Where did that random crouton come from?? WHERE???
So yesterday, at the impromptu awesome hang-out when my sis, bro-in-law, and LJE
came over – I mentioned I threw together this breakfast souffle’ thingy. I began by pulling a simple casserole recipe that called for the croutons, cheese and eggs, so that I could get the correct oven temp and an approximate baking time- then built my plan from there. It was based entirely on stuff that I was craving. This was the first go round – and, as always, I will reinvent this a bajillion times before I settle on the way it might possibly be done more than once in the future (I like to keep things open – it leaves room for amazing accidents). That being said, please send me your ideas!! And I think we may need an actual name for this dish =P Comment with your ideas friends, and we’ll update the final version featuring you
Here’s some side notes too:
(1) Did a test run this morning, and this dish can totally be frozen, and reheated in the microwave –
Benji's fave food...
although I recommend freezing it already cut into the portion sizes you want with wax (or parchment) paper between layers. I did NOT do that and it sucked sawing frozen stuff to keep from having to defrost the entire thing.
(2) I read some amazing substitution ideas to healthify this a little bit: use fat-free croutons, use 4 real eggs and Egg Beaters for the remainder, replace half the cheese with a fat-free option, use a lower sodium meat such as chicken (or evidently they now sell low-sodium bacon bits??), cut the butter entirely, and instead, soften your croutons with warmed olive oil or a smart-oil margarine option. I fully intend to try the healthy version next time, to see how the changes affect the rise of the eggs.
(3) Absolutely make sure your potatoes are thawed (or fresh) so that they soften properly during baking.
(4) If you want to prep everything except the egg mixture the night before, you totally can, just cover and refrigerate overnight then add a few minutes to your cook time in the morning. You’ll get 8 typical portions, or 6 servings for really hungry people. Possibly 4 servings if you’re feeding a group of gents like the ones we’ve got ’round my house.
1 – 5oz pkg Seasoned Herb Croutons
3/4 – cup (6 tbsp) for-reals butter (I used salted, but you can choose unsalted and season dish to taste)
2-1/2 – cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
1 – cup diced ham steak
1 – cup thawed southwest-style hashbrowns (essentially? potato cubes y’all)
1 – 4oz can Green Chiles (I prefer Hatch Fire-Roasted Mild, but several brands offer varying heats that you can try)
8 – eggs (we prefer organic cage-free)
1-1/2 – cup Whole Milk
1 tsp – Ground Dry Mustard
1 tsp – Salt
1/4 tsp – Ground Black Pepper
1/4 tsp – Tuscan Seasoning (contains thyme, rosemary, sage, basil, bay leaf, marjoram – Maybe you could sub poultry seasoning in a pinch? It’s similar. Also, this seasoning is what I had on hand and should definitely be altered to suit your tastes and your spice cabinet)
1 tsp – Onion Juice (Again, Benji doesn’t eat onions, so you could totally use real ones – the flavor from the juice is equivalent to 1 small white onion or 1/2 medium white onion diced, or I think green onions might taste super yummy, but remember their flavor is stronger)
||Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cooking spray into a large 4qt baking dish- especially the sides.
||Separately, in a large mixing bowl: Melt the butter in the microwave. Stir croutons into melted butter to coat. Then, spread croutons evenly into the bottom of the baking dish.
||Sprinkle 1-1/2 CUPS ONLY of the cheese over the croutons. Then sprinkle the thawed hashbrowns, (onions if using), and diced ham evenly over the top.
||In the buttery bowl that you tossed the croutons in – break your eggs. Whisk to blend and break yolks. Add milk, seasonings, onion juice and green chiles. Whisk well, then pour evenly over the top of the items in the roasting dish. Top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.
||Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes.
So here is your mission, should you choose to accept it ~ and everyone gets to participate and share their vision, because I HATE the reality cooking shows where people get bashed and eliminated and told they’re not good enough. This is NOT that kind of party y’all:
Updated: Sun.Jan8 – 4:31pm ~ You do not have to participate in all 3 elements, you can participate in just 1 if you want. Do what makes you happy =D
1. Help me think of a name!! If you’re the thinker behind the winning you’ll be the ITTWBE Big Wig!!:
The ITTWBE Blog "Big Wig" Award
2. Give the recipe a trial run, and share your personal twist on it. You will be credited, and your suggestions will be featured, at the unveiling of the Precisely-Named-Soufflé-Thingy
3. Take pictures of your kitchen fun and email them to IThoughtThisWouldBeEasierBlog@gmail.com ~ Award Categories are: NOMS Master, Interpretive Cooker Du Jour, and Duke/Duchess of FAIL.
Remember!! Real cooking doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s about having fun and making your tastebuds happy – and EVERYONE has had their epic fails, so be fearless!! ❤
Happy Noshing my friends!! Noodles!! (yeah. I just did that. It rhymes with toodles. Mwah!)