Leggo My Sausagy Breakfast Casserole Stuff
So. In case you didn’t notice, I have a fantastic giveaway going on right here. And let me just say this: Many, many more people viewed the giveaway than entered, and I’m thinking either 1) This giveaway is not lame – it’s just that only certain people are cool enough to want it; or 2) You couldn’t figure out how to leave a comment or were scared to leave one because you thought I might judge you for your choice of wine.
All I can say is, 1) Be cool. Enter the contest; 2) Click on the number of comments at the bottom of the post to leave a comment from the main page or just scroll down to the bottom of the comments and type something in the “leave a reply” box; 3) While I don’t believe all wines are created equal, I do believe that there are people in the world who aren’t going to think exactly the way I think or like the exact things I like. Rest assured I’m the last person to judge. I think we established that here.
Now that the boring business stuff is out of the way, I noticed that I’ve been getting some new readers lately who’ve been leaving really, really nice comments. I’m not sure where you’re coming from, but thank you. Also, I’m super amazed when some of you who’ve been reading this for a while now mention something I posted 6 months to a year ago. I mean — I don’t even remember what I posted this week, let alone last year, so thank you for continuing to not only read my public account of my successes and failures, but for actually remembering it.
On second thought, feel free to forget about my failures. Who wants to remember those?
If there’s anything at which I fail on a regular basis, it’s cooking. That’s a big reason I like to share recipes on this site — to catalog those occasions when it actually works out — if not exactly according to plan, at least it’s still edible.
It’s been a while since I posted a recipe, and since we had a bit of company last weekend, I thought I’d share an old favorite that I use almost every time we have house guests: The Breakfast Sausage Casserole.
For those of you who are new and don’t understand why a self-proclaimed domestiphobe is getting all Betty Crocker on you, the short answer is that I’m a learner. I like to evolve. If I’m bad at something but I enjoy it anyway, I make the effort to get better. So if you’re scared of cooking but want to learn, there’s no better way than to just dive right in. Accept the fact that mistakes will be made, and we’ll all get along just fine.
(And trust me — sometimes there’s nothing more therapeutic than chopping up an onion and throwing it into a simmering pan of butter — especially if you have a particularly vivid imagination and can picture the onion as a crazy ex boss or that horrible guy (or girl) who broke your heart for no reason back in college. This is all figurative, of course.)
And if you’re not afraid of cooking and are already pretty excellent at it and consistently pronounce the word prosciutto with an accurate Italian accent, you might just want to go ahead and skip this post entirely.
So. Breakfast casserole. This is a classic recipe that everyone should keep in their arsenal for low-maintenance house guests because it’s relatively inexpensive, it feeds a lot of people, and the leftovers are fantastic. Plus, you make it the night before, so all your hungover self has to do in the morning is preheat the oven and pop it in.
There are many variations of this dish — I know Justin’s mom has at least 2 different and delicious recipes she makes when we visit — but this one is my favorite because I got it from my grandmother.
To make it, you will need:
- 2 lb. Sausage (As usual, I use Jimmy Dean’s sausage. For this one, I use one hot and one regular. I make too many things with sausage. I think I have a problem.)
- 3 cups of seasoned croutons (any brand will do)
- 2 cups of shredded cheese (any kind – cheddar, marbled… I think this time I used a brick of blended Monterrey Jack and cheddar. You can buy the bags of pre-shredded stuff, but I think it tastes better when you grate your own.)
- 6 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 tsp. dried mustard
- 1 small can mushrooms, drained (optional) (This would also be great with some fresh sautéed mushrooms.)
I apologize for the lack of step-by-step photos in this post. I may have been a glass of wine into making this and distracted because our guest had already arrived.
1) Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, break it up and heat until it’s fully cooked (no longer pink).
[Imagine there’s a picture of sausage cooking on the stove here. I’m sure I have one somewhere from the other 8-bagillion sausage recipes I have here, but I’m too lazy to look.]
2) While the sausage is cooking, grease a 9×13″ pan and layer the croutons on the bottom. These will eventually become a soft crust for the casserole.
3) Sprinkle the 2 cups of cheese over the croutons.
4) When the sausage is finished cooking, drain the grease (or use a slotted spoon) and layer the sausage over the cheese.
Note: This is a pretty basic and hard-to-screw-up recipe, but I will have you know that the layering is important. If you mess up the order, you could end up with croutons floating at the top, and that just doesn’t make sense. I might have learned this from experience.
5) In a large bowl, beat the 6 eggs with a fork. Stir in the teaspoon of dried mustard, 2 1/2 cups of milk, and can of cream of mushroom soup.
Pour this mixture over the top of the sausage.
It will be lumpy and perfect.
Now’s also the time to add the canned mushrooms if you’re using them. This time, I did not.
6) Cover and let it sit in your fridge overnight. This is when the croutons will soak up all that milky, eggy goodness to form a nice, soft crust once baked.
7) Set your alarm for a couple of hours before you want to eat. Drag your bedraggled self to the kitchen and preheat your oven to 300-degrees Fahrenheit. Nap on the couch until the oven is preheated. When the oven is preheated, stick in the casserole and go back to bed for 1 1/2 hours.
Or, if you’re smart, make coffee — lots of coffee — and wait for the casserole. Because if you have a crappy oven like mine, the casserole might get a little… crisp.
But the amazing thing is that it’s still SO good!
This holds together a lot better if you actually let it cool a bit before devouring.
It’s not fancy. There’s no prosciutto. It uses canned soup, for crying out loud.
But it reminds me of a Sunday morning at grandma’s. Before life got all… hard.
And that, my friends, is worth every, delicious, sausagy bite.