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Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tasty, Easy, Christmas Breakfast

Every family has holiday traditions. Whether yours has a robust list, or a more laissez faire approach, these customs are near and dear to us this time of year.
Growing up for me, Christmas morning was filled with hustle and bustle – up early for presents, off to church and then either getting ready for dinner at our house or heading off to another house to spend the day.
What’s missing in all that activity? Breakfast. I mean, it is the most important meal of the day.
Several years ago my Mom started making this overnight breakfast casserole before we got into the swing of the holiday on Christmas Eve. The beauty of it – beyond the fact that it holds the breakfast trinity of eggs, sausage and toast all in one dish – is that all you have to do on Christmas morning is pop it in the oven and voila, tasty homemade breakfast ready to go.
This Christmas it will be a quiet one with just my fiancé and I. Between you and me I’m looking forward to spending the day in PJs, but there will be presents and breakfast casserole and those traditions will make it just right.
My Mom’s recipe is an adapted version of this one (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/christmas-breakfast-sausage-casserole/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=christmas%20breakfast%20sausage%20casserole&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page) 

The ingredients are simple:
1 lb ground pork sausage (I prefer Jimmy Dean’s sage version – can you tell I was born and raised in the Midwest?)
1 teaspoon mustard power
Salt and fresh ground pepper
4 eggs, beaten (the recipe calls for 4, I recommend using 6)
2 cups of milk (skim works for me)
6 slices of bread toasted and cut into cubes
8 oz cheddar cheese (the recipe calls for mild, I tend to go with the sharpest I can find)

Step 1: Prep your ingredients. I am a big mise en place girl, I like to have everything I need out on the counter before I get started. In addition to the ingredients you’ll need a skillet big enough to cook the sausage, a mixing bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients and a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
Put all six eggs in a small bowl and whisk until beaten, toast all six slices of bread and cut into cubes and you should be ready to go.

Step 2: crumble the sausage into a frying pan and cook until browned. Drain the grease (a small nod to health. I usually go for pretty healthy recipes, but this one is all about comfort food folks).

Step 3: Take all your ingredients, the cooked sausage, mustard powder, salt and pepper, eggs, milk, bread cubes and cheese and put in the mixing bowl. Mix until everything is thoroughly combined and pour into your greased 9 x 13 baking dish.
Step 4: Cover with foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.  As my fiancé always tells me, at this point in the game this will not look overly appetizing. Trust me, it’s worth it in the end!

Step 5: Christmas morning, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, put the casserole in covered for 45 to 60 minutes (45 is usually plenty for me) and then uncover for another 30 minutes or until set. Mine is usually good to go between 15 and 20 minutes in.

Breakfast is served!

Note – the one big variable here is the bread. I’d recommend normal white or wheat sandwich breads as they’ll soak up the egg appropriately. We tried sourdough one year and it was a little runny, so if trying different breads you may need to adjust the liquids a bit.
Happy Holidays and please let us know if you have a special tradition on Christmas morning!

xo,
Miss Lindsey

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