Sunday, January 04, 2009

South Beach Diet Phase One Breakfast Casserole Many Ways (Basic Instructions for Breakfast Casseroles)


(Updated January 2009) Hello out there! I can see from my blog stats that there are a huge number of new South Beach dieters using the internet to find South Beach Diet friendly recipes. I've been eating the South Beach Diet way since July of 2004, and I've been making this type of South Beach Diet friendly breakfast casserole for years. You can look in Eggs and Breakfast Dishes if you want specific recipes, but I thought it might be useful for me to update this post with my basic breakfast casserole formula. I've made this lots of different ways, so here are some recommendations for various-sized pans, and a few tips I've found are helpful.

Breakfast Casserole Basics:
~I think the only "must have" in this type of breakfast casserole is eggs. Pretty much everything else can be varied to taste or depending on what you have on hand.
~I used to always add milk or half and half to the eggs; now I rarely bother with it.
~I like to use cottage cheese stirred into the eggs for a little extra creaminess. It's phase one approved if you use low-fat cottage cheese.
~In my mind, most any combination of breakfast casserole ingredients is improved with green onions.
~When I use mushrooms, or other veggie ingredients like pepper, broccoli, asparagus, or zucchini, I always saute or boil them for a few minutes before putting them in the casserole dish.
~I always put the meat and/or veggie ingredients into the casserole dish first, then pour the eggs over. Then I stir gently with a fork to get the other ingredients well distributed in the egg.
~Even though I like my scrambled eggs on the runny side, I always cook the breakfast casseroles until the eggs are slightly browned on top.
~I'm not sure I've ever made a breakfast casserole without using Spike Seasoning, but if you don't have Spike, probably any combination of spices that you like in eggs will be good in this.
~Using non-stick spray or olive oil on your pan before adding the casserole ingredients is pretty important or the pan will be hard to get clean.
~Breakfast casseroles of all types will keep at least a week in the fridge. Many of my earliest recipes say breakfast casseroles can be frozen, but now I rarely freeze them. If you do, be prepared that they will release some liquid when they're heated after being frozen (use a paper towel underneath to absorb the liquid.)
~To reheat breakfast casserole, microwave 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to cook too long.
~I think nearly every type of breakfast casserole is good with low-fat sour cream and salsa on top.

Basic Breakfast Casserole Recipe for 10X14 Casserole Dish:
(8-10 servings)

18 eggs
2-3 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or any spice mix you like on eggs)
salt and pepper to taste (I rarely use salt)
1/4 c sliced green onion
1 1/2 cups diced ham, Canadian bacon, turkey sausage, or other meat of your choice (precooked)
1 1/2 cups grated low fat cheese
8 oz. cottage cheese, rinsed so whole curds remain (completely optional)
12 oz. sauteed mushrooms, red pepper, broccoli, zucchini, or other veggies

Basic Breakfast Casserole Recipe for 9X13 Casserole Dish:
(6-8 servings)

14 eggs
1-2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or any spice mix you like on eggs)
salt and pepper to taste (I rarely use salt)
2-3 T sliced green onion
1 1/4 cups diced ham, Canadian bacon, turkey sausage, or other meat of your choice (precooked)
1 1/4 cups grated low fat cheese
6 oz. cottage cheese, rinsed so whole curds remain (completely optional)
10 oz. sauteed mushrooms, red pepper, broccoli, zucchini, or other veggies

Basic Breakfast Casserole Recipe for 7X11 or 8X8 Casserole Dish:
(4-6 servings -
This is the size I make most often now and cook it in my toaster oven.)
10 eggs
1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (or any spice mix you like on eggs)
salt and pepper to taste (I rarely use salt)
1-2 T sliced green onion
1 cup diced ham, Canadian bacon, turkey sausage, or other meat of your choice (precooked)
1 cup grated low fat cheese
4 oz. cottage cheese, rinsed so whole curds remain (completely optional)
8 oz. sauteed mushrooms, red pepper, broccoli, zucchini, or other veggies

Breakfast Casserole Instructions For All Sizes:
Preheat oven to 375. Spray glass or non-stick metal casserole dish with nonstick spray or olive oil. Dice meat and grate cheese. Saute any veggies you're using in a small amount of olive oil for 3-5 minutes (depending on what type of vegetable.) Harder vegetables like broccoli should be briefly boiled and drained well.

