SAUSAGE-CHEESE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

Yes, it’s another crowd-pleasing breakfast casserole–a special request from Junior who surprised us with a visit home from university. Though I made this in individual casserole dishes, it can be prepared in a large baking dish, but you’ll have to adjust the cooking time upward a bit. Was Junior happy with his special request? Oh, yes, and those two extra individual casseroles will soon be installed in his dorm room fridge. Go mom!

Sausage Cheese Breakfast Casserole

3 cups milk

12 eggs

1 tsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

French bread loaf, cubed (about 10 cups)

10 oz fully cooked turkey sausage crumbles (I used Jimmy Dean brand)

1-1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided

 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1) To large mixing bowl add milk, eggs, mustard, black pepper, and salt; whisk to combine

2) To a separate large mixing bowl, add bread cubes, sausage, 1 cup cheese (reserving 1/4 cup), and parsley; pour egg mixture over top and gently mix; cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours (or overnight if you think farther ahead than I do)

3) Heat oven to 350 degrees

4) Lightly oil 6 individual casserole dishes; divide egg-bread mixture between casserole dishes and bake in oven 40 minutes until golden brown and just firm in center; scatter reserved 1/4 cup cheese over casseroles and bake additional 3-5 minutes until cheese melts; remove from oven and dig in!

Servings: 6-8

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SWEET CRANBERRY BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

Yes, another breakfast casserole. But this one is definitely Thanksgiving- and Christmas-themed. While I’m thinking on one that includes pumpkin, enjoy this tasty creation.

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10 King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, torn into bite-sized pieces

1-14 oz can whole cranberry sauce

8 eggs

3/4 cup half and half

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup pecans halves

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly butter 13×9 baking dish

2) Spread rolls over bottom of baking dish; drop cranberry sauce by teaspoonfuls over rolls; set aside

3) In medium-sized bowl, mix eggs, half and half, brown sugar, and cinnamon; pour over rolls; bake in oven 45-50 minutes until done in center; scatter pecans over top and bake additional 5 minutes; serve

Servings: 6

SAUSAGE GRAVY BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

Junior likes breakfast casseroles. Junior likes sausage gravy. Mom decided to combine the two and we are talking tasty! Though some breakfast casseroles can be on the dry side, not this one. The hot sausage gravy-soaked bread cubes keep the casserole moist and make it extra yum.

Sausage Gravy Breakfast Casserole

4 sausage patties

2 tbsp flour

3-3/4 cups milk, divided

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

4 cups cubed french bread

10 large eggs

3/4 cups grated cheese (I used triple cheddar blend)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly oil 9×13″ baking dish

2) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add sausage patties and cook 2-3 minutes each side until cooked through; remove patties from skillet, finely chop, and set aside

3) To rendered fat in skillet (you should have about 2 tbsp; if not, add a bit of oil) over medium heat, add flour and whisk continuously until well combined; gradually whisk in 3 cups of milk (reserving 3/4 cup) and continue whisking and breaking up lumps until mixture is smooth and thick; stir in salt, black pepper, and chopped sausage; remove from heat

4) Spread bread cubes over bottom of baking dish and pour sausage gravy over them; let soak 10 minutes

5) Meanwhile, beat eggs and reserved 3/4 cup milk in large bowl; pour egg mixture over sausage gravy-soaked bread cubes and bake in oven 45-50 minutes until just done in center; sprinkle cheese over top and cook additional 2-3 minutes until cheese melts; enjoy!

Servings: 6-8

BACON-FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

Our family is a turkey bacon family. However, in recent months Junior Too has developed a taste for the real stuff. Since he and Senior have no weight issues whatsoever, I was tempted by a sinful cookbook titled Bacon Nation which has now taken up residence in my kitchen. My recipe was inspired by “French Toast Bread Pudding with Bacon and Cinnamon” and, after I tweaked ingredients and preparation, it turned out to be a major hit. Many greasy bacon thumbs up!

Bacon French Toast Casserole

6 slices thick-cut bacon (next time, I’ll give turkey bacon a try)

8 eggs, divided

1/2 cup granulated white sugar, divided

2-1/4 cup milk, divided

8 slices soft bread (I used potato bread)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup Craisins (or raisins)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

pinch fine sea salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly oil 13″x9″ baking dish

2) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook 2-3 minutes each side until crisp; remove skillet from heat and place bacon on paper towel-lined plate; remove all but 2 tbsp bacon grease from skillet and set skillet aside (you’ll use it to cook the french toast); chop bacon and set aside

3) To large mixing bowl, add: 4 eggs (reserving 4), 1/4 cup sugar (reserving 1/4 cup), and 3/4 cup milk (reserving 1-1/2 cups); whisk until well blended

