When Sarah leaves for college this fall, she will be completely on her own in almost every way—a sobering thought. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and a good gluten-free breakfast is best eaten “at home” in the dorm room rather than at the college cafeteria, because gluten-free options do not abound.
Cooking once and eaten all week long is a good practice for any busy person, especially for a busy college freshman-athlete. With that in mind I developed a nutritious, perfectly simple, breakfast casserole recipe that can be baked once, cooled and frozen into eight portions. To accompany it? Bacon of course, but bacon that is fully cooked and nitrate/nitrate-free: Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked, Apple-Smoked, Uncured Bacon. It comes in a package of 16 slices, keeps refrigerated, and slices may be cooked in the microwave between two pieces of paper toweling, as needed. Trader Joe’s is one of her local grocery stores, for which we are both grateful.
The recipe has been simplified to the last degree to minimize preparation time for Sarah. Ore-Ida’s frozen Potatoes O’Brien have onions and red and green peppers already in the mix. But when making this at home, I frequently embellish it with one of the options listed in the recipe variations, because, for me, time is not such an imperative and my kitchen is better equipped. However, the embellishments also depend upon convenience products from Trader Joe’s: Pre-diced mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions (found in the chilled produce section), and frozen red, green and yellow pepper strips (found in the frozen vegetables section).
Lastly, for Sarah, whenever possible, I use non-dairy cheese. Daiya brand is her favorite. You may, of course, substitute the dairy cheese of choice, which increases the browning of the top and the creaminess of the casserole.
- 6 eggs, beaten well
- 1 (28-ounce) package frozen Ore-Ida gluten free Potatoes O’Brien , thawed
- 2 cups shredded Daiya Pepper Jack non-dairy cheese , divided
- Cooked, uncured bacon strips, reheated and crisped, as needed
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 9 by 12 by 2-inch casserole with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl beat the eggs well with a whisk. Add the potatoes and 1 cup of the non-dairy cheese. Stir well to mix.
- Transfer to the prepared casserole. Top evenly with the remaining cup of cheese.
- Bake until casserole is cooked through and top is lightly browned, 35 to 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Cut 4 by 2 into 8 rectangles. Serve each with 1 strip of reheated, crisped uncured bacon.
- Cool unused casserole portions to room temperature. Wrap individually and freeze. When ready to serve, defrost and warm in the microwave.
Variations: Substitute dairy cheese for non-dairy.
Mix in 1 (14-ounce) frozen, thawed package of Trader Joe’s Fire-Roasted Bell Peppers and Onions or 1 16-ounce frozen, thawed package of Trader Joe’s Red, Yellow & Green Bell Pepper strips before baking casserole. Increase eggs from 6 to 8.
Before mixing casserole, sauté until tender in 2 tablespoons of butter or non-dairy alternative such as Earth Balance, 1 (14.5-ounce) container of Trader Joe’s diced celery, carrots and onions (Mirepoix). Mix into casserole ingredients. Increase eggs from 6 to 8.
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