In bottom of casserole dish layer meat, veggies, green onions and cheese. Mix eggs with Spike Seasoning, salt, and pepper until whites and yolks are well combined. (Edit: eggs should be well combined, but not beaten together like for egg whites, just mixed with a fork. Add cottage cheese to egg mixture if using.) Pour eggs over meat/cheese mixture, then stir gently with a fork so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed in the eggs.

Bake until eggs are firmly set and top is lightly browned:
~35-45 minutes for 10X14 size pan
~30-35 minutes for 9X13 size pan
~20-25 minutes for 7X11 or 8X8 size pan

My Favorite Breakfast Casserole Variations:
Mushroom and Feta Breakfast Casserole
Southwestern Egg Casserole
Breakfast Casserole with Mushrooms, Green Bell Peppers, and Feta
Breakfast Casserole with Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Goat Cheese

counter customizable free hit

53 comments:

Kimbie said...

That looks yummy! I should wake up earlier so that I can fit breakfast into my day : )
I've tagged you!

Mona said...

Wow, your breakfast casserole is welcome in my household anytime!! Looks excellent : ) And so much more exciting than the usual scrambled I find lying around here !

MM said...

I love the breakfast casserole and can see myself having that for lunch. Or dinner. Or supper.

Rene said...

On my second week of Phase 1, mainly because I started reading this "food" blog a while ago :-) and figured what the heck, maybe this South Beach thing will work. I've lost about 8 pounds, my boyfriend has lost around 10. I can't tell you how much your blog has helped, with yummy recipes, fun reading and cool products (I started using Dreamfields pasta last year even before the diet because of reading your blog). We've been eating your version of the breakfast muffins (thanks for the two wrapper suggestion) from day one.
THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Kalyn said...

Kimbie, I will get working on it.

Mona and MM, thanks for the comments. It really is delicious.

Rene, so happy to hear that the SB diet is working for you. It is really quite amazing how fast it works AND how easy it is to find delicious food that can fit into the diet.

lisa--In a Nutshell said...

This is a good idea, Kalyn. Often, I'd like eggs in the morning, but I don't have the time or energy to make them. How many days would this keep if refrigerated?

Kalyn said...

Lisa, the breakfast casserole will easily keep for a week in the refrigerator. In the freezer it will keep for several months.

lisa--In a Nutshell said...

What if I halved it and used 9 eggs...do you think an 8x8 dish would be about right?

Kalyn said...

Lisa: Yes, I think 8 X 8 would be fine for 9 eggs. You can put more or less of the veggies and cheese, depending on the size of your pan too.

LisaSD said...

Hi Kalyn--Just wanted to thank you for this idea. I need more protein in the morning. I didn't follow your recipe exactly since I didn't have everything on hand, but the idea of baking up an egg and cheese dish, well that came from you! And it was easy and tasty. So thanks!

christine said...

yum yum yum! Can't wait to try this! Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day! :)

sparklspd said...

LOVE the breakfast casserole idea. Just made on with peppers, onions, frozen spinach and low fat mozzarella cheese.
Thanks so much for the cooking instructions and recipes!

Anonymous said...

What a great post! Really liked the fact that you reworked the recipe for different pan sizes. I have been doing SB for over a year now and lost 33pounds. I have enjoyed your blog and lots of your recipes. I cook only for myself and look for recipes that will freeze well and still taste good when reheated. Will have to give the breakfast casserole a try soon.

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, thanks and congrats on the 33 pounds. Hope you will enjoy this.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

This is a great resource - I always stress over breakfast menus for a crowd, but I always come back to breakfast casseroles like these which make things much more easy. Thanks for some new options!

Paula said...

An added bonus that applies to your wonderful breakfast casserole is that it's gluten free. YUM! Oh, and I totally agree about green onions! :-)

caroline said...

I've been making a similar but lighter version of this once or twice a week for several months now. I take a quiche/tart dish and fill it nearly to the top with chopped tomatoes, onions, broccoli, and spinach. Sometimes I saute the veggies first but usually I leave them as is.

Then I fill in the remaining space with about 18 egg whites mixed with 2 whole eggs and a little salt and pepper. I bake it at 350 for about 45 minutes and it comes out beautifully! Since it is nearly all egg whites and veggies, it is very light but quite filling! We like to bring slices to work and eat it with hot sauce.

Erin-Joi said...

