Ground Beef & Spinach Egg Casserole

Ground Beef & Spinach Egg Casserole // Holly Would If She Could

Just about every Sunday I whip up an egg casserole while doing my food prep for the week. I use a 13×9 casserole dish because it yields 8 nice sized squares. Symmetry makes me happy! Plus then I can put them in individual containers with roasted vegetables so Garrett + I have a grab and go breakfast for the week. I assure you it would be just as lovely to serve to friends at brunch.

I have a few favorite breakfast casserole recipes that I rotate through so I don’t get bored, but for the last few weeks I’ve been making this one with ground beef and spinach. Seasoned ground beef and eggs go really well together, and when you throw in a metric ton of spinach you get to start your day off with a leafy green smugness that helps you run faster, jump higher and knock out your To-Do List with superhero-esque strength.

The best part about it? Very few ingredients!

Ingredients

Look at that. That’s nothing!

You start by sauteing half an onion until it is translucent, then browning ground beef and seasoning the mixture with salt, pepper and garlic powder. So far, so good, right? Then it’s time for the go-go juice. Uh, I mean the spinach. Let’s talk about the spinach for a second, shall we? I’m going to give you a really specific measurement to add and that is 2 to 4 large handfuls. Got that? :) It doesn’t matter if you have large hands or small hands, you just want to dig deep in your bag and pull out the biggest handful you can handle and then throw it in the pan. Repeat this until you are satisfied that you have enough giddy-up and go. The thing about spinach though is that it looks likes too much when you throw it in the pan, but then it cooks down to almost nothing. I have huge hands, which a jeweler recently confirmed to me (THANKS BUT NO THANKS WE WILL BUY NO JEWELRY FROM YOU!) so I like to use about 3 handfuls.

3 handfuls

See? Not too bad.

All that goes into a casserole dish, your seasoned eggs get poured over it (Yep, egg seasoning. It’s necessary!) Then you bake, and most importantly YOU EAT! That last part is the best part.

Egg Casserole

Enjoy it in your breakfast nook or out of a tupperware at your desk at work. Either way it’s a great dish and I hope you enjoy it!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Ground Beef & Spinach Egg Casserole
Author: 
Cuisine: Breakfast
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ½ Red Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1¼ teaspoons pepper, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-4 Large Handfuls Spinach
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 12 Eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13x9 casserole dish
  2. Heat Olive Oil over medium in a large skillet
  3. Saute diced onion until translucent, about 5-7 minutes
  4. Add ground beef and crumble with a wooden spoon and brown until cooked through
  5. Season meat and onion mixture with ¾ teaspoons of salt and ¾ teaspoons of pepper and ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  6. Add spinach and let it wilt while stirring into the meat mixture
  7. Sprinkle in ⅛ teaspoon of nutmeg. This gives your spinach a little something extra!
  8. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl crack 12 eggs, season with remaining salt and pepper and scramble with a fork
  9. When spinach is wilted, transfer meat mixture to casserole dish
  10. Pour egg mixture over meat mixture
  11. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes
  12. Remove foil and finish baking for 10 minutes or until eggs are cooked to desired doneness

 

 

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Spicy Taco Brunch Skillet

Ole!

I woke up last Saturday morning wanting to have a fun brunch with Garrett and specifically thinking about Juli’s recipe for a Mexican Hash Egg Bake.

I wanted to make something that would look pretty (I love the way baked eggs look!) but also be seriously delicious since we were skipping the bacon with all of this Whole 30 business going on. I was too lazy to actually look up Juli’s recipe and follow it, but since I make up a huge batch of sweet potato hash just about every week, I used that as inspiration and got to work.

The result was completely satisfying nutritionally, but it also seemed decadent which made it feel a little special.

 

Spicy Taco Brunch Skillet
 
Ingredients
  • 1 TBS Coconut Oil
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 Bell Pepper (any color), diced
  • 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, diced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (more if you're SPICY!)
  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Taco Seasoning (to taste)
  • 8 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large heavy bottomed oven proof skillet, melt coconut oil over medium/medium high heat.
  3. Add diced yellow onions and bell pepper. Saute for 5-10 minutes until softened.
  4. Add diced sweet potatoes and all seasonings through cayenne pepper and saute until those are softened as well, about another 15 minutes. Be careful to stir often so nothing burns, but the potatoes get some color.
  5. In the meantime, in a separate pan, crumble up and brown at least ½ lb ground beef (I usually cook up a big batch and use the leftovers for Taco Salad!
  6. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of Taco Seasoning per ½ lb, or to taste.
  7. When Sweet Potatoes are mostly cooked, add your taco meat into the oven-proof skilled.
  8. Crack 8 eggs over the top of the potato/onion/meat mixture
  9. Bake for 6-9 minutes, depending on desired egg done-ness. Keep in mind there will be some carryover cooking once you pull it out of the oven.
  10. Salt and Pepper your eggs to taste once the baking is finished, garnish with an avocado and enjoy!

