I have never been that great at eating breakfast. I typically do actually have breakfast (except for most weekends when I wake up just before lunch). I just don’t make very good choices when it comes to breakfast. I would swing between extremes of eating too little or eating too much. I would often eat just enough for breakfast that it would wake up my metabolism, but not nearly enough to fill me. So, I’d be left feeling famished an hour later and would struggle to make it to lunch before eating again. Other times, I would grab something very starch heavy and high in calories from Dunkin and call it a meal. I always could tell though that my body was not satisfied with what I was putting in it when I did that.
I recently started working with my primary care provider on my diet. I have really come to see the importance of starting your day off by putting sufficient nutrition into your body. I am currently eating a high protein diet where I am supposed to be getting 6 ounces of protein at breakfast. It was important to me to come up with specific meals to make, since I didn’t want to just eat six eggs every morning. I also know I don’t have the time nor energy to cook in the morning. I needed something I could make ahead and hopefully last the whole week.
That’s how I came to an egg bake. I can pack in plenty of protein by adding meat and cheese to the eggs. I can also get in the vegetables I am supposed to be eating at breakfast. I wrote this recipe focusing on healthy and nutritious ingredients without sacrificing taste and flavor. I used chicken sausage and primarily egg whites to make this a lighter dish. Baked in a 9×13 casserole dish, I cut this into six servings. Those are pretty substantial squares, but each serving is only about 200 calories. This of course would be less if you cut it into smaller servings. This high-protein breakfast casserole could be the perfect way to get your day started. Plus, if you make this on Sunday, you could have breakfast covered for the entire week!
- one pound sweet Italian chicken sausage (could be replaced with turkey sausage)
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced if not already
- two cups chopped kale
- one cup shredded mozzarella cheese (part-skim)
- two large eggs
- two cups egg whites (equivalent to 8 egg whites)
- 1/2 cup almond milk (could use any milk or milk alternative)
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
- salt and pepper
*This ingredient list is meant to be flexible. I made two versions of this already. For the first version, I used one 10 oz package of frozen chopped leaf kale, one 8 oz package of fresh mushrooms, and one 12 oz package of Nature’s Promise chicken sausage (fully cooked). In my second attempt, I used one 10 oz package of frozen mixed mushrooms, one bunch of dinosaur kale, and one pound of raw chicken sausage from Whole Foods. Use whatever ingredients you like. Just remember that if you are using frozen vegetables, make sure to thaw beforehand, drain, and then squeeze as much water from the vegetables as you can or your casserole will retain a lot of liquid.
Left: version 1 Right: version 2
- If you are using any frozen vegetables, drain the vegetables and press out as much water as possible. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive or canola oil in a large pan over medium heat. De-case the sausage if using raw sausage. Once oil is hot, add sausage to the pan. Break up the sausage with a hard spatula or wooden spoon as it browns. Cook until browned. (If using fully cooked sausage, slice the sausage width-wise into rounds and cook for a few minutes to re-heat).
- Once the sausage is cooked, add mushrooms and cook for a few more minutes. Add the chopped kale. Season with salt and pepper, then mix the kale into the other ingredients and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
- Prepare a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the meat and vegetable mixture evenly in the pan. Sprinkle one cup of shredded mozzarella on top of the meat/veggies.
- In a large glass measuring cup (mine holds 4 cups) measure 2 cups of egg whites. Crack two whole eggs into the measuring glass with the egg whites. Pour in 1/2 cup of milk and whisk until homogenized. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour the egg mixture evenly over the sausage, veggies, and cheese. It should cover it most of the way, but it is okay if the ingredients stick out at bit. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.
- Cover with tin aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes (until set).
There you go! That’s my new secret to a make ahead healthy breakfast that last the whole week while I am at work. I serve this with a side of fruit.
Making changes to your diet and routine can seem daunting. It does help when the healthy food you are eating is truly delicious! Healthy food has a bit of a bad reputation. I stand firm that almost any food can taste good when cooked properly and combined with the right flavors. This breakfast casserole is far tastier than any other breakfast I am used to eating, and it sits better, too! The chicken sausage gives the dish so much flavor that other than salt and pepper, it doesn’t need any added seasoning. It’s loaded with gooey cheesy goodness. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals to make your body function the way it should. All in all, it’s a nearly perfect way to start the day. (I still have to get that coffee in me to get me going though).
I preferred the second version of this to the first one. It tasted more fresh than the first version with the frozen kale and precooked sausage. Each time I reheated this second casserole in the microwave, it felt as though it just came out of the oven for the first time. Of course, everyone is going to have their personal preference. I do recommend using the fresh ingredients for better taste though.