Breakfast Casserole

One thing is for sure, when you begin to limit your grain, dairy and sugar intake it wreaks havoc on your list of breakfast options for a while! Eggs can get old fast no matter how you cook or top them and even though you might think, “how could I ever get tired of bacon?”… it happens. 😉

It is highly beneficial to get into the practice of not beginning your day with the spike to your blood sugar that comes from sugary yogurts, fruits, pastries and other grains. There are ways to tone down your oatmeal and mitigate that glycemic index or to make better fruit and dairy choices in the morning but I want to give you all as many ideas as I can that don’t fall into the grain/sugar/dairy-for-breakfast category.

This breakfast casserole does have eggs but they are a component of a larger dish so even if you’re tired of eggs, give this a try! It can be made ahead in the evening and kept in the refrigerator until the next morning when you want it fresh and hot to serve. I always put it together in the evening, keep it in the fridge uncooked over night, put it in an unheated oven when I get  up and then let the oven come up to temp and cook the casserole while I’m getting ready for the day or drinking my coffee.

I make sure to put the cold dish in the oven before it’s hot because I don’t want the extreme temperature difference to crack my baking dish. The dish will warm gradually with the oven if you turn it on after you’ve already placed the dish inside.

This casserole usually lasts for 3 breakfasts at my house because my husband and 2 children love to eat it, too. To reheat your casserole place the leftover servings (as much as you want to eat that morning) in the oven and cover with foil so it doesn’t dry out due to being heated a second time. A 350 degree oven is just fine and it will take 20 minutes or so to get the casserole warm again, depending on how much you’re reheating. You want to do this instead of placing the food in the microwave because the microwave kills your food. Basically, that means you’re rendering it virtually nutrition-less not to mention, the consistency of microwaved food leaves a lot to be desired! The last thing you want to do is spend your energy on sourcing, buying, and preparing quality food at home just to kill it in the microwave. Read this post for more tips on reheating food. 

the skinny on starches

Yes, sweet potatoes are starchy vegetables (starch is a complex carbohydrate) that also have beneficial vitamins, beta carotene, and antioxidant nutrients. You will find sweet potatoes listed as a Veritas-approved vegetable under the ‘Starchy Vegetables’ section of the Veritas Basic Healing Diet.

Starches break down into simple sugars your body can use. So, you may be thinking…”but I am avoiding sugars.” There are several reasons you may virtually eliminate or reduce sugars from your diet for a time (or indefinitely). Maybe you’ve just gotten into a good groove and you feel better when you don’t eat sugars. Or, maybe you’re in the midst of a yeast killing regimen and are running down inflammation in your body. Whatever your reason, strictly speaking, starches can feed yeast and sometimes spike your blood sugar however, your practitioner will likely say it’s perfectly fine to eat some starchy vegetables (beans, parsnips, potatoes, etc) a few times a week without having to worry about sabotaging your health goals. A starchy food may pose some potential problems for folks with certain health conditions. Each person, with their unique health circumstances, is different so ask your practitioner or send an email to hello@veritaskitchen.com, if you need help knowing how or whether to incorporate starches into your diet.

a word about pork

Traditionally, breakfast sausage is made from pork. You can get sausage made with other meats but regardless of what kind of sausage you buy look for something that’s been pasture-raised (or grass-fed). If that isn’t an option then look for organic meat or meat from animals that were fed a diet free of GMO’s. You’ll also want to look for meat from animals that weren’t given antibiotics or hormones. And, with sausage as well as other processed meats like bacon, summer sausages, pepperoni, lunch meat, etc. you want to look for products free of added nitrates and nitrites.

Peruse your health food store (don’t forget the freezer section!) for the options available to you there but if you want to order quality pork (or beef breakfast sausage) here are two excellent local options:

Paidom Meats – Alan Berkenfeld

Holy Cow Beef – They sell a wonderful beef breakfast sausage and they carry Lisemby Farms pork breakfast sausage. Contact Weldon or Ann Warren of Holy Cow Beef for ordering and delivery information.

I have used pork from both sources as well as the breakfast beef sausage from Holy Cow and and highly recommend all of it! Lisemby Farms pork comes from heirloom pigs and they provide premium lard, too! Paidom has quality pork as well as grass-fed beef and free range whole chickens. Both brands offer pork from pastured, healthy pigs. Again, contact Holy Cow Beef for Lisemby Farms pork products as well as all of their own grass-fed beef products.

Pork and pork fat from hogs raised well is a good source of nutrition. The fatty acid profile of pork fat (think, bacon and lard!) boasts an optimal ratio for human consumption.

Well, this was a long post and all for a casserole recipe! Thank you for hanging with me and investing in your health by taking time to become educated about delicious and nutritious food!

ingredients

  • 1 very large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, grated
  • 1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 lb breakfast sausage (see body of post for tips on sourcing quality sausage)
  • 10 eggs, preferably pastured
  • 1/3 C chicken or beef broth or milk (if you’re doing dairy)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp chili powder
  • Butter or ghee to grease your dish
Fanci-fy it:
  • Add chopped green onions for flavor and color or
  • A sprinkle of cheddar cheese if you want to incorporate some dairy or
  • If you have a favorite spice, sprinkle it on or
  • If you love mushrooms or peppers, sauté a pan-full and add them in!

instructions

  1. Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees (if you’re baking your casserole right away)
  2. With your fingers, grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish with some butter or ghee (reserved bacon fat or avocado or coconut oil will work, too) OR if you want to use a 12 inch cast iron skillet, oil it up with any of the same fats just mentioned. Set aside.
  3. Chop your onion. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl whisk together your 10 eggs, your broth or milk, and all the spices and seasoning (garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper). Set aside.
  5. Heat a skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. You probably won’t need to grease the pan because fat from your sausage will suffice. However, if you’re using a turkey or chicken sausage that doesn’t have a lot of fat in it, you may want to add some ghee or avocado oil first, too.
  6. While your pan is heating up grate your sweet potato directly into your greased casserole dish using a box grater. You can use other kinds of graters but they won’t make the job as easy.
  7. Spread the grated sweet potato out and pat it down into an even layer across the bottom of the dish. This is the bottom layer of your casserole and acts somewhat like a pie crust of sorts…if this were a pie…
  8. Stop thinking about pie.
  9. Your pan is hot now. Add your chopped onion and sausage to the pan. Break the meat up into smaller and smaller clumps as the sausage cooks. Use a spatula (wooden, metal or plastic is fine) to do this. Let the meat sit between bouts with the spatula to cook and brown. The more it cooks, the easier it is to break up the chunks of meat.
  10. After the meat is cooked (no longer pink) you may want to drain some fat or soak it up with a few paper towels. Remember, though, meat from well sourced animals is a good thing in your diet. Don’t feel like you have to sop up every last drop. I can understand not wanting to have a very greasy casserole, though.
  11. Layer your meat and onion mixture on top of the sweet potato in your dish.
  12. If you’re adding any other ingredients such as mushrooms, peppers, cheese, etc, now is the time to add those things in.
  13. Pour your egg mixture evenly over the top of the other layers in the dish.
  14. Now, you can bake your happy casserole right away or cover it and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook and serve. I wouldn’t let it sit for more than a couple days at most.
  15. Bake your room temperature casserole at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or, if you’re casserole is very cold from being in the fridge, it could take closer to an hour. You can bake it uncovered. You know you’re casserole is ready when it doesn’t jiggle in the middle.
  16. Enjoy!

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