 

Spinach Salad: The John Malkovich of Salads

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Here’s the thing about spinach salad: it’s seems slightly more exotic than your average salad, right? But in the end it’s just a salad, like every other salad: some green stuff, some other stuff, some dressing.

But it’s also the kind of salad that people have very strong opinions about. Most people either detest it with every fiber of their being, or have a strange fetish like love for the brilliant combination of raw spinach, salty bacon, and perfectly cooked, sunshine-yellow yoked eggs. I guess you can probably guess where I fall on the spectrum, can’t you?

Ordinary ingredients, but when you put them all together and dress them with a warm bacon vinaigrette — EXTRAORDINARY. Which I think is a lot like John Malkovich, who really is just a regular actor dude. But man, people either hate him or talk about him like he is George Clooney covered in gravy and OMG HAVE YOU EVER SEEN SOMETHING SO DELICIOUS, JOHN MALKOVICH HOLY CRAP?

I don’t know if I feel that extreme, but I have to say if he one day hopped on my elevator, I may just hit the emergency stop button. Who knows?

Wow, this has gotten very off topic, hasn’t it? I’m sorry but sometimes while I’m washing dishes I have these very long involved tangents in this crazy brain of mine, and dammit I started a blog so I could share these tangents WITH THE WORLD!!!

You’re welcome.

Now let’s talk about the best spinach salad. The best spinach salad has 6 ingredients. Anyone can handle 6 ingredients, right? You probably keep them on hand anyway!

1. Spinach — bet you didn’t see that coming, did ya? Baby spinach, preferably. A giant mound of it. This is your foundation — make it a good one!

2. Perfectly Cooked Hard Boiled Eggs — I’m sure you have opinions on how to cook the perfect hard boiled egg, everyone does. Now don’t go being stingy with the egg. Make plenty because you can always eat them later. Chop them up in slivers and top with some flake salt and some course black pepper.

3. Way Too Much Bacon — If I’m using a bag of Trader Joe’s baby spinach, I’m thinking at least half a pound of bacon. What? Don’t judge. Bacon makes everything better. You will never feel like there is too much bacon on this salad.

4. Tomatoes — Little cherry tomatoes, Multi-colored baby heirlooms, chunks of juicy beefsteaks — it doesn’t matter. Just get some tomatoes in there. The sweetness and acidity cut through all of that bacon. And when you do add the tomatoes, salt them just the teeniest bit!

5. Cheese of Choice — Get crazy here. Sometimes I throw in shredded cheese just sitting in our fridge. Sometimes I do parmesan if that’s all we’ve got. Sarah does Blue Cheese and I think that sounds AMAZING but have never tried it (gasp!) Just get some cheese in there!

6. Warm Bacon Vinaigrette — If you are a person who likes red onion in your spinach salad — this is where you get the best bang for your buck! After you are done cooking your bacon and pulling it from the pan, mix those delicious bacon renderings with some chopped up onion or shallots. You only need to caramelize them for a second, then stir in some dijon mustard, a touch of apple cider vinegar, and a generous sprinkle of black pepper. Pour that baby straight from the pan right over the top of your greens.

After all of that, I promise that you will die happy. And if you pair it with a good John Malkovich movie and very full glass of red wine, you may even experience true spiritual enlightenment.

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Ugly Food That Tastes Good: Joe’s Special

In my arsenal of ugly recipes, this is probably the worst offender. It’s ugly when you start, ugly while you’re cooking it, and ugly when it’s finished. Thank god it is so tasty that it is worth it casting aside this discriminatory idea that we eat with our eyes first.

Also: Super Nutritious.

You know how everyone and their mother wants you to drink Green Smoothies for breakfast because it’s such a delicious protein filled way to camoflouge all of that spinach? Well this is the Green Smoothie’s dinner equivalent. And it will rock your socks off, even if you are a confirmed hot spinach hater like me.

