Breakfast for All the Meals

July tends to bring some hot weather and I've been known to get up early and cook in the cooler morning hours of a day and basically live off whatever I've made throughout the warmer parts of the day that follow. That means sometimes I have beef roast for breakfast and sometimes I have muffins with dinner. And my favorite dishes are fun casseroles with a breakfast twist. Whether that's a strata, baked French toast, or a breakfast-kissed tater tot casserole like this, I can make that a day's worth (or several) of meals for me and mine.

This particular casserole involves diced ham, onions, and greens mixed with tater tots, eggs, and cheese, but there is definitely some room for tweaking here. Bacon or sausage will stand in for the ham or you can skip meat altogether. The veggies can be chosen according to your tastes, what's in your garden, or on sale at your market. The type of cheese used really depends on what you like. But stick with the tater tots and eggs as is!

Since we're looking for versatility here, I like to bake a few muffins alongside this casserole and have those with it in the morning and opt for green and fruit salads for later meals. They taste great, are easy to put together, pair well with this casserole, and have you avoiding the stove for the rest of the day, which is what this particular recipe is all about. Stay cool!

Morning Tater Tot Casserole

  • 1 lb. ham, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 10 oz. spinach, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 32 oz. frozen tater tots
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 ½ c. milk
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ham and diced onion for about 5 minutes or so until the ham is crisp and the onions are translucent; toss the spinach in after you've removed the skillet from the heat so it can wilt. If your ham is very lean, add a tablespoon of cooking fat to the skillet to keep things from burning.

Once cooked, add the ham, onions, spinach and any accumulated grease to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the 2 cups of cheese (setting aside the rest) and tater tots and mix everything together. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Pour the mixture over the top of the tater tot mixture.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of shredded cheese and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour

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