Posts

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole with Bacon and Gruyere

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Friends and family will oooh and ahhhh over this gourmet Crockpot Breakfast Casserole, whether you serve it for a weekend brunch, a weeknight dinner, or at your next holiday gathering. Its depth of flavor and beautiful color come from the Burgers’ Smokehouse bacon, onions, garlic, kale, roasted red peppers, and Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses.

Crockpot breakfast casserole

Created in partnership with Burgers’ Smokehouse.

Why You Need to Make This Casserole NOW

I cannot impress this upon you enough: MAKE.THIS.CASSEROLE. Our team and families here at Thriving Home couldn’t get enough of it!

Breakfast Casserole slice on a plate with fruit

Here are just a few reasons why we’re loving this make ahead breakfast casserole…

  • Oh, the flavors and colors in this recipe! Forget the brown, mushy casseroles you’ve been scarred by in the past. This one will win over all your senses with its layers of tender hash browns, crispy Burgers’ Smokehouse bacon, gooey Gruyere cheese, pungent Parmesan, and bright red roasted peppers intermixed with sautéed onions and kale. It’s a sight to behold, smell, and devour!
  • It’s easy to make ahead for your next holiday gathering or when you host guests. Simply store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer (using our instructions below) for up to 3 months.
  • Makes a BIG batch, serving 10-12 people. Great for serving to a crowd.
  • This recipe offers the perfect cook time for a brunch, like Easter, or a breakfast-for-dinner option. More on that below.
  • Reheats well. It’s delicious as leftovers! Our family ate on this casserole for days, and I was able to take some to our neighbors, too. Like I mentioned, it feeds an army!
  • Gluten-free. If you’re trying to avoid gluten, this casserole does so by using hash browns instead of bread.
Slow cooker with hash brown casserole, a ham, salad, fruit salad, and plates on a wooden table

What Ingredients Do I Need?

Don’t be intimidated by this ingredient list! You can find everything you need at Hy-Vee or your local grocery store.

Bacon – This is the #1 most important ingredient because….BACON. We recommend using Burgers’ Smokehouse Bacon, either Uncured Country Bacon or Hickory Smoked.

Burgers' Smokehouse Uncured Bacon package

Once you try Burgers’, you can never go back. The difference is all in their dry cure method…

Find Burgers’ Smokehouse Bacon at your local Hy-Vee or find a store near you that carries it.

Gruyere Cheese – This is perhaps the second most important ingredient, turning what could be a boring casserole into something gourmet! Gruyere is a hard light yellow Swiss that’s known as a mild-tasting melting cheese. It adds savoriness without overshadowing the other ingredients. I bought one 6 ounce block and shredded it by hand. It just took a minute or so.

Note: You can substitute your favorite shredded cheese, if you don’t have Gruyere. Cheddar cheese or Colby jack would work well.

Shredded Parmesan cheese – Provides another layer of flavor.

Roasted red peppers – Adds color and savoriness. Find a jar in the pickle aisle.

Kale – Adds amazing color and nutrition. You can’t really taste it, though. You can substitute baby spinach instead.

Yellow onion

Fresh or frozen hash browns – Make sure they are thawed first.

Milk – Your choice of what kind but I used 2%.

Large eggs

Salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic cloves – Good seasoning along the way is essential to this recipe.

Breakfast Casserole slice on a plate with fruit and a slow cooker in the background

How to Make Crockpot Breakfast Casserole

Watch this short video tutorial to see how easily this casserole comes together!

How Long Should I Cook a Breakfast Casserole in the Crockpot?

We know you want a slow cooker breakfast casserole that takes all night to cook and is waiting for you in the morning. But, I want to let you in on a not-so-fun secret: you’ll end up with an overcooked, burned breakfast casserole if you do. 🙁

Breakfast Casserole in a slow cooker on a wooden cutting board

Here’s the good news. We learned while testing recipe after recipe for From Freezer to Cooker that the perfect cook time for a crockpot breakfast casserole is exactly 4 hours on LOW. That means you can have it done just in time for a brunch or make it as a breakfast-for-dinner option.