Allow me to introduce to you: Joe’s Special.
Joe's Special

Have you heard of Joe’s Special? It is a famously San Franciscan dish that I remember hearing about in my childhood. The story of origin varies — some say it was invented to fill the bellies of hungry miners during the gold rush, others say it was a midnight snack for local jazz musicians in the 20s, my parents used to order it at a restaurant that they enjoyed on those occasional date nights they had while I was growing up. I can’t remember not knowing about Joe’s Special. So the first time I actually saw it, I was shocked that it looked a lot more..um, “rustic” than I had imagined for a dish with such history. I expected something fancy done in little bites on fine white china, what I got was something that Ina Garten would say looks like “A Dog’s Breakfast.”

But do you know what it tastes like? Bliss.

It’s a combination of beef, onions, spinach, mushrooms and eggs that has all of the flavor but none of the refinement of a good frittata. And? It falls within the Paleo/Primal spectrum no matter how strict you are. Omit the dairy and it’s still great! Not drinking alcohol? Substitute Beef Broth. Anyway you slice it, it will come through in the clutch the next time you need to get a quick meal on the table. And as a bonus it will give you a good story to tell.

Joe’s Special
Adapted from: Everywhere. This recipe specifically is on a 3×5 card from my Mama!

Ingredients:
1 TBS Coconut Oil (Or cooking fat of your choice)
1 Large Onion, diced
6-8 Large Mushrooms, sliced (Any kind you you like will do)
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 lb Grass Fed Ground Beef
6-8 oz of Fresh Spinach (About 6 big handfuls. More is ok too!)
1/2 Red Wine or Beef Broth (Depending on if you cook with alcohol)
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (Omit if you don’t do dairy. Totally cool.)
2 Extra Large Eggs, beaten
Salt and Pepper

Method:

1. Saute diced onion and sliced mushrooms in Coconut Oil over medium heat. You want to get the mushrooms good and caramelized. Salt and pepper the onions and mushrooms when they have browned a bit otherwise the mushrooms will get rubbery.

2. Add garlic, cook for about a minute.

3. Crumble in ground beef and brown. When beef is cooked, salt and pepper this layer liberally as well.

4. Add in your spinach. It will look like a lot. It will cook down. In fact, sometimes I add extra just to get crazy. You can’t have too much spinach in this dish, so don’t be afraid.

5. Pour wine/beef broth over your spinach and meat concoction and let the spinach wilt down.

6. Add in your parmesan and blend together.

7. Pour beaten eggs over the whole shebang, stir until eggs are cooked. Serve with a little extra grated parmesan or spinach for garnish.

8. Enjoy the ugliest dish ever!

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6 Easy Steps to A Fabulous Frittata

Hello, lover
It has been a bit of a Frittata Frenzy around my house lately, and frankly I am wondering why I didn’t discover these easy and delicious little breakfast delicacies sooner.  Well, that isn’t entirely accurate, I knew about Frittatas but they just seemed a little too chi chi for my tastes.  Also I have an irrational fear of brown eggs.  I don’t know where that comes from, but there you are.  I wish someone would have tapped me on the shoulder and pointed out that IT’S JUST A CRUSTLESS EGG CASSEROLE, DUMMY!  Because then I would have known, you know?  So here, let me do that favor for you.  
*tap tap*

Frittatas have all the protein/vegetable goodness that I am always aiming to get at breakfast, but in a portable and gourmet seeming kind of way.  And let me tell you, I generally need a little gourmet to spice up my Monday mornings.  But also (and here is why they are great!) Frittatas are easy.  I’m not going to say effortless, but pretty damn close when it comes to a fancy hot breakfast.  One pan + Delicious Ingredients = A Happy Tummy.  It’s math, my friends.  And rarely can you argue with math, right?
So, shall we talk about steps? 

Step One:  Cook up meat of your choice in a 12 inch oven safe skillet.  (Most generic non stick pans are oven safe up to at least 350 degrees, that’s why I cook this at 325 degrees — BOOYAH!  No fancy cookware needed.)
Meat Ideas:  Bacon goes without saying.  Sausage is always good.  Ground beef works well depending on the vegetables you add.  Frittatas even help me enjoy ham (pictured above), which I otherwise detest.  They make miracles happen, clearly!

Step Two:  Saute onions with your choice of base vegetables in the meat renderings (Bacon, obvs is a favorite!)

Combos I particularly enjoy:  Onions and Peppers, Onions and Broccoli Slaw (Tell me you enjoy pre-packaged broccoli slaw in your kitchen?  It is awesome for quick easy cooking), Onions and Zucchini — The combos are ENDLESS.  It’s like pizza for breakfast, only healthy!

