Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Overnight Brunch Egg Bake

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – March 13, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published by Pillsbury – Tuesday, March 18, 2008.

One of the things I really liked about this recipe from the beginning is its honesty.  It tells you right in the title “you have to let this set overnight.”  So don’t blame Pillsbury if you wake up on Christmas morning expecting to whip this little ditty out as the centerpiece of your Christmas breakfast.

The recipe itself is a basic egg casserole with all the yummy ingredients in it – onions, red peppers, mushrooms, and LOTS OF CHEESE!!!  But that wasn’t the only thing that attracted me to it.

See, I’m not a morning person.

In fact, I’m not an early afternoon person.

I hit my stride about 7:00PM.

Still, I have a husband who gets up semi-early (someone has to walk the dogs - hehehehe) and eats breakfast every morning.  I do enjoy preparing his meals, and I know he likes it a lot too, so I like to make him breakfast at least on the weekends, but I HATE getting up early enough to actually get it done before noon.  This recipe allowed me to assemble a meal when I’ve got my most energy, wake up, stumble down to the stove, put the casserole in the oven, take a nap on the couch with an alarm set and voila!  Breakfast is ready!

© You Want Me to Cook
Overnight Brunch Egg Bake
This recipe lists the things you can garnish the casserole with.  I chose not to garnish it, mostly because it was just my husband and I.  Looking at the picture… Cripes I should have garnished.  I also had a small issue with the ordering of the layers.  The cheese on top is my mistake.

Overall, it just looks… solid.  Not necessarily appetizing.

© Pillsbury
Now, mine wasn’t garnished but THIS is not what the recipe called for.  The garnish that the recipe gives is red pepper and parsley.  Here’s what I see in this picture: tomato, green onion, regular onion, red pepper(?), and… is that strawberry?

It isn’t that I have issues with the extra ingredients.  My issue is that a lot of people follow recipes to the “t” and would be horribly disappointed that their finished dish doesn’t look anything like the picture on the internet, magazine or cookbook.  If you’re adding extra ingredients, put them in the recipe.  Period.

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

MessEH – There was significant dish usage, but at least there was nothing that needed to be scrubbed or soaked.  Not a lot to wipe off the counters either.  Prep work is minimal.

Start-to-Finish Time: UM… OVERNIGHT – sure, there are only 30 minutes of hands-on time and 60 minutes in the oven, but you can’t whip this up in the morning.  It has to chill for at least 8 hours.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – There is very little chopping and I used dried herbs instead of fresh to save some time, money and fingers.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – I say that making a casserole isn’t out of anyone’s capabilities.  You just throw a bunch of stuff in a pan and bake it.  Period. 

OverallNOT BAD – It is your typical egg casserole.  That’s it in a nutshell.  Don’t get me wrong, it was tasty, but I’ve got a million recipes just like it waiting to be made.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes. I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 12

Nutritional Information
  • Calories 350
  • Total Fat 25g (Saturated Fat 13g)
  • Cholesterol 205mg
  • Sodium 710mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 8
  • Fiber 1g
  • Sugars 3
  • Protein 24g
  • Exchanges: ½ starch & 3 High-fat Meat
Obviously, your servings are going to be easily measured and it is going to be a decent sized serving.  However, I’d have some typical breakfast sides to finish off the breakfast plate.  This particular casserole doesn’t have any potatoes in it, so a nice potato dish would work.  And you can never go wrong with bacon.  Mmmmm…. Bacon.

They must have included their initial casserole cooking and assembly into the prep time, because 30 minutes is what I got with both prep time and cook time.  Obviously, the overnight figure depends on how much you sleep, but clearly they want you to have at least 8 hours of refrigeration.  I do have one question… where did they come up with that extra 5 minutes?  Let’s do the math:
30 min prep + 8 hours refrigeration + 60 min cooking = 9 hours 30 min

It’s making me nuts.  Before my brain explodes, here is my timing:
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Casserole Assembled: 20 minutes
  • Chilled: 9 hours (approximately)
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 hours 30 minutes
So it's right on target.  I just slept for an extra hour.

The nutritional information isn’t that great.  It is really high in fat, in fact two-thirds of the calories come from fat.  The sodium isn’t that great either but at least it is manageable.
I plugged the dish into Spark Database to check the accuracy of it and here are the numbers:
  • Calories 305
  • Total Fat 21.6g (Saturated Fat 12.4g)
  • Cholesterol 187.5mg
  • Sodium 619.6mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 8.6g
  • Fiber 0.4g
  • Sugar 1.8g
  • Protein 20g
So the numbers are pretty close.  I’m starting to think that Pillsbury deserves a thumbs up for accuracy… and so does Spark Database!  I had some alterations to the recipe when I made it.  Here are the numbers from my altered recipe:
  • Calories 230.2
  • Total Fat 11.2g (Saturated Fat 5.3g)
  • Cholesterol 151.8mg
  • Sodium 696.1mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 8.4g
  • Fiber 0.4g
  • Sugar 1.9g
  • Protein 23.2g
My changes really made the calorie, fat and cholesterol go down and of course that was my intention.  The sodium went up, which is usual with low fat products.  I’m not sure what the correlation is, but there are always slightly elevated sodium levels.  Anyway, it’s only about 12% and it was manageable to begin with, so I’m not concerned.

Another plus?  It is a decent supplier of Calcium.

