Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Breakfast Upside Down Cake

Recipe modified by Gretchen Wilson – December 25, 2010
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published by AllRecipes on March 27, 2007.

I’ve made it my mission to start eating breakfast more often.  I could list a million reasons why I don’t eat it, but here’s the main two:
  • I am not hungry in the morning
  • Breakfast food doesn’t interest me

Now, it is possible that reason #2 actually drives reason #1; therefore, I have been looking for interesting and yummy breakfast dishes that make me say “hey, I think I’m hungry for breakfast!”  This had it all, potatoes, bacon, eggs with cheese, onion and red bell pepper.  I decided to make this for breakfast on Christmas day.  It was a great choice.

My finished product:

Picture published with recipe:


One of the things about allrecipes is that almost all of the photos are user photos.  That means there is no control over the picture quality or how the dish was prepared.  I followed the recipe as was written.  This is the closest picture I could find in all the photos uploaded to  It looks like the chef included sausage in their casserole and omitted the red peppers.  Some of the others looked similar to mine, although they used a round pan (more on that later).  I absolutely think mine looks much more appealing.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessSIGH – Okay, so it isn’t like any of the steps are lengthy or overly messy.  I gave this the rating I did because it seemed like I had to use a lot of stuff and the stuff had to be cleaned.  Potatoes needed to be peeled and chopped (yucky starch).  Bacon needed to be fried (popping grease).  Veggies needed to be chopped.  Then assembly and the real fun of turning it out of the pan.

Start-to-Finish Time: LITTLE OVER AN HOUR – I’d say it took me around 20 minutes to prep everything, but then you have to cook it.  You’ve got 2 pounds of potatoes and several other veggies to cook, then you need to fry 10 pieces of bacon, and finally the assemble the casserole. 

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – So there’s a lot of prep work, but it’s messier (see above) than difficult.  Yeah, peeling potatoes continues to be my nemesis, but I only had to do 3 of them, so I was okay with this process.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – Even though you’re going to have to turn the casserole over on to a serving platter, which takes practice, there really isn’t anything difficult to do in this recipe.

OverallNOT BAD – I thought this was a good dish, but I felt like it could have been done better.  There is no lacking of egg-breakfast casserole dishes, so I will continue to search.  That being said, if I need to make breakfast for people and I haven’t found that dish yet, this will do.

Recipe Information:
Time estimates are from the original publisher of the recipe, not the length of time it took me to create it.  Look for my comments below.  Nutritional Information is based on original recipe.  Any changes I make to reduce the caloric, fat, cholesterol or sodium content are not reflected in the Nutritional Information.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50  minutes
Servings: 4

Nutritional Information (1 wedge – appetizer serving)
  • Calories 553
  • Total Fat 31g
  • Cholesterol 268mg
  • Sodium 812mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 43.5g
  • Fiber 3.5g
  • Protein 25.7g

I think Allrecipes was generous with the prep time, but the cook time is not really that accurate.  Well if you’re only considering the time it spends in the oven, yeah, it’s correct.  But you have vegetables to cook and bacon to fry before you get there.  If they included that in the “prep” time, then that number is much lower than it should be.

At first I thought this was a lot of food and the number of servings was really understated, but then I did the numbers.  It is approximately 2 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon and less than one potato per person.  Not too far off.  My husband and I ate this over the course of three days, so really 4 servings is accurate.

The Nutritional numbers weren’t all that impressive, so I decided to slim it down as much as I could.  I used skim milk and reduced fat cheese to help with the calories, fat and cholesterol.  To help lower the sodium count, I used reduced sodium bacon, which also happened to be lower in calories and fat than the regular kind.

Changes denoted by red text

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chopped onion
Salt and pepper to taste
10 slices reduced sodium bacon, chopped
4 eggs
1 teaspoon skim milk
1 cup shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese

Ingredient Notes:
Red Bell Pepper – red peppers are usually more ripe and flavorful than their green counterparts.  Of course, they are also pricier, so there is nothing wrong with substituting the green variety in if you’re on a budget.  To get ½ cup, you’ll need about 1 medium-sized bell pepper.

Garlic – the original recipe had the garlic chopped.  I used pre-minced to save time.