Step Three:  Add Salt, Pepper + Seasoning to compliment your vegetable choice.  This is what gives your Frittata its depth of flavor.  Get experimental here, it’s pretty fun!
Combos I particularly enjoy:  Onions and Peppers with Taco Seasoning, Onions and Broccoli Slaw with Herbs de Provence.  Onions and Zucchini with Italian Seasoning.  Easy Peasy!

Step Four:  Pour 8-10 whisked eggs (depending on size — I usually use 8 Extra Large Eggs) over your magnificent mixture and move it all around so it allows the egg to penetrate to the bottom of the pan, and let it set for a minute or two.  (This makes the bottom of your frittata more stable so it comes out all in one piece when you slice it.)

Step Five:  Add any additional Mix Ins.  What do I mean by mix ins?  Anything you want in the Frittata that doesn’t need to be sauteed.  
Good Mix Ins: Diced Tomatoes, Cheese, Vegetables you want crunchy, fresh herbs  

Step Six:  Bake in a 325 degree oven (remember this from Step One) for 25 minutes.  
*************************************

Obviously the step where I tell you to “Enjoy!” is implied, ok?  I don’t want anyone to get overwhelmed and 7 Steps was my personal tipping point.

Here are some Frittata Combos I have thoroughly enjoyed:

*Ground Beef, Onions, Green Chilis from a can (classy!), Taco Seasoning, Cheddar, Tomatoes
*Ham, Onions, Red Bell Peppers, Broccoli Slaw, Herbs de Provence, Cheddar (Pictured Above – and also the one I’m currently OBSESSED with)
*Bacon, Onions, Tomatoes, Cheddar (served with shredded Romaine in Italian Dressing on top)
*Bacon, Onions, Zuchini, Italian Seasoning, Parmesan
Are you a Frittata Fan?  What combos have you invented?

Paleo* Eggs Benedict Over Spicy Sweet Potato Hash

My Grandma Marian taught me a number of very important life lessons:    

*A good hostess always has cookies in her freezer.
*If you keep the empty expensive bottles of booze you can always refill them with the cheap stuff in a pinch. (Which I only did in college, I promise!) And of course,
*A lady never refuses a second serving by saying she is “stuffed,” but rather she delicately reclines and says she’s “had plenty.”  

More importantly though, she taught me about the magic of poached eggs in hollandaise.


My family usually chooses to brunch on Easter, forgoing the ham dinner with all the trimmings for a stiff Bloody Mary (or two) and a Hallelujah.  As an a non-religious adult, I always kind of forget about Easter (what with the changing dates and all of that) but when I realize it’s coming around I never forget my grandma’s tradition:  Eggs Benedict!

Since going Paleo I have definitely come to embrace the egg, but I never take the time to poach them — and for no good reason since it is so much easier than it looks.  A pan of simmering water with a splash of vinegar, dropping the egg right in, and then giving it exactly 2 minutes before you rescue and plop it atop various accouterments.  This year I skipped the English Muffin and set it on canadian bacon over the world’s most amazing Spicy Sweet Potato Hash. 

It was so good, I’m making it again for Garrett this week for dinner since he was in Reno all weekend and missed out.

For the eggs:

This video breaks down poaching eggs quite simply.  Plus at the end she puts in on a “nice, tasty crumpet.”  And how can you not love that?  I like a 2 min egg though, just FYI.   I always fear I will ruin the egg, and it always ends up working out just fine.  Vinegar is kind of a miracle worker.


For the Hollandaise:

In a blender mix 3 egg yolks, 1 TBS lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of salt, and a few shakes of cayenne pepper.  Melt 1/2 cup of grassfed butter (That’s why it is Paleo* — but this is a special occasion thing, don’t get freaked out!) and slowly pour in the melted butter as you blend up the other ingredients.  This will make enough sauce to coat at least 6 eggs and may change your life.

For the hash:  

Cook up 6-8 diced up slices of bacon in a pan.  (Dude, just cook 8.)  Remove the bacon bits and add one diced red onion and diced red pepper.  Saute until softened.  Add 3 diced sweet potatos.  Mine were small-medium sized.  Generously season with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and add a dash of chili powder for flavor and cayenne pepper for heat.  Cook over high heat until potatoes are at your desired texture (everyone likes their taters a bit different). I did mine for about 20 minutes, tossing them around occasionally so they browned but didn’t burn.  


For the entire experience:

Throw the hash on a plate, top with canadian bacon you have warmed in the oven, add your perfectly poached eggs, cover with hollandaise, add some cracked black pepper to the top, and die of happiness.  


You will not regret it.  But I assure you, after two of those eggs, you will delicately recline and say you’ve had plenty.  

It’s a breakfast (or dinner in our case this week) of champions!

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