Post 1.10 - The Best Part of Waking Up

I love breakfast food. My favorite places to eat in my late teens and early 20s were diners and other restaurants that served breakfast 24 hours. A good cheese and vegetable omelette is among my favorite meals. At a previous job, we had a full service cafeteria that would prepare omelettes made-to-order, including egg-white omelettes. It was always a nice way to start the day, if you could find time to get down there early enough.

In our daily lives, we tend to cut corners with breakfast because there simply isn't time, especially if parents are working. We try, but it's difficult to offer too much variety in the short amount of time we have to get ourselves ready, get the kids ready, and get everyone out the door on time.

This week's recipe is for a breakfast casserole which, as written, serves 8. However, you can prepare it the night before and pop it in the oven in the morning. You can also prepare it in advance and divide it into portions, storing them in the freezer until ready to eat -- just 3-4 minutes in the microwave.

The original version does not take into account the healthier modifications I've made here, which result in about 300 calories per serving that includes a balance of protein and carbs, plus a flavor combination that keeps it interesting. I use Canadian bacon in place of ham, because it is lower in salt and generally in calories; I use egg substitute made from egg-whites, saving on fat and eliminating cholesterol; I also use low-fat cheese and in a lower quantity, as a little goes a long way, and the savings in salt and fat is again helpful. And believe me, these modifications do not take away from the flavor -- you won't miss a thing.

And I've shared this recipe with friends -- those who have made it on their own have loved it.

Wake Up Casserole
8 frozen hash brown patties
2 cups low-fat shredded Monterrey Jack & Cheddar cheese
12 ounces of sliced Canadian Bacon, sliced again into quarters
7 eggs OR 1 15oz container of Southwestern Style Egg Beaters
1 cup 2% milk (optional, actually - I like it with and without, but the casserole is fluffier with milk)
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  1. Place hash brown patties in a single layer in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.
  2. Create a layer of Canadian Bacon over the hash browns.
  3. Sprinkle with cheese, creating an even layer.
  4. In a bowl, beat eggs or egg beaters, milk, and mustard. Pour over ham and cheese.
  5. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer or until edges are golden brown and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
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