This month I’ve been doing a version of a pantry challenge, where I’m focusing on using what’s in my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry instead of going to the grocery store constantly. There are lots of recipes on Budget Bytes that are good for this sort of thing, sometimes just requiring a fresh produce item or two.
Dragon Noodles sounded like a great fit for a quick and easy meal, with a few adjustments to work better with what I have. And that’s one of the things I love about the recipes on this site — they’re quite flexible, and Beth encourages adapting a recipe to what works best for you.
Adapted from Dragon Noodles
- used 4 oz of spaghetti noodles instead of lo mein (broken in half)
- added 6 oz of frozen peas (thawed)
- added leftover stir fried cabbage (about a cup)
- added 1/2 tsp granulated garlic to sauce
- omitted cilantro and green onion
Delicious! I loved this way of cooking the egg — the high fat to egg ratio (well, high for me) gave the egg a really nice pool to cook in, keeping it softer and moister than normal. And the sauce couldn’t have been easier. I enjoyed this right after cooking it and two more times as leftovers as well. This one is a keeper, and I can imagine adapting it for all kinds of veggies.
My goal with creating this recipe was to have a hearty breakfast that requires no work to prepare in the morning — just a quick reheating in the microwave and it’s ready to go. I wanted it to be an easy, healthy choice for when time is short in the morning before heading out to work.
I started drafting the recipe by listing all of the veggies that I know my husband and I both like and would be especially tasty for a morning meal. And I knew it would include eggs and cheese to tie it all together. I approached it sort of like making a quiche, except with a shredded-potato base instead of a pastry crust.
This recipe is definitely a labor of love! It took a few hours to make, primarily because of all of the prep and pre-cooking of the vegetables. And then I accidentally turned the oven off in the middle of baking it, which stretched the cooking time out considerably.
But the time and energy definitely paid off and now there are 8 big, delicious slices of this casserole (really it’s more like a vegetable torte, with well-defined layers as opposed to stirred-together casserole ingredients), making a whole week of quick and easy breakfasts.
Veggie-packed Breakfast Casserole
Makes one 9×12-inch dish, cut into 8 generous slices
- 2 large Russet potatoes, left whole with skins cleaned
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 red bell peppers, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbls oil
- large pack of white mushrooms, cleaned
- 4 tbls butter, divided
- bunch of spinach, cleaned and stemmed
- 6 oz cheese, shredded
- 6 large eggs
- milk (to fill to the 4 ½ cup line when mixed with the eggs)
- 2 large tomatoes, thickly sliced
- 1 to 1 ½ c bread crumbs (I used crumbs from whole wheat loaves I’d previously made)
- 1 tbls olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Place the whole potatoes in a pan of water and cover with cool water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until a knife can be inserted into them fairly easily. Drain potatoes and place in an ice bath for 15 minutes, then peel the skins off and refrigerate while the rest of the ingredients are prepared.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Rub 3 tbls of the butter in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
- Heat 1 tbls of oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft and translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add bell pepper and garlic and saute for a few more minutes until the peppers are slightly softened. Set aside.
- Pull the stems from the mushrooms. Slice the caps and wring the moisture from them using a thin towel (such as a flour sack dish towel). Finely chop the mushroom stems and wring them out as well. Saute over medium-low heat with 1 tbls of butter until cooked through and the liquid has evaporated (about 15 minutes), seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the onion and pepper mixture, the mushrooms, and the spinach. The heat from the onions and mushrooms will wilt the spinach.
- Shred the potatoes. Set aside.
- In large measuring cup, add the eggs and fill up to the 4 ½ c mark with milk. Whisk together until smooth.
- In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the olive oil.
- Assemble casserole: distribute the shredded potatoes in the bottom on top of the butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper; sprinkle ⅓ of the cheese over the potatoes; spread the onion/pepper/mushroom/spinach mixture over the potatoes evenly; pour the egg/milk mixture on top; sprinkle on the remaining cheese; lay the tomato slices on top; sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the tomato slices.
- Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake an additional 15-30 minutes, or until the egg is cooked and the dish is bubbly.
- Let rest for a bit, then slice. If storing for eating over several days, it’s easier to get the slices into storage containers once it’s been chilled.