Breakfast Casserole

If you’re looking for the perfect make-ahead breakfast for the holidays, look no further.   I found this recipe in Cook’s Country magazine and it’s perfect.  I just made this for our gender reveal brunch over the weekend (it’s a boy!) and everyone loved it.  You can make it the night before, which is always a bonus, and it will make your morning that much better.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 – 14 in. loaf Italian bread (ends trimmed)
  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage (this is just breakfast sausage with the casings removed)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 12 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Frank’s Red Hot (they suggest this sauce, but if you’re using something like Tabasco, cut it down to 1 1/2 teaspoons – I was making this for kids, too, so I cut it all the way down to 1/2 teaspoon because I was afraid it was going to be too spicy)

HOW TO MAKE IT

TOAST BREAD  

    • Adjust the oven racks to the upper middle and lower middle levels and heat the oven to 400°F
    • Slice each piece of bread in half lengthwise, then slice each half crosswise into 1/2″ thick pieces
    • Spread bread into single layers on the baking sheets and bake until golden, 15-20 minutes, flipping bread and switching and rotating sheets halfway through
    • Let cool for 15 minutes (I was a bit worried about how toasted the bread is but it’s totally FINE – the egg mixture gets totally absorbed and the bread becomes soft again, I promise!)

BROWN SAUSAGE

    • Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes
    • Add the onion and cook until golden, about 5 minutes

ASSEMBLE CASSEROLE

    • Grease a 13×9″ baking dish
    • Arrange half of the bread so that the edges overlap slightly (this was kind of difficult for me because the bread is so toasted, so I just made sure that they were packed in as close as possible)
    • Top the bread with half of the sausage mixture and 1 cup of cheese
    • Repeat with the remaining bread, remaining sausage mixture and remaining cheese

SOAK AND WEIGHT

    • Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and hot sauce in a large bowl
    • Pour evenly over the casserole
    • Wrap the casserole with plastic wrap and either place another 13×9″ pan on top of the wrapped casserole and fill it with canned goods OR if you don’t have a spare 13×9″ pan, wrap the casserole in plastic and carefully place boxes of broth or sugar on top
    • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24

BAKE CASSEROLE

    • Adjust oven rack the middle position and heat oven to 350°F
    • Let casserole stand at room temperature while the oven is heating
    • Remove weights, unwrap casserole and bake until the edges and center have puffed up and top is golden brown, about 1 hour – let cool for 10 minutes, then serve (I actually baked it for 1 hour 10 minutes and you definitely need to let it set or else it will be a little bit runny when you dig into it)