Breakfast casseroles make a hearty breakfast, festive brunch or a satisfying supper. The basic combination of sausage, eggs, bread and cheese only needs a side of fruit, salad or vegetables to make a complete, balanced meal. Prepare your breakfast casserole ahead of time, and keep it in the refrigerator until you're ready to eat. Then simply pop it in the oven and in no time, it's ready to enjoy.
Build a basic breakfast casserole with a short list of ingredients: bread, sausage, eggs, milk and cheese. Use white or wheat sandwich bread or toasted freezer waffles. Any type of breakfast sausage works, just be sure to brown and drain it first. Whisk eggs and milk together to make a custard. Vary the proportions of the custard to make the casserole more or less "eggy" to suit your taste. Because cheddar melts easily and has a rich flavor, it's a good choice for your casserole, but experiment with other cheeses like Swiss or Monterey Jack. Layer the bread, sausage and cheese in a greased baking dish, pour on the custard and refrigerator at least an hour or overnight before baking.
Sweet and Savory
A breakfast casserole with sausage is a versatile dish that you can tailor to suit your family's sweet or savory preference. These casseroles can easily take sweet touches like maple syrup, sliced apples or cinnamon raisin bread. Add dried or fresh thyme, or a salad dressing mix to a savory casserole, or spice it up with a can of diced green chilies and a teaspoon of cumin or chili powder added to the eggs and milk.
Include chopped vegetables to give your casserole a nutritional boost. Diced, sautéed onions, sweet peppers and mushrooms add flavor, color and texture to a savory casserole. Chopped broccoli or spinach are other suitable ingredients. If you're using fresh veggies, lightly cook them before adding them to the casserole. For a faster option, use frozen chopped broccoli and spinach, thawed and drained.
Keep It Light
Breakfast casseroles are easy to lighten up. Use leaner turkey or chicken sausage, or meat-free breakfast links, patties or crumbles. Decrease the amount of cheese, or choose low-fat or non-fat cheese instead of full-fat cheese to lower fat and calories. Substitute the equivalent amount of pasteurized egg product for whole eggs and skim milk for higher-fat varieties. The lighter version will still be full of flavor and sure to satisfy your hungry family.
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- "Cook's Country"; A Better Breakfast Casserole; Jeremy Sauer
- "The Dinner Doctor"; Anne Byrn; 2003
- Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images