This crockpot breakfast casserole also reheats well in the microwave in small portions, so don’t be afraid to cook it ahead of time and eat it later.

How to Make Ahead and Freeze Breakfast Casserole

Reduce stress and free up yourself to enjoy your next gathering by preparing this big batch recipe ahead of time. That way you can simply drop it in the slow cooker a few hours before you want to serve it.

You can either store the prepped, uncooked casserole in the fridge in the crockpot insert for up to 3 days. Or, you can freeze the prepped, uncooked casserole in a freezer bag or container for up for 3 months. When you’re ready to cook it, thaw completely and empty the contents into the crockpot.

Be sure to follow our freezing instructions in the recipe below.

Breakfast Casserole slice on a plate with fruit and a fork

More Recipes for a Crowd

If you’re looking for more delicious recipes that feed a crowd, be sure to check out and save our most popular article, 20+ Meals That Feed Large Groups.

meals for a crowd

Get ready to whip up one of the most memorable make ahead breakfast casseroles you’ve ever had!

Print
Breakfast Casserole in a Crockpot on a wooden cutting board

Crockpot Breakfast Casserole with Bacon and Gruyere Cheese

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10+ servings 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Guests will oooh and ahhhh over this gourmet breakfast casserole at your next brunch or holiday gathering. Its depth of flavor and beautiful color come from the bacon, onions, garlic, kale, roasted red peppers, and Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses. Bonus: It’s naturally gluten-free and makes a very large batch! 


Ingredients

  • 1 pound (16 0unces) Burgers’ Smokehouse Hickory Smoked Bacon (or Uncured Bacon), diced*
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (12 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, thoroughly drained and diced (Sub: sautéed, diced red bell peppers)
  • 2 cups finely chopped kale (be sure to remove the tough stems) (Sub: spinach) 
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups (about 15 ounces) refrigerated or frozen shredded hash browns, thawed (it’s important to thaw them first!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (sub: grated Parmesan cheese)
  • 2 cups (a 6 ounce block) shredded Gruyere cheese (sub: Swiss cheese, Monterey Jack, or your favorite shredded cheese)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (we used 2% milk, but it’s your choice)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until brown and crispy, about 8 minutes.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper-toweled lined plate and pour off all about 2 tablespoons of grease. Set aside.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the onions and red pepper flakes. Sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the peppers, kale, and garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes, until the kale has wilted, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper while it cooks. Set aside. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  4. Spray a 6 quart slow cooker insert generously with cooking spray. Layer 1 1/2 cups of the hash browns, 1/2 of the bacon, half of the veggie mixture, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and 1 cup Gruyere, and then repeat with the remaining hash browns, bacon, veggies and cheeses.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Pour over the other ingredients in the slow cooker. (Note: The casserole can sit in the refrigerator for up to 3 days at this point.)
  6. Cover and cook on Low for 4 hours, or until the center is set. Dab off any moisture from the top with a paper towel.
  7. Taste and season with most salt and pepper, as needed. Serve warm.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-3; let the veggie mixture cool. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour the egg mixture into a gallon-sized freezer bag or container. Add in the veggies and bacon, hash browns, 1 cup of Gruyere cheese, and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Seal tightly, toss lightly to combine, and freeze. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of Gruyere and 1/4 cup of Parmesan to a small freezer bag or container and freeze along with the egg mixture.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw in the refrigerator. (Tip: Place the freezer bag in a dish to prevent leaks.) Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray. Transfer the egg mixture to the slow cooker and stir to make sure ingredients are combined and evenly distributed. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan and 1/2 cup of Gruyere. Follow Steps 6-7.


Notes

*A great short-cut is Burgers’ Smokehouse Diced Bacon. Skip chopping raw bacon and toss it right into the saute pan. 

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

By Rachel Tiemeyer

Your family will love this easy, make-ahead Breakfast Burrito Recipe that goes straight from the freezer to the microwave or oven for a fast and satisfying breakfast.

breakfast burritos

This post was created in partnership with Burgers’ Smokehouse.

