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Love to wake up to a hot, healthy breakfast? Here's a hearty casserole designed to lift your spirits and bring a satisfied smile to your face.
Potatoes and leeks are great winter storage vegetables, so this is an especially wonderful option for winter breakfasts and holiday mornings, but it's certainly a lovely option year-round.
And here's a little secret…
I added bacon to this recipe not just because it's … well, bacon…. but also because from a nutrient perspective, it's truly a feel-good ingredient that can actually lift our spirits (and not just because it tastes good). The fat layer in bacon that comes from pastured hogs provides a lovely dose of the much-needed Vitamin D in the dark days of winter, which in turn helps us combat the doldrums that can happen this time of year due to the lack of sunshine.
How's that for a good reason to eat more bacon???
A note about peppers, though, as they're obviously not a winter vegetable. In the summer when peppers are at their peak, I typically dice what seems like a bazillion peppers and toss them in the freezer, so that at occasions like this, I can just grab a bag and dump it in. They're not great this way for eating fresh, but they're wonderful in soups, stir-fries, and casseroles.
So, for all of you who just want to enjoy a hot breakfast or for those who are looking for a gluten-free or grain-free breakfast option, this one's for you!
Slow Cooker Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and shredded (white fleshed varieties are especially lovely)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 pound bacon or breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
- 1 leek, sliced thin into coins OR 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 1 pound brown mushrooms, quartered OR 1 ounce dried mushrooms (optional)
- 1 bell pepper, any color, chopped
- 1 hot pepper, any variety, minced OR 2 dashes hot sauce
- 12 eggs, beaten
- 12 ounces about 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 6-8 green onions, chopped (for garnish)
- Prepare a bowl or colander by lining it with two layers of cheesecloth or butter muslin.
- Toss the shredded potatoes and salt together and place in the prepared cloth. Let sit for 20 minutes, then twist the cloth to enclose the shreds completely and squeeze every bit of moisture that you can from the potatoes.
- While the potatoes are sitting, cook the bacon and saute the mushrooms (if using fresh) or soak and rinse the dried mushrooms. Set aside.
- Also, grease a 6-quart slow cooker and set aside.
- Once the potatoes have been wrung out, place them in a large bowl, then add all the remaining ingredients except for the green onions. Stir well, then pour into the slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
- Serve hot and sprinkle liberally with green onions.
- *Easily make this vegetarian by omitting the bacon.