One of the things that keeps me from completely doing the South Beach diet is that I cannot eat eggs that are cooked as eggs. I can eat eggs in bread or such, but not quiche, casseroles, or egg custard. There is a chemical change that must occur for me to be able to eat eggs. Additionally, I do not eat much meat. I have not found a lot of balanced meal options for South Beach that can accomodate these restrictions. As an experience South Beach Eater, can you make any suggetions?

Kalyn said...

Erin-Joi, I have recipe archives sections for Vegetarian Dishes, Vegetables, Salads, and Rice-Grains-Beans-Legumes. I'm guessing you could find dishes that you might like in any of those sections. I hesitate to make specific recommendations because there's no way for me to know what flavors would appeal to you.

I have seen where the South Beach founder recommends that people just start on phase two if they don't like egg dishes. That might work for you too.

the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

I definitely agree about cooking all the components first. I think I posted something like this a few years ago, but in Yiddish--I will have to look for it.

Gloria Chadwick said...

Hi, Kalyn. Found you through a blogher link that appeared in my stats. You have a GREAT healthy blog here, and I'm adding you to my blogroll. Then I'll be back to explore all your recipes. :)

Maria said...

I like that you can make this ahead or freeze it! A great breakfast option for sure!

Kevin said...

Simple and super tasty sounding! And you can add whatever you want. I really like the cottage cheese in it.

Christine said...

I'm a notorious breakfast skipper as I'm not really hungry until 10AM and by that time I'm fully engaged at work. So I'm thinking I'll make this, cut it into breakfast-sized squares and take them to work to heat up mid-morning. Then I won't be tempted to pop into the school kitchen to see what local, organic, delicious but carb-laden item is on the menu. :) Thanks for the update Kalyn.

Jeanne said...

That casserole looks like it would be a treat even for non-South Beachers. Mushrooms and feta are a winning combo.

Nicole said...

I'm going to try posting my question here even though it is an older post.
Has anyone ever had an issue with baked eggs becoming "spongy"? I baked some eggs with a bit of cooked spinach and mushrooms in a muffin tin for 25 mins and they puffed way up but the texture wasn't the most appetizing. Maybe I overcooked them? Or didn't add enough "mix-ins"? Any ideas for avoiding this in the future?

Kalyn said...

Nicole, my guess would be overbeating the eggs when you stir together the white and the yolks, especially if they puffed up a lot. It's making me wonder if I should edit my instructions and not use the word "beat" because I don't beat the eggs in the way you would for eggwhites, just mix them together with a fork. More vegetables added in might also be helpful. Thanks for the comment. I'm always working to make sure recipes will turn out for people the way I want them to, and I do think I will edit the instructions a little.

Tina said...

I made this last night with no meat but with zucchini, red pepper and spinach and included the cottage cheese, even though it seemed odd. I took some to work this morning. It was fabulous. Thank you!

Kalyn said...

Tina, so glad you liked it. Funny thing is, I'm writing a new breakfast casserole recipe right now! Almost ready to post it.

Anonymous said...

This recipe is a winner!
I made it TWICE this week for Christmas get togethers, and it was devoured each time. I made it with low fat cheddar, red peppers, mushrooms and Canadian bacon. Thank you for developing this recipe!

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, you're so welcome. I just made one yesterday myself with leeks, spinach, and goat cheese. The combinations are endless!

Missy said...

Thank you so much Kalyn for your blog! I just made a breakfast casserole with leftover veggies from my farm share and now have a healthy breakfast for the whole week (and an extra 20min to sleep in each morning :-)

swimchick said...

Hi, I just put my husband on the South Beach and he is not loosing much, but he is loosing weight and it's a good start. My kids and me try to eat around his foods, so after phase one it is easier now.
I found your blog and love it for the new ideas.
one question: can I sub eggbeaters for some of the eggs? because of the high cholesterol concern, some might have.
Thanks Claudia

Kalyn said...

Swimchick, I've had lots of people tell me they have used part or all Eggbeaters in the breakfast casseroles and they worked great. Good luck to your husband. There is an index of only phase one recipes on the top left that might help you.

Erica said...

Hi Kalyn, I just made this using light havarti, pencil asparagus, red bell pepper, and crimini mushrooms. It was great! However, I was wondering what the purpose of the cottage cheese is? I added it but I'm not really sure what it brings...it's just flecked with some melted white spots.

