my camera) and I forgot to take a picture of the casserole after it was baked.  But trust me - it looked delicious! :)
 
Here are the basics:

1. Use a 9 oz bag of pita chips for each pan.  I used Stacy's Naked Simply Sea Salt pita chips the first time, and the Stacy's Naked Parmesan Garlic & Herb flavored pita chips the second time.  Any flavor variety that sounds good to you should be delicious.  Just crunch up the chips a bit while they're still in the bag, and then dump them into a sprayed/greased 9x13 Pyrex pan.

2. Cook your meat & veggies.  Since I used bacon and mushrooms, first I sauteed 8 oz of bacon, and then sprinkled it warm right on to the pita chips. Then I cooked 8 oz of sliced mushrooms in the same pan as I'd cooked the bacon.  I had to add a bit of butter to the mushrooms since my bacon didn't hardly render any fat.  Once the mushrooms are cooked, sprinkled them over the bacon & pita chips.

3. Sprinkle your seasonings on top of the meat & veggies.  I just sprinkled a bit of ground black pepper, and probably a 1/4 tsp of Trader Joe's 21 Gun Salute salt free seasoning.  You don't have to use salt here, because the bacon, cheese and pita chips already have plenty.

4. Sprinkle a 1/2 cup (or whatever looks good to you) of shredded cheese on top.  I used Tillamook Cheddar, because it is the.best.cheese.ever.


5. Beat 8 eggs with a 1/2 cup of cream (or milk) and pour over the entire casserole.

6. Cover the 9x13 filled Pyrex with plastic wrap, and refrigerate over night.  (I prepped this casserole at about 7:00 pm after dinner, and didn't cook it until the next morning at 6:00 am.)  It's best if the eggs have a chance to soak into the pita chips.

7. Bake the uncovered casserole in a 350* oven for 25-30 minutes.


 
That's it!  How easy could that be?

I hope you try this recipe - I think you'll fall as hard for it as I have!

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