Crockpot Breakfast Casseroles are a terrific idea for camping or holiday breakfasts for a crowd when ovens are not available for baking or are being used for other foods for later in the day…. or for when you just don’t want to be cooking breakfast while everyone else is enjoying the morning.
I must admit I was skeptical when I first saw these… I am a baked casserole kinda gal… I’d rather prepare the casserole in advance and bake it… but always open-minded when comes to trying new things in the kitchen.. I tried it and … I liked it!
It was quick and easy.. and I must say waking up to the smell of breakfast already made was very nice.
I read lots of recipes.. I mean LOTS.. and read probably a hundred reviews and comments… and most were very much on the mark as far as up sides and down sides to making this. Here is a recap .. take note carefully… this recipe may or may not be for you… depending on your reasons for trying it or your preferences.
First … let’s start with the Pros…. This was an excellent breakfast for casual activities like camping.. can’t say anything negative about it.. it is perfect… easy to do up ahead and let cook on its own. Also great for keeping hot.
I stress casual dining… because for holidays, I’m picky about what I serve… and I personally like the look of a casserole… BUT… and I stress the but here… the taste and texture of a baked casserole with the same ingredients and this is virtually the same… so here’s where preference matters…
There really are only two Cons here…. in a casserole dish… say a 9 x 13 pan.. it’s easier to cut squares of the casserole than trying to cut it out from a crockpot… but.. here again… not everyone serves a casserole cut.. a lot of people just scoop the casserole out.. so this Con may or may not apply to you.
The biggest Con… and it is a big one… a lot of recipes say to cook it for anywhere from 8-12 hours on low (depending on the recipe you read)… and almost ALL the complaints in their comments and reviews said the same thing.. the casserole either burned or was way too dry. The chorus of reviews all sang the same tune.. cooking time was way too long. Based on my experience.. I agree whole heartedly.
Why is this a Con you might ask…. well… an 8 to 12 hour cooking time works well when putting it together before bed and going to bed and waking up to breakfast done in the crockpot.
However… the cooking time really should be about 6 hours MAX. I cooked mine for 6 hours on low.. my crockpot’s low setting is slow to get started… I have another crockpot that heats up quickly and 5 hours with that pot would be the Max. You must know thy crockpot to decide how long to cook your casserole. AND you would either have to have a timer that shuts the pot off for you or plan to go to bed late and get up mighty early to turn it off. Again you have to decide if this works for you.
About the complaints that the casserole was dry (aside from over cooking issues) .. almost all agreed the other recipes had too many potatoes… from looking at the recipes.. I agreed and cut back on the amount… the amount listed in my recipe worked well. If you use a brand that has a larger bag.. don’t use all of it.. just eyeball the cut-back. My casserole was not dry.
And finally, a lot of comments for some of the recipes complained the casserole was bland. This is completely a personal preference… it’s no different than a baked casserole. Make it like you prefer it..
If you’re not into onions and peppers in your breakfast foods .. leave them out… if you like a kick with your breakfast… use a bit of cayenne in your egg mixture… or use a spicier sausage… or maybe chop a jalpena pepper into the potato mixture.
When you cook the breakfast sausage, remove it from your skillet with a slotted spoon, don’t drain on paper towels, you want some grease to cook into the potatoes in the crockpot.
You can use chorizo for a Mexican take on this recipe… but chorizo is far greasier than the regular breakfast sausage.. so be sure to drain the cooked chorizo on paper towels after cooking it and before placing it in your crockpot.
That brings me to two things I did with my casserole… I tossed some shredded cheese in with my potato mixture to make sure the cheese flavor got down to the bottom… and I also tossed extra peppers and onions into the potatoes… commercial blends of O’Brien Potatoes don’t, in my opinion, have enough peppers and onions… but using them gives cooking this a quick start to your prep.
Use whatever cheese you prefer… Monterey Jack, Colby Jack and cheddar all work well.
If you plan this for a holiday breakfast.. do a trial run on a weekend to try it out… I think this worked well and tasted great. I had leftovers for during the week.. a quick nuke and breakfast was made.
This will serve about 8, depending on portion size.
I hope you find this is for you!
All you need:
1 bag (28 oz.) Oreida O’Brien Potatoes
¼ cup diced red pepper
¼ cup diced green pepper
¼ cup diced onion
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup Fat Free Half and Half
Cooking oil spray
All you have to do:
Spray the crockpot with cooking oil spray.
Toss the potatoes, diced peppers, diced onions and ½ cup shredded cheese in a bowl.
Place the potato mixture into the crockpot.
Layer a cup of shredded cheese on top of the potatoes.
Layer the cooked and crumbled sausage on top of the cheese.
Layer the remaining cheese on top.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and Fat Free Half and Half.
Pour the egg mixture over the layers in the crockpot.
Put the lid on the pot and set it on low. Cook for 5-6 hours until cheese begins to brown and the casserole is bubbly.