Onion – to get ½ cup, you’ll need one small onion or ½ of a medium one.

Reduced Sodium Bacon – I used reduced sodium for the obvious reasons.  The original recipe has you cook the whole pieces of bacon and then crumble them.  To make the process faster and the pieces be more evenly sized, I chopped the bacon slices first and then cooked them.

Skim Milk – there is such a small amount of milk in this recipe and it doesn’t really “thicken-up” the dish, so I went with skim since that is what we drink.  It has zero fat, a very small amount of cholesterol and a third-less calories.  Even 1% has half the fat and cholesterol in it.

Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese
  • There are several types of cheddar cheese.  I went with mild cheddar to not overwhelm the dish.
  • I used a reduced fat blend to cut out one third the calories, fat and cholesterol.  Sargento also makes a reduced sodium cheddar cheese, but this doesn’t have the lower calories and fat content (or at least not as low as the reduced fat).

Equipment Needed:
Vegetable peeler
Cutting board
Raw meat cutting board
(2) Sharp knives
Large skillet with lid / Dutch Oven
Large spoon
9" Cake pan
Parchment paper
Small skillet
Mixing bowl
Paper towel
Butter knife
Serving plate

Equipment Notes:
Cutting Board & Raw Meat Cutting Board – to avoid contamination, make sure you use two separate cutting boards to prepare your vegetables and raw meat.  Remember, it is not advised to use a wooden cutting board to cut up raw meat either.  The wood can absorb the raw meat juices and contaminate it.

Sharp Knives – Just as with the cutting boards, I chose to use two separate knives.  Of course, you can get away with one knife, but do not use the same knife to cut the raw meat and then vegetables unless it has been properly washed first.

Large Skillet / Dutch Oven – your skillet will need to be large and deep to hold the amount of potato and vegetables while stirring.  If you don’t have a large skillet that is also deep (and has a lid), use your Dutch oven.

Cake Pan – I used a 9” pan which held everything nicely.  An 8” pan will work, but it will be very full.  Anything smaller won’t hold all of the vegetables.

Parchment Paper – parchment paper is a heavy paper that is the expensive sibling to waxed paper.  Of course, it is worth the extra money when you are dealing with sticky and gooey ingredients like melted cheese and eggs.  Apparently some people use paper bags, but they can catch on fire and can be treated with chemicals, so I wouldn’t advise it.  If you only have waxed paper on hand, you need to grease it before adding the ingredients.  If you don’t, you’ll be scraping cheese and egg back on to your casserole that falls apart, instead of it falling out nicely, staying in one piece and looking pretty.

Serving Platter – make sure it covers the edges of the dish or you’ll be dumping out the contents of the casserole onto the counter. 

(1)  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

(2)  Add potatoes, red bell pepper, garlic and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender. Cover the pan with a lid for faster cooking.

Even if you stir it occasionally, it probably will stick to the pan.  Use a spatula to slide it under the potatoes and loosen it up if it is necessary.

(3)  Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Don’t worry about the parchment paper fitting perfectly; the casserole will push it into place.

(4)  Fry bacon in a skillet over medium heat, until crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

(5)  Sprinkle the cheese in the bottom of the prepared pan.

Don’t worry about greasing the parchment paper.  The cheese won’t stick.  But if you’re using waxed paper, definitely grease it with butter or cooking spray.

(6)  Sprinkle bacon crumbles evenly over the cheese.

(7)  Scoop the potato mixture into the pan so it is evenly distributed.

(8)  Whisk together eggs and milk with a fork, and season with a little salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the food in the pan.

(9)  Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, just until the egg is set. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the outer edge.

(10)  Flip onto a serving plate, and remove the parchment paper. Serve and enjoy.

This was a good dish, but I probably could make it faster and easier by using a pre-made blend of potatoes and vegetables.  I would make it again at this point if I was serving breakfast because I know it and it was tasty, but I’ll still be searching for something different to try.

What I would do different:
  • A lot of the pictures had it in a round pan (I’m not sure why I went with my square baking pan other than the original picture suggested it).  Considering that my platters are round, it would probably help with the presentation.
  • As I said before, I probably would buy a pre-made potato blend, but if I decided to do all the chopping myself again, I’d chop everything the night before except the potatoes and have it ready to go.

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