4) Return large skillet to stove top and heat over medium

5) Meanwhile, dip both sides of bread slices in egg batter and place in skillet (you’ll have to make in 2 batches of 4 slices each and, perhaps, add a bit more bacon grease); cook each side 3-4 minutes until golden; remove from skillet and cut each slice on the diagonal to form 16 triangles; overlap french toast in baking dish and scatter pecans and Craisins over the top; set aside

6) To large mixing bowl, add: 4 reserved eggs, 1/4 cup reserved sugar, vanilla, 1-1/2 cups reserved milk, half-and-half, maple syrup, nutmeg, and salt; whisk until well combined; pour over french toast triangles, sprinkle with cinnamon, and cover with aluminum foil; let sit 15 minutes

7) Place casserole in oven and cook 25 minutes; remove aluminum foil and cook additional 25 minutes; remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving; you can serve with maple syrup, but this dish is so moist and tasty you shouldn’t need it; enjoy!

Servings: 6

PECAN PRALINE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

We’re a breakfast casserole family, and though these dishes taste best when chilled overnight prior to baking in order to allow the bread to soak up the egg mixture, I’m too often spur-of-the-moment. As evidenced by this tasty Pecan Praline Breakfast Casserole–and some very hungry guys–you can fudge on soak time. Thumbs up!

Pecan Praline Breakfast Casserole

1 cup packed brown sugar

5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

3 large ciabatta rolls (4″x4″), sliced in half, top and bottom crusts removed (or other nice white bread)

6 eggs

1-1/4 cup milk

2 tbsp granulated white sugar

1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly butter an 11×9″ casserole dish

2) In small bowl, mix brown sugar, melted butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and pecans; spread across bottom of casserole dish; top with 6 ciabatta slices; set aside

3) In medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, sugar, and cinnamon; pour over ciabatta slices and let sit 10 minutes; bake in oven 45-50 minutes until eggs set; using spatula, flip each slice over onto plate to expose pecan praline topping; serve with or without extra maple syrup (it’s pretty sweet on its own)

Servings: 6

APPLE CHICKEN SAUSAGE-MOZZARELLA-POTATO FRITTATA

Frittatas have become one of my go-to meals. Not only are they relatively quick and easy to make, but the variations are endless. Though I used Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage in this frittata, you can easily substitute bacon, ham, prosciutto, or forego meat altogether. Don’t have fresh mozzarella? Substitute cheddar or swiss or…how about brie? Regardless, count on a delicious and filling meal.

Apple Chicken Sausage-Mozzarella-Potato Frittata

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

12 oz sweet apple chicken sausage (I used Al Fresco brand), diced

4 cups frozen Southern-style diced potatoes, thawed

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3 scallions, sliced thin on the diagonal

1 cup diced fresh mozzarella

6 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

1) Preheat oven to 4oo degrees

2) To large skillet (I used cast iron) add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 2 tbsp) and heat over medium-high heat; add sausage and cook, stirring often, 5-6 minutes until browned; transfer sausage to a bowl and set aside

3) Add reserved 2 tbsp olive oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat; add diced potatoes, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring often, 7-8 minutes until browned; remove from heat

4) Scatter sausage, scallions, and mozzarella over potatoes and set aside

5) In medium-sized bowl, lightly beat eggs with milk; pour over potato-sausage mixture; cover frittata with aluminum foil and bake in oven 20 minutes; remove foil and bake additional 12-15 minutes until eggs are set and frittata is golden brown; serve immediately; going, going, gone!

Servings: 4-6

SCRAMBLED EGG BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

During Junior’s visit home, he not only bemoaned his cafeteria’s scrambled eggs (obviously nothing like mine) but said he misses my breakfast casseroles. Since he was home for just the one breakfast, I decided to give him scrambled eggs and a breakfast casserole–in one dish. A resounding success!

Scrambled Breakfast Casserole

spray olive oil

12 eggs, divided

1/4 cup water

1 tbsp butter

4 cups 1″ cubed bread (I used 2 large ciabatta rolls)

1 cup small dice ham

1 cup chopped spinach

1 cup grape tomatoes

1 cup half-and-half

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup grated Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly oil large casserole dish with spray olive oil

2) In medium-sized bowl, beat 6 eggs (reserving 6 eggs) with water until well-combined

3) Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat; pour egg-water mixture in skillet and cook, stirring eggs to scramble; when lightly cooked through, remove from heat and set aside

4) Scatter bread cubes over bottom of casserole dish; top with scrambled eggs, ham, spinach, and tomatoes; set aside

5) In medium-sized bowl, beat reserved 6 eggs with half-and-half, salt, and pepper until well-combined; pour over casserole and top with 1/2 cup cheese (reserving 1/2 cup); cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours or overnight; bake in oven 45-50 minutes until eggs sets; scatter reserved 1/2 cup cheese over top and bake additional 3-4 minutes until cheese melts; serve

Servings: 6-8