We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief because the finish line is close. The end of 2016 is drawing near and holiday reverie is slowly slipping from our sticky, candy-cane-stained-grasp.
There’s just one downside to the holidays. Okay, make that two. The first one is that the holidays eventually come to an end. I’m a Christmas girl, so holiday time for me is honestly the most wonderful time of the year. The second—and the one we need to watch out for the most—is the supreme pressure we put on ourselves to make the holiday perfect. We overcommit, overextend and overdo. This year I say we cut ourselves a little slack and take the easier way out—especially when it comes to cooking. How? By taking a few shortcuts to create a homemade holiday from the heart. That’s where this Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Egg Casserole comes in.
Planning ahead is key to surviving the holidays. It’s also when your slow cooker can become your best friend—and it starts with breakfast. This slow-cooker breakfast casserole is hearty, filling and simple to pull together, making it the quintessential trifecta for holiday cooking. The ingredients aren’t going to pass their expiration dates in a hurry, and making it involves mostly some simple chopping and a bit of sautéing before the slow cooker steps up.
I am a huge fan of the Mediterranean flavors in this breakfast casserole. Artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms are my go-to ingredients whether sprinkled in a quinoa salad, stuffed in chicken or twirled in pasta like a ballerina in her partner’s arms. Here I’ve used hash browns straight from the freezer to create a crustless quiche for the eggy slow-cooker soufflé.
Fun fact: One of the founding brothers of ORE-IDA and the inventor of the TATER TOT®, F. Nephi Grigg, lived with his family in the neighborhood we now live and yes, I’ve even been to his former home. There you go, one of my claims to fame.
To make this casserole a whole lot easier to serve, I used a disposable slow-cooker liner. It makes it easy to pull out finished dishes shaped like a pie, and it’s a whole lot easier to control when transferring them to a plate. If you don’t have a liner, be sure to generously spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray and use a large spoon to ladle out servings.
While there’s plenty of flavor in this casserole thanks to the veg-heavy ingredient list, I still felt like my eggs could use some complementary flavors. So I added smooth mustard to the egg mix before adding the milk. For this dish, I always use whole milk or half-and-half rather than skim so the eggs come out creamy and custard-like.
Swiss cheese adds a little more melted creaminess to this dish. You could substitute white cheddar, fontina or Havarti if you’d like. But our cheese trail doesn’t end here: More cream and more tang come into play with big chunks of goat cheese on top.
Crisped prosciutto gives the egg casserole a salty bite. I usually crisp up more than I need, then serve it on the side for the bacon lovers among us.
This slow-cooker breakfast casserole can be assembled the night before, then set to cook while you sleep. All slow cookers cook a little differently, so gauge your doneness by how set up the top is. If it’s still runny, it’s not done yet. When it’s done, I pull it from the slow cooker and let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into servings. Then I garnish with basil leaves and voila! Breakfast is served.
For more inspiration, check out these easy breakfast egg bakes and casseroles.