Christmas Breakfast Casserole
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most stressful. Right now it’s a last-ditch, all-out effort to get it all done. There are lots of little last minute to-do’s, and as always, it’s a mad dash to the end. But the truth is, anything you do will make people happy – you just have to do it. We all hope for that perfect Norman Rockwell holiday, with all it’s heartwarming traditions, but the truth is, more years than not are wrapped gaily in chaos and disaster and end up a lot more like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Sometimes, it’s the house that fails you. Like the year we hosted Christmas Eve and the water heater went out. Sometimes, it’s the people. Planes get delayed, people get sick, and accidents happen. The holiday gathering, and all it entails, is a miracle of sorts.
Stay merry to the end and be prepared. Whether your group is smallish and cozy, or a big, boisterous bunch, a breakfast casserole fits the bill. This Christmas Breakfast Casserole is just right for your holiday breakfast. Hearty and filling, it has bacon, eggs, hash browns and three kinds of cheese all baked into one delicious dish. Round things out with a big fruit plate and toast. Add some baked goods like scones or muffins, a coffee cake, or some cinnamon rolls and you’re good to go.
Easily adaptable to what you have on hand, you can swap in ricotta for the cottage cheese, or try using sausage in place, or in addition to, the bacon. I used half of a 30 ounce bag of shredded hash browns, but you could also use the cubed variety, or potatoes O’Brien, with the bell peppers and onions included, to save a little time. I kept it simple and gave it some Christmas color with red and green bell peppers, but you could add mushrooms, spinach, artichokes or any vegetables that you like. Feel free to add spices or other seasonings, but don’t add any additional salt because of the sodium in the bacon and cottage cheese. Go ahead and vary the cheese. Use pepper jack if you’d like a little spice, or Gruyere for a more assertive Swiss.
Make it easy on yourself and assemble it the night before. Wrap tightly with foil or plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight. Take it out first thing in the morning and let it warm for 30 minutes on the counter while you preheat the oven. Cut any leftovers into squares and refrigerate to enjoy later in the week, or you can freeze the squares on a parchment-lined sheet and transfer to a resealable bag once frozen.
There’s no place like home for the holidays. May the ones you love be near you, and may yours be merry and bright.
Christmas Breakfast Casserole
- 5 slices bacon, diced
- 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
- 15 ounces frozen shredded hash brown potatoes (half of 30 ounce bag)
- 5 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
- 1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese
- 8 slices Canadian bacon, diced
- 1 1/2 cups diced red and green bell pepper
- 2 cups shredded light Cheddar cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Add bacon to a large skillet set over medium-high heat; cook and stir bacon until evenly browned. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; drain all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease. Add onion and cook, stirring until onion is translucent. Remove onion with slotted spoon and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add frozen hash browns to skillet and cook until golden brown, turning as needed. Transfer hash browns to bowl; let cool slightly.
Add eggs, egg whites, and cottage cheese to blender and process at low speed until smooth. Pour into bowl then add bacon, Canadian bacon, bell pepper, Cheddar cheese, and Swiss cheese; stir together. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake uncovered, until eggs are set and cheese is melted, 35 to 45 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160º F. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.