Brunch Staples: Santa Fe Egg Bake

We host our share of dinners with friends, but with young, tired kids and early bedtimes, evening isn’t always optimal for entertaining. We’re a lot more likely to have a successful meal with guests if it’s a weekend brunch.  Even in the heat of a Texas summer we can eat on our back deck before noon, and the kids can play in the backyard and subsist on bagels alone if necessary.

I have a few staples in my brunch repertoire, all borrowed from family or friends. Today’s recipe is an egg bake that is incredibly easy, can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance (and can then be frozen, to be thawed and baked at a later date with no harm—just prep it in a dish lined with wax paper, freeze it, lift the “bake” out, wrap it in wax paper and then foil before deep freezing. When ready, thaw slightly, remove wax paper, pop back into the original dish and bake). Best of all, it is almost idiot-proof.

 I acquired this recipe after brunch a dozen years ago at our friend Scott’s house, and I am asked for a copy of it almost every time some has brunch at our house (I have never NOT served it for brunch). Turns out, it’s originally from Betty Crocker!

This image shows up on at least a half-dozen pages from a search for "Santa Fe Egg Bake"

Santa Fe Egg Bake (serves eight)

INGREDIENTS

4 C frozen southern-style hash brown potatoes

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 C fresh or frozen whole kernel corn

1 C frozen stir-fry bell peppers and onions

2 C shredded Colby-Jack cheese (8 ounces)

2 T chopped fresh cilantro (I never include this, though)

8 eggs (or Eggbeaters)

1 ¼ C milk

¼ t salt

¼ t ground red pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Coat a rectangular 11×7 baking dish with cooking spray or similar. Mix first 5 ingredients together in the dish. Sprinkle half the cheese (and cilantro, if using).
  2. Mix last 4 ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Pour evenly over mixture in dish. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate 2-24 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 55-60 minutes or until fork/knife/toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Really, you can probably eyeball it. Cover with foil if cheese starts to burn before it’s done. Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting.  

If you serve this with a number of other items buffet-style, it’ll feed a lot more people. It naturally slices into 8 servings, but those pieces are really big and a lot of your guests will cut them in half.

I place a bowl of fresh salsa on the side for topping, which is the best way to eat it, but that’s the Texan talking.

What are your go-to menu items for brunch?

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