Happy hump day, friends!
I’m bringing a new series to the blog: make ahead meals. I already have a few more in mind for this summer because, let’s face it, Matt and I have quite an adventure ahead of us, and while we sure do love to meal prep on Sundays… Life has gotten super cray, and make ahead meals have been and will likely continue to be a Godsend to us.
Our little dude arrived 5 days before his due date of June 19th, and in just 22 days, we have somehow managed to get absolutely nothing done. Except this. I must admit, though, it has been the most rewarding handful of days and we couldn’t be more excited about this new adventure we’ve begun together. Even if we are a little bleary-eyed and zombie-like and super stressed for the time being.
So what exactly do I mean by “make ahead,” you ask? I’m talking meals/dishes you can throw together in a snap and allow to sit in the fridge for a little while until you’re ready to eat them, but could also be finished sooner if needed.
Think: guests coming for brunch on Sunday morning that you’d like to actually spend some time with and not have your back on while you prepare food in the kitchen, hungry kids who wake up early on Christmas and want presents and something for their bellies all at one time (and likely at dark thirty in the morning when all you’d like to do is keep sleeping), or a newborn baby who now runs your life and only allows you a little bit of time to do something at one time, forcing you to walk away from something at any given time and not being able to do start to finish in one sitting.
Yeah, we’re not pros yet, but we’ve learned some things.
So that’s what I’ve got for you today. Our favorite make ahead breakfast casserole that comes together in about 15-20 minutes, sits in the fridge at least 2 hours but can last up to 1 whole day in there, and then bakes for 45 minutes right before you’re ready to eat it. That’s only 1 hour of hands-on time that can spread out over 24 of them. See how this make ahead business is so handy?
A little disclaimer about this breakfast casserole– it’s super customizable. I chose sausage and veggies for this particular dish, but if you’re a vegetarian, feel free to just replace the sausage with another veggie. Or more of the ones that are already in there. And if you don’t want to use sausage, use another kind of meat. Whatever! This is your breakfast. You do you, friend.
Another tip: start with fully cooked meat. This is especially helpful if you’re using something like leftover ground beef from the week or even something like a rotisserie chicken. But if you’re going the sausage route like I did, we like to buy fully cooked chicken sausage. It’s one of our favorite meats to use during the week, and adding it to this breakfast casserole took the dish over the top! Don’t get me wrong, my quiches are some of my favorite meals to make, but this one has extra protein (meat) built right in. One stop shopping breakfast. More reasons to love this make ahead recipe. Even when I start with fully cooked sausage, I like to brown it up just a bit in a skillet. Not totally necessary, but just something I like to do.
You’ll line your casserole dish with the meat, then throw your cooked veggie mix right on top. For this particular dish, I used garlic, spinach, bell peppers, and 1/2 an onion. Again, use whatever you like. Toss some mushrooms in there if you’re feeling fancy!
Lastly, your egg/milk/cheese mixture goes right on top of everything. This breakfast casserole features a whole 12 eggs. That’s some hearty breakfast! If you’d prefer not to use a whole dozen, you could definitely get away with 10, or simply replace some whole eggs with egg whites instead. Like I said earlier: customizable. This recipe is not set completely in stone. It’s not cake! Although cake for breakfast… Hmm…
Ok, I’m getting distracted.
Once you’ve poured your egg mixture over all of the goodies, cover it tightly and allow it to sit in the refrigerator at least 2 hours. You could even freeze it at this point if you wanted to. Although I really do recommend just chilling it and then baking it because I would not want to wait around to enjoy this sausagey, eggy, cheesy breakfast gloriousness!
Pssst… Check out those crispy edges!!
This dish was kid, parent, adult, and picky eater approved. We took the whole thing (minus 1 slice– sorry friends, that’s what happens when you invite a food blogger over for brunch!) to our friends with a 2 and 1/2 year old and he ate it right up. Not without getting bell pepper chunks on his face (adorable), but most of it got in his belly which means I’m pretty sure he enjoyed it a lot.
Quick, easy, enjoyable hot, cold, or even room temperature… It’s so versatile and a great way to have a meal ready when you’re high on hunger and short on time.
I have a feeling this summer will feature a lot of this make ahead breakfast casserole. Fresh produce + a newborn running our lives. Let’s make the best of the situation and use sleepiness and a new schedule as an excuse to eat all of the breakfast casseroles we can.
I’m definitely not mad about that.
- 12 ounces sausage (casing removed)*
- olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 2 large bell peppers, diced
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- salt & pepper to taste
- 12 large eggs
- ½ cup milk (any)
- ½ cup shredded cheese (any flavor)
- Spray a 7x11 or 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage. If you are using fully cooked sausage, you may skip this step. I like to brown my sausage just a little bit, even if it is already fully cooked. Spoon the browned sausage evenly into prepared casserole dish. Set aside.
- Add a little olive oil to the same large skillet (I use about 2 teaspoons since there is some grease left from the sausage). Sauté the garlic, spinach, peppers, and onion until vegetables are tender and spinach is wilted, about 6-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper during the last minute or so. Add the cooked vegetable mixture to the sausage in the prepared casserole dish and roughly stir together to distribute mixture evenly. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and ¼ cup of the shredded cheese. Pour egg mixture evenly over sausage and vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup of shredded cheese and a little more salt and pepper. Cover casserole dish with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- When you are ready to bake the casserole: preheat the oven to 375ºF and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until edges start to brown. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave as needed. Baked casserole may be frozen, up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight and bake at 350ºF for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
- To make ahead/freeze this casserole: you can freeze unbaked casserole up to 2 months. Cover very tightly with plastic wrap and foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and continue with step 5.
More breakfast things!