If you’ve been reading my blog since the beginning, (which, by the way is exactly one year ago this week), you know that the title, There’s a Dad in the Kitchen, comes from a story connected to dads preparing breakfast for Parker Ford Church on months with a fifth Sunday. The traditional menu for those breakfasts has been French toast and sausage for as long as I can remember. In January we decided to try something different: Breakfast Casseroles.
I don’t have extensive experience with making breakfast casseroles, although I have opted for them on a number of Christmas mornings. The fact that you can prepare them the night before, take them out of the refrigerator and pop them in the oven for 45 minutes, is very appealing when you’d rather not be spending time in the kitchen.
As a trial run, I made a test casserole for our elders team the Monday before the Fifth Sunday Breakfast. I wanted to check on how aluminum foil pans behaved using the ovens at the church. I also wanted to test the baking time required by a double batch in each pan. Another benefit of the trial run was to see how many people could be served with one casserole, which would enable me to determine how many to make for a group of 80-100.
There was good news all around. The foil pan worked great, (which meant no cleanup. Hooray!) And the baking time for a double casserole was only about five minutes longer that for a single batch. I also was able to estimate that each double casserole would serve 12-15 people.
|We made eleven casseroles for our Fifth Sunday Breakfast.|
Very little was leftover!
I wanted to provide a variety of casseroles, so I used a basic recipe to which could be added diced ham, browned sausage, crumbled bacon, or sautéed vegetables. The basic recipe can be found at the end of this post.
Our breakfast team assembled on Saturday afternoon in order to crack 11 dozen eggs, chop and sauté the vegetables, and cook the sausage and bacon. The ham was already cooked, so we just had to dice it. Our assembly line included blending the eggs, milk, and spices for each casserole in plastic water pitchers. A double batch fit in each pitcher, and it was easy to blend the ingredients using an electric hand blender. All we had to do was then transfer this mixture, pouring each one into the prepared casseroles.
Start assembling by spraying each pan with non-stick cooking spray. Next add the cubed bread. You can experiment with a variety of breads. For ours, we used loaves of day-old Italian bread. Each double casserole got a half loaf, cut into fairly large, (1”) cubes. (As the casseroles bake, the bread virtually disappears.)
Arrange the “filling” for each casserole on top of the bread cubes. For our double batches, this amounted to about two cups of meat or sautéed vegetables. Bacon is the exception. Even for a double batch, 12-15 slices of crumbled bacon was sufficient.
One change that I would make is to add the cheese after pouring the egg mixture into each casserole. I added the cheese on top of each casserole’s filling and then poured the egg mixture on top of that. The cheese kind of disappeared. Adding half the cheese on top of the bread cubes and then the remaining half on top of all of the ingredients also works. You can always add additional cheese and doubling the cheese will definitely boost the fromage factor. Pour the egg mixture into the casserole dish gently, trying not to disturb the bread and filling.
We next covered each casserole with foil and refrigerated them over night. On Sunday morning, the casseroles were baked four to an oven, so the additional load on the ovens required increased baking time. Also, the gas ovens that we use do not have a convection feature, so I recommend rotating the casseroles half-way through baking, switching those on the top to the bottom oven rack, and vice versa.
Bake the casserole for approximately 45 minutes at 350° or until the center is no longer “loose” and the top is golden brown. Allowing the casserole to sit for a few minutes before serving will permit it time to solidify a little, making it easier to cut and serve. The basic recipe follows:
6 eggs, whipped
2 or 3 slices bread, cubed
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon salt
Optional (select one, or a combination of the following):
1 pound pork sausage, cooked, drained, crumbled
1 pound diced ham
6-10 slices of bacon, fried, drained, crumbled
Sautéed vegetables (onions, bell peppers, mushrooms)
|Here's a ham and sauteed vegetable casserole|
ready for the oven.
Feel free to experiment with different fillings, as well as combinations of the ones mentioned. Let me know if you try something that works especially well. Enjoy!