Starting my son’s day off with a good meal got a lot easier after I came up with this homemade breakfast bowls recipe. I need two cups of coffee, in silence, to be anything close to pleasant in the morning. Even though I get up extra early to have my coffee, I’m still not always awake enough to cook a hot meal from scratch first thing.
So for years we’ve we started our day with something from my list of make-ahead breakfasts but those somehow still involve a lot of effort on my part each morning.
With my son’s 16th birthday approaching next month, I’ve really been focusing on teaching him more independence. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like someone who is legally old enough to drive should be able to feed himself in the morning. Or maybe it’s just that, after spending the last 25 years raising kids, I am tired.
So when we were grocery shopping one day and he saw some Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls on sale, I bought four. That week, he had a hearty breakfast before school every day without any help on my part. Then the sale ended and I realized they’re $2.69 per bowl! They didn’t seem terribly complicated, so I set out to come up with a less-expensive but still filling homemade breakfast bowls recipe. That was three months ago, and let me just tell you we’re both much happier in the mornings now that these are part of our meal rotation!
It takes less than an hour to make a batch on the weekend that lasts him all month, and in the morning it takes him just under 3 minutes to heat them up on his own. Meanwhile, as I explain later, I’m saving a small fortune making this homemade breakfast bowls recipe over the cost of the store-bought stuff. That’s enough to put a smile on my face, even before that second cup of coffee!
Homemade Breakfast Bowls Recipe
I start with a half-pound of bacon and link sausage. We get ours from Zaycon Fresh, and the bacon is fantastic: thick, not terribly fatty, and with a nice smoky taste that adds a great flavor to the breakfast bowls. I make it in the oven.
To speed things up, I cook a pound of sausage in the oven at the same time as the bacon. It does need to get turned over halfway through, but that gives me a chance to make sure the bacon isn’t getting too crispy.
While the meat cooks, I peel and chop the potatoes. We use Russet potatoes so I peel them. With red potatoes, you can leave the peels on but my picky eater won’t touch anything with potato peels in it (unless it’s loaded stuffed potato skins — go figure).
To keep the potatoes from turning pink or brown, transfer them to a bowl of cold water while you work. This will also help reduce their starch content, which lowers their glycemic index and prevents blood sugar swings. Teens have enough hormonally-induced mood swings; we don’t need to add blood sugar swings, too!
When the bacon and sausage are done, let them cool a minute then roughly chop them. Transfer the chopped meats to a bowl and continue to cool. Meanwhile, reserve about 4 tablespoons of the bacon grease. Add two tablespoons to a large skillet on the stove. (Or use olive oil if you’d rather — we like the flavor of the bacon grease.)
Drain the potatoes and pat them dry with a paper towel or two. Next, add them to the skillet and stir immediately to coat all of the potatoes with the bacon grease (or oil). Cook on medium for 5-8 minutes, stirring often, until they’re easily piereced with a fork but not falling apart. You don’t want to brown them for this recipe since they’ll just get tough and taste dry later on when you’re reheating them.
Transfer the potatoes to lined baking sheets, spreading them in an even layer. Letting the potatoes fully cool at this point is an important step to keeping things from clumping when you mix it all together in a bit.
While the potatoes cool, wipe the skillet then add another 2 tablespoons of bacon grease. Heat over medium heat and add the eggs. Slowly scramble them, stirring infrequently. I like to add a generous pinch of baking soda which makes the eggs fluff up while you cook them so it seems like you’ve used more eggs than you really did. Don’t go crazy stirring them or you’ll wind up with tiny curds that get overwhelmed by the other ingredients.
Move the cooled potatoes from the baking sheet to the bowl of chopped meats and replace them with the fully-cooked scrambled eggs. As you probably know from making your own family’s breakfasts, eggs cool fast so this step only takes a couple of minutes.
Grate some cheese. I used medium sharp cheddar for this round, but in the past, we’ve also enjoyed a combination of cheddar and pepper jack cheese, for a little added zing.
Stir the cooled eggs into the bowl of potatoes and meats then spread them on the baking sheets. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and transfer the whole thing to the freezer for 30 minutes or so. Don’t forget about it, though: food left uncovered in the freezer for long gets freezer burn and loses flavor.
Once everything is frozen, put it in resealable bags and stash it in the freezer. I usually write the reheating directions on the bags so my son remembers that he just needs to scoop 1 1/2 cups of the frozen mixture into a microwave-safe bowl, heat it for 1 minute on 50% power to defrost, then continue microwaving it on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds to finish.
With an apple or banana and a cup of tea, he’s good to go!
Serves: 14-16 bowls
- ½ lb. bacon
- 1 lb. sausage links
- 2 lbs. Russet potatoes
- 14 extra-large eggs
- 1 pinch baking soda
- ½ lb. medium cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 425°F /218 °C.
- Line two baking sheets with foil, spray with cooking spray and place a baking rack on one.
- Arrange bacon slices on baking rack. Place sausages directly on foil lining other sheet.
- Cook bacon and sausage in oven 15-20 minutes until done, turning sausages halfway through.
- Chop bacon and sausage and transfer to a bowl. Reserve 4 tablespoons of bacon grease.
- Peel and chop potatoes. Transfer chopped potatoes to a bowl of cold water as you work.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add ½ of reserved bacon grease.
- Pat dry potatoes and add to skillet. Stir immediately to coat the potatoes in oil.
- Cook the potatoes 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until they're just fork tender but not browned.
- Transfer potatoes to lined baking sheets to cool. Wipe out skillet.
- Crack eggs into a bowl and sprinkle with a large pinch of baking soda. Whisk until eggs are thoroughly scrambled.
- Heat skillet over medium heat. Add remainder of reserved bacon grease.
- Slowly cook eggs in the skillet, stirring infrequently to avoid breaking them into small curds.
- Meanwhile, transfer cooled potatoes to the bowl of chopped bacon and sausage.
- When eggs are fully cooked, transfer them to the lined baking sheets to cool.
- Grate the cheese.
- Stir cooled eggs into the bowl with the potatoes, bacon, and sausage. Spread this mixture on the lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
- Transfer the loaded baking sheets to the freezer for 30 minutes. Scoop the frozen mixture into resealable bags and freeze.
- To serve: Add 1½ cups of mixture to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute at 50% power to defrost, stir, then cook on HIGH for 1 minute and 30 seconds, or until fully heated.
I’d mentioned that the cost of the Jimmy Dean bowls motivated me to come up with this recipe. Every time I make this homemade breakfast bowls recipe I think about how much I’m saving. That, alone, guarantees a better start to my day. Here’s the breakdown:
• 1/2 lb. bacon: $1.85
• 1 lb. sausage links: $4.29
• 2 lbs. Russet potatoes $1.09
• 14 extra-large eggs: $3.37
• 1/2 lb. medium sharp cheddar cheese: $1.94
TOTAL COST 14 HOMEMADE BREAKFAST BOWLS: $12.54
Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls at Kroger’s: $2.69 each
TOTAL COST 14 JIMMY DEAN BOWLS: $37.66
By spending less than an hour making these homemade breakfast bowls, I’m saving $25.12 and giving my son an easy way to start his mornings with a hearty, hot breakfast he can heat and eat without having to wait for me to finish my coffee. I call that a win-win recipe!