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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CRAISIN-RAISIN-PECAN GRANOLA

I’ve been making this Craisin-Raisin-Pecan Granola for years, and it never fails to please my guys–and me! Sure you can put it in a bowl, pour milk over it, and enjoy a gourmet breakfast, but in my opinion, it’s best eaten straight out of the hand. Other munchies should be so wonderfully tasty and amazingly easy to make!

Craisin-Raisin-Pecan Granola

6 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup sweetened, flake coconut

3/4 cup Craisins (or you can go all raisin)

1/2 cup raisins

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup honey

2 tsp vanilla

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Spread oats in large baking dish (I used a 12″x17″ roasting pan) and bake in oven 10 minutes, stirring once

3) Meanwhile, in large bowl combine: pecans, coconut, Craisins, raisins, and brown sugar; in small bowl, combine vegetable oil, honey, and vanilla

4) Stir pecan-coconut mixture into toasted oats (in baking pan), followed by oil-honey mixture

5) Bake in oven 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes; remove from oven, give one last stir, let cool 5 minutes, and transfer to large bowl to complete cooling (you can leave in pan to cool, but the granola will start to adhere to the bottom and you’ll have a bit of scraping to do–really, the bowl is a better choice)

Makes: Many heaping helpings (Why limit yourself?)