Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole Q&A

Thanks again for visiting All Kinds of Yumm! I've had an overwhelming response to this recipe, and I've also heard a few suggestions and questions that I thought deserved to make it on here. I know that as a home-cook, I love options. When someone posts a recipe, I like to know some alternatives in case I don't like the ingredients listed. I'm going to do my best to answer a few questions and make a few slight suggestions to this recipe:

Q: Which crock pot did you use for this particular recipe?
A: I used a Hamilton Beach 4 qt. slow cooker. It's amazing. I will never part with it.

Q: Where can I find the crock pot liners that you wrote about:
A: While there are a few different brands out there, I normally use Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners. I get them at WalMart, in the aisle with the aluminum foil. They are typically near the turkey bags you use for Thanksgiving, and sometimes "hide" on the bottom shelf (such a hidden treasure).

Q: What are some substitutions for the bag of hashbrowns?
A:  Like I explained in the post, I'm a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to this. While I do recommend the bag of hashbrowns, my husband can only eat red potatoes. This means that I'm peeling and shredding about 7-8 red potatoes, which takes a good 15 minutes to do. If you don't like the idea of frozen hashbrowns, you can do what I do with the red potatoes, you can simply dice up uncooked potatoes into bigger pieces (not shredded), or you can use tater tots. Yes, I said tater tots. Another great suggestions was to use sweet potatoes-yum!

Q: Can I use egg beaters instead of normal eggs?
A: Sure. Would I do it? Probably not. I don't trust eggs in a carton, but that's a whole other story. I'd love to hear if someone had a positive experience with them, cause I'd love to give an informed answer! The bottom line is that egg beaters are processed foods, while eggs are fresh foods, so the consistency is bound to be different. How different? No clue. Can you let me know?

Q: Can I halve the recipe, or can I double it?
A: This makes me nervous. One of the most difficult obstacles in cooking are our cooking tools, so I fear telling you yes or no. As far as halving it goes, you definitely can; however, you should plan on cutting the cooking time in half. That might affect it being an overnight recipe, but, if you're planning on it being a brunch, just wake up early and throw it in. As far as doubling it, I'd assume that it would cook fine, but I don't how long it would take. And I would consider that by the time the inside was completely done, your top and edges would be burnt. Probably best just to borrow a second crock pot and cook them at the same time :)

Q: Can you (as in me, Rachael) make this recipe with white gravy next time?
A: No, thank you. I'd like to live past 26. But thanks for asking! ;)

Q: Can I use bacon instead of sausage?
A: Of course! Use chicken, hamburger, kielbasa, or any other kind of meat! Honestly, the eggs and cheese are the main show, with the potatoes being a close second. All the rest is just for flavor. Have fun and experiment!

Q: Where can I get a crock pot with that "belt-thing" (I respect the lingo-that's what I call it, too)?
A: My crock pot was bought for me by a dear friend, Tammy Ganzel. As far as the belt-thing, that's to secure the lid to keep the heat in and to keep the contents from spilling.

Q: Can I freeze the leftovers?
A: I'm sure you can, although, I've heard cooked eggs don't freeze well. I know, I know, we're all thinking of breakfast burritos, but the tortilla tends to the take the brunt of the cold and offers some safety to the eggs. I did get a great recommendation from a reader to wrap up the leftovers in tortillas and freeze them as breakfast burritos, then pop them in the microwave to reheat. I don't think it would hurt to try! Tim and I normally make this on a Friday night and just keep it on warm all weekend (except overnight) and snack on it until it's gone. If you think you'll eat it over the course of 2 or 3 days, refrigerate it. That's what we do, if freezing makes you nervous :) I will say that I recently froze the ingredients separately (whisked eggs, milk and seasoning in one bag, hashbrowns in another, cheese in another and cooked sausage in another). We thawed it all the day before and it turned out fantastic!

Q: My cheese curdled. What did I do wrong?
A: Cheese curdling is normally a sign that you've cooked it too long. Knock off some time next time you make it. It's happened to all of us, myself included.

Q: My casserole burned/overdone. What the heck?
A: I'm with you. That stinks; however, there's hope! More than likely, you have an overactive crock pot and it was left in too long. I'd suggest making this during the day (when you're home, like on a weekend) to find out exactly how long it takes your crock pot to cook. Mine normally takes between 6-6.5 hours, but every crock pot is different!

Q: How many people does this serve?
A: This all depends on the people eating it. If it's my husband, dad, and 2 brothers, I'd say 4. For elderly people or children who might not have as big an appetite, I'd say 6-8.

Q: Do I have to use meat?
A: Nope! There are tons of other ingredients that can make up for that (see below).

Q: Can I cook the sausage with the rest of the ingredients, or do I have to cook it ahead of time?
A: NO. Do not cook the sausage with the other ingredients in the crock pot. Handling raw meat is serious business, and it's important that the sausage (or bacon, or kielbasa, etc.) is completely cooked.

Q: I am interested in a breakfast casserole, but not necessarily this one. Do you have any other suggestions?
A: Funny you should ask! My friend, Amanda, gave me another breakfast casserole recipe that's to die for. I don't have any pictures up because it's from the earlier years, but I think this recipe is better than the crock pot one, but definitely more complicated.

Q: I don't like eggs. Any suggestion?
A: Don't make this recipe :) Go to Cracker Barrel and get yourself some french toast.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for ingredients to add to this to make it taste even better?
A: Sure do! Here are some that readers have suggested: rotel, kielbasa, bacon, tater tots, sweet potatoes,  Velveeta, cream of (anything) soup, spinach, fresh veggies, peppers, and anything else you can think of!

Thanks again for visiting, and please let me know if you have any other questions on the recipe page!


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