Kids and adults alike love these simple freezer-friendly breakfast burritos filled with all good things, including the BEST BACON ever. Make them in mass and freeze to have on hand for busy mornings as a grab-and-go option. What a nutritious, protein-rich, and delicious breakfast to start your day!

Why Make Freezer Breakfast Burritos

Let us make a quick case for why it’s worth spending an hour or two preparing a load of Freezer Breakfast Burritos to have on hand.

  1. Crowd-pleaser! These suckers are cheesy, gooey, melty deliciousness wrapped in a tortilla. We make them for breakfast or dinner with rave reviews from the kids and adults.
  2. Healthy! As you know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. With eggs, cheese, and bacon, this protein-packed meal will stick with you (or your kids) for hours. Add in some veggies or serve with some of our healthy suggestions below to round out this quick breakfast.
  3. Grab-and-Go! They are super easy to warm up in the morning, grab, and go. Just pull out the amount of burritos you need and follow our reheating instructions.
  4. Customizable! They are easy to customize with add-ins. See our ideas below.
breakfast burritos

What Should I Put in a Breakfast Burrito?

The great news about making breakfast burritos is that you can alter them to fit your own taste preferences easily. We have provided a basic recipe that includes scrambled eggs, cheese, hash browns, and Burger’s Smokehouse diced bacon. This 4-ingredient combo alone is a crowd favorite!

We say this all the time, but the Burgers’ Smokehouse bacon brings serious flavor. It’s hands-down our favorite bacon. Their new pre-diced bacon makes it so simple to use and is now available at your local grocery stores, including our favorite Hyvee (see all locations here).

a variety of add-in options for freezer-friendly breakfast burritos, including sauteed peppers, red onions, mushrooms, salsa, Monterey Jack cheese, and avocado

If you want to add in some more nutrition and flavor, though, try some of these suggestions that would work well in breakfast burritos…

  • Diced and sauteed bell peppers, red onion, and jalepeno peppers
  • Sliced and sauteed white button mushrooms
  • Salsa
  • Chopped spinach
  • Sliced green onions
  • Chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, cilantro, or basil
  • Switch up the cheese and try something like Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, feta, or goat cheese
  • Serve diced avocado or guacamole on top (do not freeze in the burrito; instead add this after reheating it)
breakfast burritos

How to Prep and Freeze Breakfast Burritos

Prepping Breakfast Burritos isn’t hard but it will take a little work on the front end. Trust me. You will be sooo happy to have these on hand in your freezer afterward.

Check out our short video showing you just how easy it is…

Here’s how we would suggest breaking down the work in order to be most efficient and to use only one large saute pan:

  1. Fry your bacon in a large saute pan (I love my cast iron pan). We’ve taken a shortcut in this recipe by using Burgers’ Smokehouse Naturally Smoked Diced Bacon (available at Hy-Vee and these stores). It saves time and mess! I would suggest buying two packages for a total of 3 pounds of bacon. That way you could triple our recipe while you’re at it and have LOTS of breakfast burritos on hand.
bacon

2. Using the bacon fat that is left (yum!), cook the hash browns according to package instructions in the same pan. Set aside on a paper-toweled lined plate.

3. Then, using the same pan, cook your scrambled eggs according to the recipe.

4. Set up your assembly line, and wrap and roll!

breakfast burrito assembly line with eggs, cheese, hash browns, and bacon

5. After rolling your breakfast burritos, freeze as many as you’d like in gallon-sized freezer bags and seal. Heat the others up and enjoy right away!

Breakfast Burritos wrapped in foil and piled on a teal plate.

Pro Tip! Our recipe makes 8 burritos. Why not double or triple it if you’re going to already be shopping, prepping, wrapping, and freezing? Oh, oh! And, why not drag a friend into the process with you and share the fruits of your labor? Heck, you could even throw a Freezer Party before school starts and stock your freezer.

freezer meal party

How to Freeze Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast Burritos will taste just like they are fresh if you freeze and reheat them the right way.

