So, what do YOU eat for breakfast? I’ll start my day with anything I can get my hands on, really…leftover pizza is a favorite, the always reliable eggs, or perhaps something sweet. Most Amish homes have historically eaten a big breakfast and there are reasons for that. Traditionally, the Amish have been agrarian people which entailed massive calorie-burning all day long so fueling up with a feast made some sense. Even now the strong Amish work ethic remains in place whether that be in the cabinet shop, on the factory floor, or on the carpenter crew. So the calorie-laden breakfast remains a mainstay in most Amish homes. I have some photos (and recipes) of various breakfasts I’ve enjoyed at Lovina’s over the years. THEY often can get away with eating that every day, if I did that I’d probably be 20 pounds heavier than I already am. The first concoction might also be entitled “heart-attack on a plate” but in reality it is a “breakfast haystack.” Haystacks are a common Amish “fun food”, an easy weekend meal that really is nothing more than a taco type supper of layered seasoned hamburger meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and the like. But what if you applied the same haystack building principle to breakfast? This is what you get.
BREAKFAST HAYSTACK RECIPE: You put biscuits as your base and then pile diced ham, tomatoes, peppers, even some jalapeno peppers, plenty of eggs, some cheese and then drown the whole thing in sausage gravy. Because everything is sort of piled on and it depends on how many people you have, giving measurements in a formal recipe for this is impossible. Just experiment and enjoy!
Conventional casseroles are more common in Amish kitchens. These usually just consist of eggs, milk, cheese, onion , and some bread. Take a look at these beauties that I enjoyed on a visit to Lovina’s last year. The one on the left hasn’t, as you can tell, had the cheese melted over it yet. The recipe explaining the steps follows.
Amish Breakfast Casserole
6 slices white or wheat bread, crumbled
2 cups milk
1 onion, diced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound crumbled bacon fried and drained
1 pound grated Colby cheese
DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 325. Put the bread in the bottom of a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then add the milk, onion, salt and bacon. Pour everything over the bread. Bake for 45 minutes and then top with cheese and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Now if you like both the haystack and the conventional casserole you can just combine the best of both into one and that recipe is below:
All-In-One Breakfast Casserole
2 dozen scrambled eggs
Potatoes or 1 (32-oz.) package frozen hashed browns
2 lbs. bacon, fried and crumbled
2 c. cheddar cheese
1 gallon sausage gravy
Bake biscuits and break into bite-sized pieces. Put into bottom of a greased roaster.
Next, layer potatoes, eggs, bacon and cheese on top of the biscuits. Take a spoon and make holes in the casserole so gravy can run down into the rest of the ingredients. Pour gravy over the top.
Bake at 350° until thoroughly heated, about 30 minutes.
Optional: You can add green peppers, onions, mushrooms or whatever you wish.
Of course cinnamon rolls, french toast, and “breakfast burritos” are all popular for the morning meal in Amish homes, but the casserole seems to be the “go to.” Enjoy!