I have been experimenting with all different kinds of breakfast casseroles, since my family (the men too) seems to love them and they are a great way to feed a larger family on a tight budget, since it can stretch a half pound of meat into serving about 6 people.
My daughters and I also love Fritatas and quiche, but the men in our family aren’t big on Fritatas, and I have heard “Real men don’t eat quiche” way too many times to even try making a quiche when they are around. The following recipe is my latest attempt to make everyone happy and it was a huge sucess, so I am sharing it with all of you!
Anytime Potato, Sausage, and Egg Pie
This recipe is sort of a cross between a breakfast casserole and a frittata and can really be served any time of the day. I like to serve it with some fresh or canned fruit and some kind of home made muffin on the side.
The topping is totally optional and the dish is still very delicious without it. I actually came up with the idea of the spinach topping because in my family two people wont eat spinach at all, two people love cooked spinach with eggs, and 1 person only likes creamed spinach. Having an optional creamy spinach topping was my way of making everyone in the family happy.
This pie can serve 6-12 people depending on what time of day you serve it and what else you are serving with it. Those of us that like spinach spoon the spinach mixture right on top of our pie, so we end up with a wonderful spinach pie, and those that dont like spinach have a pie without any spinach that they can enjoy too!
About 4 Russet potatoes grated (enough to cover the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish)
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ pound Italian Sausage
1 shallot, finely chopped (or ¼ cup onion finely chopped)
1 small can of mushrooms, drained
1 small can of sliced black olives, drained
any additional chopped or sliced vegetable you want to add(optional)
2 oz. cream cheese, cut into small chunks
1 dozen eggs
½ cup milk or water
1 cup (or more)of mozzarella, swiss, fontina, or other good melting white cheese
black pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper (optional)
The topping: (optional, since many people dont like cooked spinach)
1-2 pieces of bacon cut into small pieces
1 shallot, finely chopped (or ¼ cup finely chopped onion)
1 8-10 oz package of frozen spinach, thawed, and with all excess water removed
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
Directions for Crust:
Grease the bottom of a 9X13 inch pan with Olive oil. I like to dry off the grated potatoes a bit with a paper towel so they are not overly wet first. Then I toss them with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish to form a crust, pushing them up against the sides of the baking dish a bit. Bake in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are browned and crispy. (In some ovens you might need to turn on your broiler and watch it for a few minutes until the crust finishes browning on top.)
Directions for the Filling:
While the crust is baking brown the sausage in a skillet, and then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Pour off excess grease from the pan leaving just enough fat to cook the shallots or onion until it they are just beginning to brown. I like to add the mushrooms to the skillet about half way through so they absorb some of the flavor from the sausage and shallot or onions too. When the mixture is cooked, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Remove the pan from the heat, but set it aside to use for the topping later.
When the crust is done it is time to assemble the pie. Reduce the oven temperature to about 325 degrees. Sprinkle the cooked sausage on top of the potato crust, followed by the mushroom mixture, and then the black olives. If you want to add any additional vegetables now is the time to add them. (zucchini, peppers, or even blanched asparagus would be great add ins. Most veggies can be added in raw or blanched to keep their color.) Dot the top with the cream cheese.
Beat the eggs and milk or water in a large bowl with the pepper and crushed red pepper and then pour them over everything in the casserole dish. Spread the grated cheese over the top of the eggs. Sprinkle the top of the pie with little paprika and chives for a little color on top of the pie to make it pretty! Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the top is slightly browned and the eggs are fully cooked.
Directions for Topping:
In the skillet I used earlier, I start browning the bacon and then add shallot or onion and cook until the onions are slightly browned and the bacon has reached the desired doneness while the pie is cooking. If there is too much grease in the pan I spoon off the excess and then add the spinach, cream cheese and parmesan cheese. As soon as the cream cheese has melted to make a creamy sauce and the spinach is heated through this is done. I put a lid on it and remove it from the heat to keep it warm until the casserole is done. If you make this ahead, you can easily warm it up in a small covered casserole dish as you cook the casserole. This topping can also be made as a separate side dish to just about any meal.
WOW! That sounds great!