The key to success when freezing any freezer meal is to reduce exposure to air. That’s why we recommend tightly wrapping each individual breakfast burrito in foil (this also is handy when heating in the oven!) and then placing them in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Squeeze out any excess air before sealing.

frozen breakfast burritos wrapped in foil in a freezer bag

How to Reheat a Frozen Breakfast Burrito

You have a few options to reheat a frozen breakfast burrito:

1) Microwave Method: This is the fastest method. Unwrap the foil from the frozen burrito, wrap in a moist paper towel, and microwave using the defrost setting for 2 to 3 minutes, or until warmed through.

2) Oven Method (Frozen): Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the frozen breakfast burrito (in foil) for 45-60 minutes, until warmed through.

3) Oven Method (Thawed): Thaw the burritos in the refrigerator overnight. Bake (in foil) for about 15 minutes in a 350°F oven, until warmed through and the cheese is melty.

breakfast burritos warming up in the oven

What to Serve with Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast burritos can be a complete meal in and of themselves, especially if you include some of our optional add-ins like sauteed peppers and onions or chopped spinach. If you opt for our basic recipe, however, you may want to serve up some fruit and veggies alongside your breakfast burritos using one of these delicious ideas:

breakfast burritos on a plate

Now grab a friend and get cooking, wrapping, and freezing just in time for back to school breakfasts!

Print

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 burritos 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

An easy make-ahead Breakfast Burrito Recipe that goes straight from the freezer to the microwave or oven for a fast, satisfying breakfast.


Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter (or avocado oil)
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound shredded or diced hash brown potatoes, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 pound Burgers’ Smokehouse Diced Bacon, cooked (or chop up their sliced bacon)
  • 8 burrito-size tortillas
  • Optional Add-Ins:
    • sautéed bell peppers, onions, jalepeno peppers, or mushrooms
    • salsa
    • chopped spinach
    • sliced green onions
    • diced avocados
    • other kinds of cheeses (Monterey Jack, feta, etc)

Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, making sure it doesn’t brown. Pour in the egg mixture and scramble the eggs until set but still moist. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Prepare an assembly line with all the ingredients, including 8 square pieces of foil. Assemble each burrito on top of the foil by placing approximately 1/2 cup eggs, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/3 cup potatoes, and 2 tablespoons bacon (and any additional add-ins, if desired) in the middle of the tortilla. Use a spoon or your hands to toss the ingredients before wrapping the tortilla.
  5. Fold in the sides of the tortilla. While holding those in place, fold up the bottom of the tortilla over the ingredients and roll tightly into a burrito. Then, wrap the burrito tightly in the foil. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until warmed through and the cheese is melty.

Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-5. Place foil-wrapped burritos in a freezer bag, seal, and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: You have three options:

1) Microwave Method: Unwrap the foil from the frozen burrito, wrap in a moist paper towel, and microwave using the defrost setting for 2 to 3 minutes, or until warmed through.

2) Oven Method (Frozen): Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake for 45-60 minutes, until warmed through.

3) Oven Method (Thawed): Thaw the burritos in the refrigerator. Bake as directed in step 6.

breakfast burritos on a plate with fruit

Caramelized Banana Oat Muffins

By Polly Conner

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

I love making muffins.

Maybe it’s because my figure somewhat represents one at the current time (i.e. 7.5 months pregnant) but for some reason I’ve been wanting muffins in the morning–and afternoon. OK maybe I had 2 for dinner the night as well. No regrets either.

Call me a muffin snob but I want a recipe that will actually keep me full. I hate puttering out on energy at about 10am so I gravitate towards hearty recipes like our zucchini flaxseed muffins or chocolate banana muffins.

I’m always on the hunt for new muffin recipes so when I saw this caramelized banana oat muffin recipe on Pinch of Yum, I pounced on it as quick as a two year old does when his toy is in the hands of another child. Or maybe just my two year old. I digress.

I tweaked and subbed a few ingredients here and there and came out with a recipe that I for sure plan on making again.

Here’s how it all went down… (recipe at the bottom of the post).

Rise and shine. Muffin making time.

