CAPRESE BAKED EGG MINI-CASSEROLES

When senior pulled out a package of hot dogs, I knew it was time to put away my edits and hop on dinner. He did grill those dogs, but my tasty, easy-to-make casseroles made it to the dinner table first. And guess what became leftovers? Yeah šŸ™‚

Spray olive oil

2 cups croutons (I used Texas Toast brand)

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1-1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided

1/2 tsp dried basil

8 eggs

sea salt

pepper

1/4 cup half and half

1 tsp minced parsley

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; coat bottoms and sides of 4 mini-casserole dishes with spray olive oil

2) Evenly divide ingredients between casseroles in this order: croutons, tomatoes, cheese (reserving 1/2 cup for topping), basil, eggs (2 each), dash of salt and pepper, half and half, parsley, and cheese (reserved 1/2 cup)

3) Bake 7-8 minutes; turn on broiler and bake additional 4-5 minutes until eggs set to your taste; enjoy!

Serves: 4

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MEXICAN CHICKEN CASSEROLE

Even with the weather warming up, there’s room for a good casserole, and Mexican Chicken Casserole is good. The tortilla chips on the bottom of this casserole combine with the salsa to form a bottom soft polenta crust, while the tortillas on the top are nice and crunchy. No leftovers–again.

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2-1/2 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips, divided

12 chicken tenderloins

1-16 oz jar salsa (I used Pace brand)

1-1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (I went spicy with this and used Cabot’s Hot Habanero)

2 green onions, sliced thin

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly oil a large casserole dish

2) Scatter 1-1/2 cups tortilla chips (reserving 1 cup) over bottom of casserole dish; top with chicken tenderloins (a single layer); pour salsa over chicken; cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven 40 minutes

3) Remove aluminum foil; scatter reserved 1 cup tortilla chips over top, followed by cheese, green onions, and tomatoes; bake 5 minutes longer and serve

Servings: 4

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

Ā 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

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;Ā bake in oven 45-50 minutes until done in center; scatter pecans over top and bake additional 5 minutes; serve

Servings: 6

LAYERED SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

Senior adores sweet potatoes…and cranberry sauce…and marshmallows. Layer them in one baking dish, sprinkle with butter-oat crumble topping and pecans, and you have an easy, unbelievably tasty side dish.

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6 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1-14 oz can whole cranberry sauce

2 cups marshmallow cream (I used Jet-puffed brand)

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup Craisins

1/4 cup pecan halves

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees; lightly butter 8×8″ baking dish

2) In medium-sized bowl, mix butter, oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon until well combined and crumbly; refrigerate

3) In baking dish, layer casserole as follows: 2 cups sweet potatoes (reserving 4 cups), cranberry sauce, 2 cups sweet potatoes (reserving 2 cups), marshmallow cream, and remaining 2 cups sweet potatoes; bake in oven 20 minutes

4) Crumble butter-oat mixture over casserole and bake additional 15-20 minutes until casserole is bubbly and crumble topping is golden brown; scatter Craisins and pecans over top and cook additional 5 minutes; serve

Servings: 8-10

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 titledĀ Bacon NationĀ 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

CHICKEN-BACON BAKE WITH MALT VINEGAR-POTATO CRUST

This dish could mean trouble in waist land, but I did my best to cut calories where I could without sacrificing too much taste. Regarding those cut calories, did I choose well? Senior and Junior Too (should have been home for this one, Junior), devoured every last bite and then came the chorus: “Is there more?” Sorry, no.
Chicken-Bacon Bake with Potato-Malt Vinegar Crust

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

4 slices bacon, chopped (I used turkey bacon)

1 cup onion, diced (red or yellow)

1 celery stalk, diced

2 cups cooked chicken (I used deli-roasted)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp dried tarragon

1/4 cup white cooking wine (or un-cooking wine)

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1 large baking potato, peeled and sliced quite thin

1 tbsp + 1 tsp malt vinegar

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp minced parsley

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly grease medium-sized casserole dish

2) To large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil (reserving 2 tbsp); add bacon and cook until crispy; add onion and celery and, stirring occasionally, cook 5 minutes; reduce heat to medium and add chicken, salt, pepper, tarragon, cooking wine, and coconut milk; stirring occasionally, cook 5 minutes; remove from heat, spoon into casserole dish, and bake in oven 20 minutes

3) Meanwhile, wipe out skillet; add reserved 2 tbsp olive oil to skillet and heat over medium-high; add sliced potatoes and fry 2-3 minutes each side until crispy; arrange potato slices over casserole, drizzle with malt vinegar, and scatter Parmesan cheese over top; return to oven and bake additional 5 minutes until cheese melts; remove from oven and scatter parsley over top; serve it up!

Servings: 4 (though my guys made it 3)