Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I need protein in the morning.  As much as I would love to eat four donuts every morning for breakfast (I’m not exaggerating), my body needs more.  If I don’t eat protein for breakfast – and a lot of it – I am hungry no less than 1/2 hour after I finish eating.

My Body Pump instructor will often announce as we’re doing our cool down stretches to make sure that we eat lean protein in the next 30 minutes to help with muscle recovery.  Which is great, in theory.  But who has time to whip up scrambled eggs in the very tiny window of time I have between getting home from the gym and when my kids wake up?

My husband is rarely home from work for supper, so breakfast is our family meal time.  I used to be good about making scrambled eggs with veggies in the morning, but would end up making them while my husband and kids ate and then finally sitting down to eat as the three of them were finishing up.  Hardly the family sit down meal we were going for.

In Minnesota, there’s something called ‘Egg Bake’.  In most other parts of the world, it’s called Egg Casserole and I had made one a few weeks back for a function and had some leftovers.  The next morning, I heated up the leftovers and it was the fastest protein and veggie loaded breakfast!  I realized that I could make an egg casserole on the weekend and have breakfast ready for the entire week.

So, that’s what I do.

I’ve stumbled upon two tricks to having a quick and lean protein packed breakfast and I’m pumped to share them with you.

Let me first say that I am NOT a food blogger, and have no intention to become one.  But these “recipes” fall under the category of “Here’s something that has made my life easier (and healthier), so you should try them too”.

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning Trick #1 – Turkey Bacon

Each week, I buy two packages of turkey bacon and cook them according to package instructions on sheet pans in the oven until they’re about 75% done.  The bacon I buys says to cook for 12 minutes, so I cook it for 8 minutes and then let it cool on the pan.  Once it’s cooled, I put it in a leftover container in the fridge.

In the morning, when I get back from the gym, I put 4 pieces of bacon on a napkin and microwave it for 45 seconds.  This finishes cooking the turkey bacon.  I haven’t even been home for 2 minutes, and I’m already getting one serving of lean protein.

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning Trick #2 – Egg Casserole

This recipe is SUPER flexible.  The measurements are just to give you an idea.  Adjust to your preferences.

The “recipe” calls for sweet potato fries because I cannot get enough sweet potatoes.  You can use any kind of frozen potato that you prefer.  If you choose one that doesn’t already have some seasoning (i.e. hash browns), I would suggest adding more seasoning for flavor.  Or, if you like bland food, then just go with the hash browns.  But, if you like bland food, I’m not sure what about this recipe is appealing to you…. 🙂

I pretty much end up pulling out whatever is in my fridge that sounds good.  We had some bacon that I had overcooked and was already crumbled from taking it off the pan, so I decided to throw that in there.  My sweet peppers & 1/2 an onion were on their last legs, so I cut up what I had left of those.

Veggie Egg Casserole

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Add sweet potato fries, chopped veggies, bacon & 4 oz. shredded cheese to a large mixing bowl.

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Toss to combine

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Spray 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray

Pour potato mixture into baking dish

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

In a large bowl (or, if you’re lazy like me, an electric mixer bowl), whisk the eggs.

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Add milk, garlic powder, basil, salt & pepper

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

The seasonings will sit at the top of the egg mixture.  That’s okay.

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Pour the egg mixture over the potato and veggie mixture

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Top with remaining shredded cheese

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Bake for one hour.  The center should be set and the edges should be golden brown

Quick & Lean Protein in the Morning - Veggie Egg Casserole :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Veggie Egg Casserole Recipe

  • 1/2 bag frozen sweet potato fries
  • 4 cups chopped veggies (onion, mushroom, sweet peppers, spinach, etc.)
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked & chopped (opt)
  • 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 15-18 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Add sweet potato fries, chopped veggies, bacon & 4 oz. shredded cheese to a large mixing bowl.  Toss to combine.
  3. Spray 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray
  4. Pour potato mixture into baking dish
  5. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs.  Then add milk, garlic powder, basil, salt & pepper
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the potato and veggie mixture
  7. Top with remaining shredded cheese
  8. Bake for one hour.  The center should be set and the edges should be golden brown

I do steps 1-7 on the weekend and then put a lid on the baking dish and stick it in the fridge.  I turn the oven on when I leave for the gym on Monday morning, and my husband sticks it in the oven (without the lid on!) when he gets up.  By the time the kids walk upstairs, I’m pulling the casserole out of the oven and our house smells divine.

The leftovers go in the fridge and breakfast is ready for the rest of the week.  While getting the kids’ breakfast ready, I pull out a piece or two of egg casserole and microwave it for 2 minutes.  Then we all have a family breakfast together and it’s like the Cleavers.  Not quite.  But, we do all eat a healthy breakfast together, and that is the goal.

If you will not eat an entire 9×13 pan of egg casserole in a week (I eat a lot of food…), cut the recipe in half and use an 8×8 baking dish.

P.S. Check out how to organize leftover containers here and how to make room in your fridge to store a 9×13 pan here.  

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