Crockpost Western Omelette Casserole

First of all - I want to make VERY clear to anyone reading this that this recipe is here for those who have to feed a crowd of visitors (of perhaps a group of friends up skiing that need a quick breakfast).  This uses frozen hash browns and definitely falls in the category of the casserole - not gourmet in the least.  That said - I think it has possibilities given a really creative mind.

I still have a full house and a busy schedule, so always looking for a recipe that can sit in the crockpot all night or all day.  This one can do either.  I actually served it for dinner one day when I wasn't going to get home until the last minute.  In my web search there was real controversy surrounding this recipe - loved it or hated it.  I did find those who hated it often started with, "Well, I substituted.....",  and then made adjustments in areas that affected the composition of the recipe.  It didn't work. Also - it`s not gourmet food, so you have to know your crowd.  I also looked at the positive feedback and the one that caught my eye was to use it as a base for breakfast (or lunch or dinner) burritos.  Now this can cover a multitude of average-ness as you get to add salsa, cheese, olives, etc., and wrap it in a warm tortilla.  So this was the direction I took.  

I did make a couple of substitutions, but nothing that changed the basic structure of the dish.  I prefer a red, orange or yellow pepper - green just doesn't do it for me even though it is traditional.  I also suspected this dish might be a bit on the bland side so went with a good quality aged, sharp cheddar.  It was a good choice as in the end I still think it needed a little more zip from somewhere.  Next time I will definitely add some chopped jalepenos and a few other herbs such as cilantro to perk it up.  Then serve it with your favourite burritos fixings - extra cheese, black olives, a variety of salsas (peach might be good here), lettuce, chopped tomatos and more.  Make sure the tortillas are warm first as well.  Add a great big fruit salad and you have an assemble your own breakfast, lunch or dinner that can be prepared 10 hours ahead of time and will feed a large group.

Crockpost Western Omelette Casserole

32 ounces hash browns, frozen
1 pound ham, extra lean, cooked and cubed (or prosciutto, chorizo, bacon, etc. - but may not need 1  pound - a little prosciutto in particular goes a little goes a long way.)
1 medium onion diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced (I would use red, yellow or orange - less bitter)
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded (Needs more flavour so I would use sharp cheddar)
12 eggs
1 cup milk, skim
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper, or to taste

You will need a LARGE crockpot to make this and I would suggest you spray it with Pam first.  Place a layer of frozen potatoes on the bottom of the crockpot, followed by a layer of ham, then onions, green peppers and cheese.  Repeat the layering process two or three times, ending with a layer of cheese.

Beat the eggs, milk and salt & pepper together. Pour over the mixture inside the crockpot, cover and turn on low. Cook for 10-12 hours, overnight, and enjoy for breakfast or brunch the next day.  You can also assemble this in the morning for a super easy dinner for a crowd.  As it's serve yourself, you can turn the crockpot to the warm setting and just leave it all out so everyone can eat whenever they are ready.

I know this is simple food, but I promise the next recipe will be more deluxe. Sometimes in life you just need a quantity of food to feed a crowd with little effort and this fills the bill.