Sitting beside a lake, eating “Breakfast Casserole” with chili sauce, bacon and coffee (with a little Baileys) is the absolute best way to start a day in the back-country.
Everyone in our group does their own breakfast – and everyone brings the breakfast casserole. This is a recipe we found in the Backpack Gourmet cookbook. Interestingly, everyone’s casserole looks different. It really depends on the size of the pieces you dehydrate and the type of bread you use. Regardless of how it looks – it is always delicious.
The recipe says it serves 4 but we think it serves 6. We split this recipe into 3 meals for two. In the picture you will see that it is a pretty big portion.
Butter (or oil for the casserole dish)
1 tbsp olive oil (for sauteing)
1 onion minced
10 fresh mushrooms minced
8 1/2 cups day-old whole-grain bread cubes
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 10 x 13 casserole dish.
Place the bread in the casserole and cover it with the cheese.
Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and mushrooms. Sprinkle this mixture over the bread and cheese.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, parsley, salt and cayenne. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, cheese, onions and mushrooms.
Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until firm.
Let it cool slightly and then cut the cooked casserole into pieces and place it on the dehydrator. Dehydrate at 145 degrees for at least 6 hours – likely more if your pieces are bigger. Dehydrate until the bread is dried throughout. As mentioned we divide this into 3 packages (2 servings per package). We put it in paper lunch bags before vacuum sealing.
Dump the contents of the package into a pot and cover with water, just above the food. Be careful not to add too much water or your breakfast will be soggy. You can bring it to a boil but we find simmering it works best – stirring often. You can gauge it by the water level and of course a taste.
Note: We like chili sauce with this meal so we buy chili sauce at the farmers market and dehydrate it for the trip. It is very sweet so it is really sticky and hard to get off the trays. It also takes a long time to re-hydrate but it is definitely worth it. We find it takes about 30-45 minutes after you add the water to re-hydrate. It needs to be stirred often.
Note 2: We often add bacon but truth be told – that is A LOT of food!