THE STORY BEHIND THE RECIPE
Because I did not grow up in a church community, I was completely unaware of the mystery and wonder of a 9″ x 13″ dish! The concept of making a casserole, much less taking one someplace for other people to actually eat, was completely foreign to me until I joined MOPS. The very first time I was assigned to bring an egg dish, I was terrified. I had never made anything but scrambled eggs at home, and even those were marginally edible without a generous dousing of hot sauce.
I did the only thing I knew how—I asked for help from the best home cook I knew, Richelle. She effortlessly rattled off a list of ingredients that I nervously wrote down. That night I assembled the egg bake, and the next morning I placed it in the oven. Clothed with oven mitts and a hopeful smile, I carried my 9″ x 13″ creation into our MOPS meeting the next day. Shockingly, the dish was scraped clean, and multiple ladies asked me for the recipe! My fear of the casserole was conquered, and my new ministry of the Breakfast Bake was born.
Since that morning a decade ago I have made a version of this bake upwards of 500 times! It is my go-to for entertaining, for crazy soccer-filled weeknights, for new babies, for hospital stays, for grieving families, for brunches and brinners (breakfast for dinner), and everything in between. If we have overnight guests, I will invite them into the kitchen to sit on the barstools as the clock nears midnight. Grabbing ingredients from the pantry, fridge, and freezer via sheer muscle memory, I chop kielbasa as we chat about tomorrow’s plans, mindlessly pouring the pieces into the hot cast iron pan as the sizzle and smell bring a hint of breakfast to come.
I am always eager to sign up for a meal, since feeding people is now my love language. When words fail, warm and cheesy eggs do not! Love and care can come in so many forms. For me it comes in a bubbling 9″ x 13″ pan. A pan that was once scary and overwhelming to me has now become a part of my story and the stories of those I love.
Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 45 min. Yields: 8–12 servings
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
• 9 eggs
• 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
• 1 (32 ounce) bag frozen tater tots
• 2 cups (or more) shredded cheese
• salt and pepper to taste
• assorted add-ins (use any combination):
— 1 pound breakfast meat, cooked (sausage, kielbasa, bacon, etc.)
— 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, chopped
— 1 (8.5 ounce) jar sun dried tomatoes, drained
— 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
— 8 ounces feta cheese
* For an easy metric conversion chart, search the Internet for “metric kitchen.”
WHAT YOU’LL DO
Eight hours or more before baking:
1. Pour tater tots into 9″ x 13″ pan.
2. Whisk together eggs, evaporated milk, and salt and
pepper; pour mixture over tater tots.
3. Scatter assorted add-ins over egg and tater tot mix.
4. Cover and refrigerate at least eight hours.
5. Preheat oven to 350° F.
6. Scatter shredded cheese evenly over entire dish.
7. Bake for 45 minutes until eggs are set and cheese