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Easy Breakfast Casseroles With Hashbrowns & Mushrooms

by Fred Decker, studioD

Casseroles practically define convenience in home-cooked food. With only a small amount of advance preparation, you get a whole meal in one dish, needing only a short time in the oven to be ready. That's as easy as it gets, especially at breakfast, when getting your family ready and out the door on time is often a challenge. Even picky eaters will pause to grab a few bites of a tasty hash brown casserole.

Casseroles with Hash Browns

In most cases, a casserole is built around a starchy bulk ingredient, such as rice or pasta. At breakfast time, potatoes are the obvious choice. Leftover cooked potatoes can easily be diced or shredded for hash browns, or cheat a little and buy the frozen kind to save time. Line your favorite casserole dish with hash browns, and top them with cooked bacon, ham or sausage pieces. Cover the other ingredients with beaten eggs, white sauce, cheese sauce or a cream soup. Before baking the casserole, top it with croutons, buttered breadcrumbs or cheese to make a kid-friendly garnish. For an extra zing, mix ranch seasoning mix and sour cream with your beaten eggs to top the hash browns and meat.

Casseroles with Mushrooms

Many ingredients have an ingratiating ability to make the foods around them taste better. One of those ingredients is mushrooms, which make everything around them more savory. Mushrooms complement most other breakfast ingredients, including potatoes, ham, bacon, sausage, cheese and eggs, as well as veggies such as onions and bell peppers. This makes them a natural for your breakfast casserole. Saute the mushrooms ahead of time in a little oil or butter, then add them to the rest of your ingredients. If your kids are mushroom-averse, either leave part of your casserole mushroom free or mince them small enough to pass unnoticed.

Casseroles With Mushrooms and Hash Browns

Combining both of these useful ingredients in one breakfast casserole is easy. Once you've lined your baking dish with the potatoes, scatter sauteed mushrooms around the dish along with your other flavorful ingredients, such as ham, bacon or cheese. Fill the dish with beaten eggs or a creamy sauce and your casserole is complete. For a vegetarian or lower-fat version, substitute spinach or fresh herbs for the meats and cheese. Another way to add mushroom flavor to your favorite casserole is to use cream of mushroom soup as the sauce over your ingredients.

Advance Preparation

Breakfast casseroles can be a great time saver, but only if you've done some work ahead of time. This can be as easy as assembling the casserole the night before and leaving it in the fridge, ready to cook. However, if you have the freezer space, you can prepare several casseroles and have them ready for your busy mornings. Prepare your ingredients, then assemble the casseroles in oven-ready dishes. Alternate the ingredients as you go, so each casserole is a little bit different. Freeze casseroles cooked or uncooked. Cooked casseroles heat more quickly.

About the Author

Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Photo Credits

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