An Easy Breakfast Casserole with Ham and Cheese

by Pamela

easy breakfast casserole, recipes using leftovers, ham and cheese casserole, ham and cheese bake, country ham

Are you trying to figure out what to do with all that leftover ham from dinner yesterday?  This easy breakfast casserole combines leftover ham with some cheddar cheese, eggs and day old bread to make a ham and cheese bake that’s perfect for breakfast or brunch.  Or hey, how about you add a salad and serve it for dinner?  No one will believe you just cleaned out the leftovers from your fridge to create this delicious dish.

Yes, it’s true…my refrigerator was chock full of leftover bits and blobs to the point I couldn’t even see the walls anymore.  That was before we had the big power outage which then caused me to have the emptiest refrigerator I have ever had gracing my kitchen.  But I digress.

I’m still on my kick of coming up with recipes using leftovers.  Even bougie people know it makes sense to use up leftovers instead of throwing them away.  DUH, you’re stretching your food dollars just a little bit further and it’s a great way to stay in your pajamas all day.  You can make dinner without having to go to the grocery store, since you already have all of the ingredients that you need.

I had a big slice of country ham that I used in this recipe.  If you’re not familiar with country ham, it’s kind of like the American version of Prosciutto.  It’s a salt cured cured ham that is cured for months or years, depending on its fat content.  It’s much saltier than Prosciutto and is served in much thicker pieces than it’s Italian counterpart.  Country ham is bigger in the South than in most other parts of the US, but you can find it in some grocery stores.  It’s stupidly delicious stuff!  Aside from the fact that it’s so salty you’ll retain enough water that your rings will become stuck on your fingers and your cheeks will be as chubby as a newborn babe…it’s totally worth the plump factor.

Ham-and-Cheese-Casserole

Stale bread works perfectly in this recipe because it will soak up more of the milk and eggs than fresh bread will.  I lucked out and found a great loaf of sourdough bread for $1 on the ‘day old’ rack at my grocery store.  I like using sour dough when I’m making this ham and cheese bake because it adds even more flavor to the mix, but you could use pretty much any stale bread.  Yes, even I have limits to my experimentation.  Rye or pumpernickel bread would not taste quite right in this…aside from the fact that the latter would produce something that looks like a tray of mud.

By the way…what’s your idea of ‘easy?’  Easy (as in easy recipes) for me means: no exotic ingredients, no fancy schmancy cooking techniques and the dish pretty much needs to make itself.  This easy breakfast casserole fits the bill for all of those things.  Eggs, cheese, bread, ham and milk.  There aren’t many ingredients less exotic than that.  Stir, dump and bake qualifies as un-fancy schmancy technique and bake and serve in the same dish qualifies as making itself.

So call this recipe using leftovers whatever you want: a ham and cheese bake, a ham and cheese casserole or just a plain ol’ easy breakfast casserole.  Whatever you want to name it, just make sure you make this…you and your family are gonna love it!

Relationship Advice

Cosmo the magazine, not the cocktail (although I can totally understand why you would think I was referring to the drink), would have you believe that any relationship quandry can be solved by taking the quiz found at the back of every issue.

In the name of the dying print world, rest assured, Cosmo has taken to digital technology to let you know if you’re a complete failure or are far too good for that guy via their online quizzes. PHEW…How else would I know if I was up on all things Jersey Shore or whether or not my sexual techniques were good enough for my man.

I’m all for taking the easy way out on things (see above recipe) but really? A magazine quiz to cure what ails your relationship?  Besides, does your relationship require even one more test beyond what the regular day to day tests throw at it?

I don’t know about you but tests like:  wrestling over who’s going to take the dog for her daily walk; who left that in the toilet (there’s only 2 of us and a dog…so you would think that would be an easy one); taking out the trash; cramming things in the dishwasher like bodies smashed on the subway during rushhour; gluing the vase back together didn’t work for the Brady Bunch, did you really think it would work here; why are you sitting in business class and I’m stuck back in economy; if you don’t stop snoring I’m going to jam that pillow down your throat…are about all the relationship tests I need in my life.

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Recipe: An Easy Breakfast Casserole with Ham and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 Cups Milk
  • 1 Cup Eggs (whisked)
  • 1 1/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese (grated and divided)
  • 8 Ounces Country Ham (diced)
  • 1 Cup White Onion (grated)
  • 1 Pound Loaf Stale Sourdough Bread (cubed)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt (optional if using country ham)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Stir to combine milk, eggs, half of the cheddar cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in ham and onion.
  4. Add cubed bread to the mixture, stir and let sit for 1 hour. (Stir the mixture every 20 minutes to ensure all of the wet ingredients soak into the bread.)
  5. Butter the bottom and sides of a 13×9 baking pan.
  6. Pour the mixture into the buttered pan and make sure that the mixture is in the pan evenly.
  7. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese. Cover with foil.
  8. Place the pan into a larger pan. Fill the outer pan with water until the water level is halfway up the sides of the 13×9 pan.
  9. Carefully slide this into the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 10 minutes (or until the top begins to brown).
  10. Remove from oven and let sit for 10-20 minutes before serving.

Quick notes

Reduce or eliminate the salt if you are using country ham (the ham is salty enough).

For the 1 cup of eggs you’ll want to whisk up the eggs in another container then pour them into a 1 cup measuring cup to get the correct measurement.  I used 6 large eggs to equal 1 cup.  But the number of eggs you’ll need will be determined by the size of eggs you use.

Variations

You can use different ham in this recipe with equally good results. Feel free to add in chopped broccoli if would like. This will still taste fantastic.

Preparation time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

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6 comments

Wendy April 17, 2012 at 12:44 am

Just concerned about the 1 “cup” eggs> Do you fill a cup with eggs?

Pamela April 17, 2012 at 8:44 am

Hi Wendy, Sorry about the confusion.

I whisked up 6 large eggs to measure out 1 cup of eggs. The number of eggs you need will be determined by what size eggs you use. But yes, after whisking them up, you’ll fill a 1 cup measuring cup with them.

Belinda @zomppa April 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I SO want this for breakfast/dinner/…now!

Pamela April 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Thankfully it’s easy enough to make! Looks like dinner tonight.

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious April 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I can’t stand Cosmo. The things that they say in there with their relationship advice and what you should say to a guy is just ridiculous. I read them to the boyfriend and we just roll our eyes. That being said, I’m still subscribed to it. I know, I’m the worst, but Amazon was having a sale for $5/year!

On another note, loving this casserole. I love recipes that use up holiday leftovers.

Pamela April 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I get a huge laugh out of their quizzes. Hey, I can think of way worse ways to spend $5. ;) Leftovers rule!

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