The first step to this recipe is to caramelize the bananas. As with most things in my life, my children wanted to be right in the middle of whatever I may be doing. So here we are–in all of our morning glory–me in my husbands shirt because I hardly have any that actually fit me (thank you baby bump).

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

This actually turned out to be a great task for little hands. I sliced 4 bananas about 1/2 inch thick and my little helpers placed them on a foiled and greased baking sheet.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

After baking them at 400 for about 15 minutes, they looked like this.

I mean, gross right? Not quite the image of the beautifully caramelized bananas that I was envisioning. Regardless, I persevered through the recipe.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Next, it was time to make the oat flour.

Don’t be intimidated by this at all. Oat flour can simply be made in the food processor. I use the same technique for our oatmeal pancakes all of the time. Just dump them in and grind them up! It will end up yielding about 3/4 cup but that is totally fine. Don’t add any more!
These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Now, in a large bowl mix together all of your dry ingredients minus the pecans (oat flour, whole wheat flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg).

Then, you guessed it, in another bowl mix together all of your wet ingredients minus the bananas (half and half, yogurt, eggs, melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla). 

Make a “well” in the middle of your dry ingredients and pour your wet ingredients into the well. Stir until they are just mixed together (probably about 15 times). Now fold in your mashed bananas and pecans. Stir just a few more times.

Fill your muffin cups up about 3/4 full with this goodness. It’s worth mentioning that I highly recommend using silicone muffin cups. I’ve hardly ever had problems with my muffins sticking to them and I find they are much easier to clean than a pan. Just sayin. Here is an iphone shot of mine before they went into the oven.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

You can probably see that there is a topping sprinkled on top of the batter. I think this yummy topping is what makes this muffin extra special. It’s super easy to whip up. Combine some oats, maple syrup and butter and you are in business.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Time to bake!

A 400 degree oven and about 15 minutes should do the trick. Just keep them in there until the tops start to brown and the muffins push back a bit when you gently touch the top.

Let them cool a few minutes before removing them from the pan.

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Then fend off your children as you attempt to take pictures of the final product. Oh wait, that’s just me. #FoodBloggerProblems.
These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

These caramelized muffins will satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense ingredients. Enjoy!

Make sure to check out all of our other muffin recipes we have in our recipe index. You shall not be disappointed in what you may find.

Happy muffin making!

Print

Caramelized Banana Oat Muffins

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A delicious twist on the typical banana muffin recipe. These muffins have just the right balance of sweetness, heartiness and nutrition for a delicious, healthy breakfast. Freezer friendly too!


Ingredients

  • 4 bananas, peeled and sliced (NOT overly ripe)
  • 1 cup oats, pulsed through a food processor until coarse flour forms
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed (can sub wheat flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 23 tablespoons raw honey or real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • For The Topping
  • ⅓ cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey or real maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice the bananas into rounds about 1/2 inch thick.
  3. After lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray generously with nonstick cooking spray and place the bananas on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake bananas for about 10-15 minutes, flipping once and removing from the oven when the bananas are deep golden brown on the outside.
  5. Transfer bananas to a bowl and give them a good smash.
  6. Break down the oats in a food processor until a flour-like meal is formed. (This took about 45 seconds for me.)
  7. Combine all the dry ingredients (oat flour, whole wheat flour, flax seed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg) in a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk the half and half, yogurt, eggs, melted butter, vanilla, and honey until smooth.
  9. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet to the dry.
  10. Stir around the bowl until the batter is just barely combined (if you stir too much during this step, your muffins are going to have a gummy, chewy consistency).
  11. Fold the caramelized bananas and pecans into the mixture, stirring just a few more times.
  12. Transfer the batter to muffin cups. If you’re using a pan, make sure to grease it well.
  13. Mix the topping ingredients together and spoon over the muffins.
  14. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the muffins are puffed slightly and spring back when you touch the tops.

Notes

Freezer Meal Instructions:

To Freeze:
Bake muffins as directed in recipe. Let cool completely. Once cool, place in freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months.

To Prepare:
Remove desired number of muffins from freezer. Let thaw in refrigerator overnight or warm slightly in the microwave.