Oh, and here's a tip: if you spray the baking dish with Baker's Joy, it ends up being totally nonstick!

Kalyn said...

That's funny because I just made a version with tomato, asparagus, havarti, and dill that I'll be posting soon. The cottage cheese is a way to add more creaminess with less fat than using more cheese, but it's purely optional, sometimes I add it and sometimes I don't.

Mary B said...

Just a note to let you know I made the breakfast casserole with ground turkey seasoned like I would taco meat and added mild green chilies. Added frozen vegetables that had an assortment of beans took it to work and it was a success. The men in the office (usually pretty picky about diet food) loved it. I was requested to make it again. Thanks

Kalyn said...

Mary, that does sound like a good combination. Glad to hear it was a hit.

Carmela said...

Can the casserole be made the night before-stored in the refrigerator-and baked before serving in the morning?

Kalyn said...

Carmela, I've never done that. I think it would work, but the cooking time would be longer with all the ingredients being cold. You could also bake it the night before, refrigerate, and reheat in the oven the next day.

Amy C. Bleser said...

Thank you for these! I have made many and really enjoyed them. I use egg beaters or our store brand almost entirely with great success and Lawry's Garlic Salt instead of the Spike Seasoning.

I have added alot of your recommended spices to my Amazon Wishlist and plan to pick them up soon!

Kalyn said...

Amy, glad to hear you are enjoying the breakfast casseroles. Have fun when you get your new spices!

Lori said...

I'm fairly newish to South Beach and I don't know how anyone does this without your marvelous blog. Everything I've tried is so amazingly complex (flavours, not work!) and wonderful.


I particularly like the breakfast casseroles and appreciate the basic version with all the variations. I tend to use broccoli, kale, yellow pepper, ham, feta and cheddar (all low fat of course). And thank you for introducing me to Spike. I'd never heard of it and it is now my favourite spice.


Thank you so very much!

pastone said...

Kalyn,

Made the caserole today, mushrooms, spinach and ham, just waiting for it to cool. It is going to be delicious as all your recipes are! I have referred co-workers to your blog, my absolute favorite site!

Chris Dorman said...

New to the South Beach diet, on day 3. I am finding the default South Beach recipes (on SB website) a little boring. I have eaten yogurt and boiled eggs for breakfast 3 days in a row now and I'm tired of it. I'm so glad to see many recipes out there for Phase 1 people. The problem I find though is how much to eat when I use someone else's recipe. The southbeach website tells me what to eat and how much. When I follow another recipe I'm not sure how much of "xxx" I should eat. Example, I eat a cup of yogurt (plain, cinnamon, vanilla extract), 2 hard boiled eggs, and vegetable juice. If I were to eat a slice of casserole, do I just drink juice with it, or do I need to eat a cup of yogurt as well? Confused...

Kalyn Denny said...

Chris, I would consult the books (South Beach Diet Supercharged) for serving sizes. Most foods are not limited, but there are some that are.

Rants and Raves said...

This sounds and looks wonderful! I want to thank you for including instructions/measurements for smaller versions! My daughter and I are vacationing at a mountain condo next week and I want to make several make-ahead dishes just for the two of us. This is perfect and fits right in with my clean eating lifestyle!

Jennifer Evans said...

I love the variety of veggies and meats I can use to keep me from getting bored with it. I use old bay for seasoning. Do you think ricotta would be good in this? I'm looking for another way to add creaminess without adding liquid.

Kalyn Denny said...

Jennifer, I've used all types of creamy cheese but never ricotta, and I'm not sure how it would work. I wonder if it will melt, or just get runny when it's cooked into the eggs. If you try it, would love to know how it works.

Jennifer Evans said...

Hi Kalyn,

I made the casserole with part skim ricotta this morning. Very yummy! It added creaminess to the eggs and didn't affect the moisture content. I made an 8x8 size and put about 1/4 cup in the bowl with my eggs, then whisked it all together. I squeezed it with paper towels to remove some of the moisture. I will definitely add that to your recipe from now on. Thanks for all of the awesome ideas!

Kalyn Denny said...

Jennifer, thanks so much for coming back to share; love the sound of more creaminess in this.

Melanie LeMaire said...

Where can I find the nutritional information on this breakfast casserole....????

Kalyn Denny said...

Melanie, if you need that information I recommend a site called Calorie Count.

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