When my kids were little, my husband traveled quite often for business. The change in routine and the loss of their favorite playmate was hard for my boys – Mom just couldn’t make the same “growly” sounds as Dad and let’s face it – I just was NOT good at submarine maneuvers in the bathtub! To cope with this dismal state of affairs, I developed “breakfast for dinner”!!! Smiley faced pancakes and fruit, scrambled eggs with their favorite bacon gave us all something to look forward too – for them it was the novelty and for me it was a welcome reprieve from fixing an entire dinner without my better half/ chief babysitter around!
Well, a number of years have passed since those days – my husband now rarely travels and smiley faced pancakes do not fill up two teenage boys. But on occasion, we still have “breakfast for dinner” – a new and more substantial version though!! Crispy potatoes, eggs, cheese, tomatoes and spinach – a slightly more “elegant” version of an omelette and hashbrowns.
1 pckg. Shredded hash brown potatoes – fresh or frozen
2 cups shredded lowfat cheese
1 – 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained well
½ cup onion, minced
1 10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
Pre heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray 1 – 9 x 13 inch pyrex or 2 9 inch round pyrex dishes with cooking spray. Spread hash brown potatoes on paper towel and top with another paper towel, pressing down to extract any additional moisture. Spread potatoes into bottom and up sides of pyrex dish/dishes. Spray liberally with canola oil spray – or if you are feeling luxurious, drizzle potatoes with ¼ cup melted butter, toss and then spread in the dishes! Bake in 425 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes until potatoes are lightly browned and crisp. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
While potatoes are cooking combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper into a medium bowl. Whisk mixture until thoroughly blended. Spray a medium sized sauté pan with cooking spray or heat 1 tsp. canola oil in pan. Add chopped onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Sprinkle the tomatoes,,spinach and onions over the baked potato crusts and then layer with the cheese. Pour egg mixture over tomatoes/spinach/cheese mixture and bake for approximately 25 – 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Serves 10 – 12 people.
Notes: This is a very flexible recipe – feel free to add other ingredients (chopped artichoke hearts, sautéed bell peppers, zucchini, etc.) and/or any herbs/spices that you like such as a little (1/8 tsp.) freshly grated nutmeg. . If you are watching your cholesterol, feel free to substitute an egg substitute for 3 of the eggs.
This recipe re heats very well so it is perfect for those nights when everyone seems to be getting home at a different time. Pair it with a simple green salad and some whole grain bread for those with bigger appetites!