Changes denoted by red text
© You Want Me to Cook
Overnight Brunch Egg Bake
Ingredients - Dairy
24 oz. (6 cups) shredded reduced-fat colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

1/3 cup sliced green onions

½ medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 (4.5-oz.) jar Green Giant® sliced mushrooms, drained

© You Want Me to Cook
Overnight Brunch Egg Bake
Ingredients - Meat & Pantry
8 oz. cooked ham, cut into cubes
8 eggs

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons dried fresh parsley

1 ¾ cups skim milk

Chopped red bell pepper, if desired

Chopped fresh parsley, if desired

Cooking Spray

Ingredient Notes:
Reduced-Fat Colby-Montery Jack Cheese – the original recipe called for a regular Colby-Montery Jack blend, but I used a reduced-fat blend.  It reduced the fat and calories by 20%.

Butter – the original recipe gave the option to use margarine, but I’m a big fan of butter.

Green onions – Also known as scallions, you can use leeks, shallots or chives if you don’t have them on hand.  Don’t laugh.  I currently have a ton of shallots in my house, but no green onions.

Red Bell Pepper – According to Cook’s Thesaurus, red and yellow peppers are riper, more flavorful, and pricier than the more common green ones, but feel free to use the green if that’s what you have on hand. 

Sliced Mushrooms – the original recipe called for Green Giant mushrooms (hello – it’s Pillsbury) and I used them because they were on sale.  However, you can use any jarred mushrooms you’ve got.  Most often, I can find the store brand cheaper.

Ham – the original recipe called for “sliced” ham, but I had cubed frozen in the freezer.  I didn’t see the need to buy more ham and it saved me time in prepping ingredients as well.

Parsley – the original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of “fresh” parsley.  I had dried on hand and I hate to buy a bunch of parsley for such a small amount since it always goes to waste for me.  I find that a 1:4 ration of dried:fresh works.

Skim Milkthe recipe originally called for regular 2% milk.  I only keep skim milk on hand so I used that.  Just remember that even using 1% milk drops the calories by 20% and cuts the fat and cholesterol in half.  Skim has zero fat and a relatively insignificant amount of cholesterol while shaving off a third of the calories.  And the skim milk didn’t change the thickness or fluffiness of the casserole.

Cooking Spray – you have to lightly grease the baking dish, and this is the most effective way I know how to do that.

Equipment Needed:
© You Want Me to Cook
Overnight Brunch Egg Bake
Equipment Needed
Cutting board
Sharp knife
13x9 baking dish (3 quart dish)
Medium skillet
Large spoon
Large bowl
Medium spoon
Knife with flat edge

Equipment Notes:
Cutting board – If you’re wondering why I didn’t have a separate board for the ham… the ham should be fully cooked.  Since you’re not using raw ham, you don’t need to worry about using a raw meat cutting board

Baking Dish Better Homes and Gardens says one of the major differences between metal pans and glass/ceramic baking dishes is the way heat affects them (high temperatures can make glass shatter and cooking temperatures need to be altered when substituting one for the other).  However, in this case, the acidic quality of eggs can react with metal pans and cause the food to discolor, so you definitely want to use glass if at all possible.

Medium Spoon – This will be used to spoon the flour into the measuring cup.  If you’re wondering why this is necessary, it is because scooping the flour with the cup can pack the flour, resulting in too much for the recipe.

Knife with flat edge – Use this to level the measuring cup.

(1)  Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Sprinkle half of cheese evenly into sprayed baking dish.

(2)   Melt margarine butter in medium skillet over medium heat.

I’m not sure why they have a love affair with margarine, but as I stated in the ingredient listing, I choose butter over margarine every time.

© You Want Me to Cook
Overnight Brunch Egg Bake
Vegetables Sauteed
(3)  Add onions, 1/2 medium bell pepper and mushrooms; cook until onions and bell pepper are tender.  

My vegetables became tender after 8 minutes.

© You Want Me to Cook
Overnight Brunch Egg Bake
Casserole - Base layer
(4)  Arrange vegetables over cheese in baking dish.  Top with ham strips.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over ham.

This was my first brain fart of the recipe.  See the last part about sprinkling the “remaining cheese over ham”?  Yeah, I forgot to do that.  See Step #8 for the fix (if you can even call it that).

© You Want Me to Cook
Overnight Brunch Egg Bake
Casserole with Ham

(5)  Beat eggs in large bowl.

(6)  Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.

(7)  Add flour, parsley and milk to eggs; blend well.

© You Want Me to Cook
Overnight Brunch Egg Bake
Casserole with Egg
(8)  Pour over mixture in baking dish. Cover; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

I figured this was as good a time as any to add the missing cheese into the dish.  Besides, who doesn’t love cheese on top of their casserole?

(9)   Heat oven to 350°F. Uncover baking dish; bake at 350°F for 55 to 65 minutes or until mixture is set and top is lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

(10)  To serve, cut into squares. Garnish with red bell pepper and fresh parsley.

This was a solid breakfast meal that will be sure to please most everyone.  If I were going to make it again, it would only be for a brunch or if I had houseguests that would be having breakfast in the morning.

My changes would be with how I would serve it.  Obviously, I would have the garnishes listed in the recipe.  However, I’d set up a breakfast bar that had a bunch of other things as well.  Allow people to dress it up as they like.  I’d make sure to have some potatoes, sausage or bacon (okay, maybe both), toast and fresh fruit to round out my table and I’d have a meal to please.

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