Mama’s Easy Breakfast Casserole

I was blessed with a really good memory when it comes to names. For example, I can name everyone in my kindergarten class with Mrs. Baskin at McSorley Elementary along with a random fact about each person (her all time favorite flower was a buttercup & her dog’s name was Roscoe). Somehow I continued to accurately fill the slots in this computer brain of mine over the years with dates, names, and people. Now…on any given day, I can automatically start spewing the birthdays and anniversaries of random people from my past when asked a question about them, or if I see their picture.

But… then I had kids. And they sucked the brain cells out of my head.  I’m lucky now if I can remember their names. As a matter of fact, sometimes I will just randomly start spewing out ALL their names knowing if I list them all, the one who I am actually referring to will hear me and have to respond. Don’t argue that logic until you have birthed multiple children and given your brain 5-10 years to stew in its own fried juices… LOL!

When I do something like book an appointment for the wrong day or forget where I hid birthday presents, my husband will say, “Honey, your poor brain.”  After all, he knew me as the woman who could remember his cousin’s best friend’s boyfriend and the names of everyone that came to our wedding…from his side. The good news is that anything I had stored in my brain before kids, is still there. And I can still access it when I’m back in my hometown at Strike & Spare and run into half of my high school. Even if we weren’t friends, I probably know your name and your birthday. But it’s not really something I’ll let on, because from experience I found it freaks people out when you still know minute details about them from when they were little, when you hardly know them now as adults. It comes off a bit stalkerish, I guess.
The really fantastic news for you, is that I can clearly recall the Christmas Eve night I learned how to make the best breakfast casserole, and the perfect Christmas morning present to yourself & your family. It’s my Grandma’s recipe, tweaked by my mama (she liked spinach in hers *shudder*), and now tweaked by me.
Mama’s Easy Breakfast Casserole
(We recently ate this for dinner though, so don’t be limited to making this just for breakfast!)  🙂
Ingredients:
1/2 loaf of french bread cut into 1 inch cubes (enough to cover 9×12 pan bottom)
12 eggs1 cup milk

3-4 chopped potatoes

1/2 grn pepper

1/2 red pepper

1/4 c. chopped onion

(optional): 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

1 pkg chopped bacon OR 1 lb. cooked sausage (or if you’re feeling adventurous BOTH)

1 cup finely shredded cheese (we use colby-jack OR the mexican blend depending on mood)

Idea: after Thanksgiving, we chop up about 2 cups turkey meat (or ham) and add that for the meat

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9×12 pan.  Place bread cubes so they make a nice single layer on the bottom of the pan.  On the stovetop, cook your bacon in a large skillet.  Strain oil off.  Once done, chop into 1/2 inch pieces (you want them kinda big).  Use the same pan you made the bacon (or sausage) in:  cook the onions, peppers and potatoes.  Cook on medium heat for maybe 5 minutes until the potatoes start to transition from transulcent to opaque.  When this occurs, spread these in a nice even layer over the bread in the 9×12 pan.  Spread/sprinkle the bacon bits over this.   Mix the eggs and milk together & then slowly pour back and forth over the pan making sure the egg mixture gets everywhere in the pan.  The egg mixture will look like it’s about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up to the top of the pan, don’t worry, they fluff up nicely!  🙂  Sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly over the top of all of this evenly, cover with tin foil.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the center is firm.

My kids are INSANELY picky & all four of them LOVE this dish!  We’ve even made this on campouts in a dutch oven & it’s so yummy & filling.  If you are prepping this dish for the next morning, do everything except bake it (put it in the fridge overnight). Pull it out about an hour and a half before you want to eat. Let the dish sit at room temp about 20 minutes or so to lose it’s chill, preheat your oven, and then pop it in to bake for the 50-60 minutes.

ENJOY!   🙂

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*EASY* Crockpot Chicken Stew

EASY CROCKPOT CHICKEN STEW:

I wanted something warm, hearty, and soothing on the tummy for dinner the other night, and thought about making stew, but wasn’t in the mood for beef or pork, so I decided to try & come up with a chicken stew recipe on the fly via the crockpot (It was a Tuesday: Scout night for our family, which meant I had no time to cook unless it’s done ahead of time… dear God I love my crockpot on Tuesday nights!)

What I ended up with made my eyes literally close in delight and my family RAVED about it, sooooo onto the blog it goes!  🙂

Ingredients:

6-8 red potatoes, chopped

4 c. fingerling carrots

1 can corn, strained

6-8 chicken breast tenderloins (I threw mine in frozen)

1 can cream chicken soup

1 can cream mushroom soup

2 cans water (use the ones from the soup)

1 tablespoon garlic & herb Mrs Dash

1 tablespoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Put potatoes, corn and carrots in bottom of crockpot.
  2. Dump out soup mixes onto veggies, pour in 2 cans water.
  3. Add all seasonings.
  4. Mix it all up.
  5. Push chicken tenderloins down into veggies, set crockpot to cook for 4-6 hrs.
  6. Stir about halfway through the cook time to make sure all potatoes are getting cooked nicely.ENJOY!

Mediterranean Chicken

This is a crockpot meal… I don’t know about you but I *LOVE* cooking with my crockpot on busy nights. I’ve been cooking a lot of mediterranean food lately… must be a phase I’m in, but it’s expanding my cooking “daring” quite a bit. I started with a basic recipe, and in my usual manner I did the “this looks and smells good but I think I know how to really kick it into overdrive for the tastebuds”… and sure enough, we ended up with a dish that just rocked the socks off my oldest daughter who was visiting & the rest of the family. What follows is how I cooked it; try this one, it was a yummy change and surprised even my picky kidlets and hubby! 🙂

We’re cooking MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN today.

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, thinly chopped
  • 14 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 14 oz. can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can olives, drained and chopped
  • 6 Tblspn. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tspn minced garlic
  • 1/2 tspn. black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tspn. garlic & herb Mrs. Dash
  • 1 tspn. herbs de provence
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 packet Knorr Parma Rosa Sauce mix (dry)
  • 1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese (divided in half)
  • 1/4 c. grated 3 cheese blend (pecorino romano, parmesan, asiago) You can get this at Albertson’s or Kroger stores.

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients except the chicken, 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, and packet of Knorr Parma Rosa. Mix all the ingredients together with a fork.
  2. Place chicken in cooker, pushing down into vegetables and sauce until it’s about half buried. Sprinkle the top of the chicken with the Parma Rosa packet & finish pressing down into the vegetables until it’s as covered as possible.
  3. Cover, and cook on low 4-6 hours in the crockpot.
  4. Serve over toasted baguette bread OR serve over noodles of your choice boiled & strained separately.

Destiny said to tell you it’s not just good, it’s “O”h my gosh good… LOL! I don’t know that I’d go quite that far but it is pretty spectacular & beats trying to figure out what to make for dinner at the last minute on a night we have parent meetings, scout night, cheerleading practice or any other number of things. 🙂

Enjoy!