Saturday, January 5, 2013

Recipe Collection: Real Food Christmas Morning Casserole - A New Morning Staple

My memories of the Christmases of my childhood all carry sights, sounds, and smells. I remember seeing the tree for the first time with all the gifts nestled beneath it. I remember the sound of carols playing softly in the background  amidst the ripping of paper as we opened gifts. I remember the smell of the coffee my parents brewed to cope with our early wake up call.

I also clearly remember the smell of Christmas Morning Casserole warming in the oven as we spent the last few minutes emptying our stockings and surveying our loot. I'm not entirely sure where the recipe came from or what year it started appearing on our table. I just remember it being delicious and paired with tomato juice.

This Christmas was the first that our family was home Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Being home afforded me the time to make the casserole with Real Food and have it rest overnight in the fridge for it to grace our table Christmas morning. Here's the modified recipe for the casserole that will now make more than a yearly appearance on our table.

Christmas Casserole

Preparation Time:
20 minutes hands on then refrigerate overnight

Cook Time:
30-50 minutes

Total Time: 
1 hour 10 minutes plus overnight set

1.5 pounds local, ground breakfast sausage
6 free range eggs
2 cups raw/organic cream line or whole milk
2 (or more) cups freshly shredded whole milk cheddar cheese
1 TSP dry mustard
1 TSP Real Salt (or to taste)
2 slices sourdough (optional)

Cooking Instructions:
1. Brown the sausage in your pan until cooked throughout. -We've been transitioning to cast iron and it give the sausage a much more even cook than non stick pans.
2. In a large bowl, beat your 6 eggs. -This step is a GREAT one for little chefs to help with so they are involved. Miss Moo has even learned to softly tap the yolks with the whisk to break them before she begins to beat them.
3. Slowly whisk your milk into the beaten eggs.
4. Add your dry mustard and salt to egg mixture. Whisk again.
5. If using bread, cube the slices into bite size piece and line the bottom of your casserole dish. - I use a plain, white, oval souffle dish that has it's own lid. I used organic sourdough but am going to omit that next time so that we can cut our that grain and keep the meal mostly protein.
6. Grate your cheese. - 2 cups is a guideline. I started with that and did grate more before I decided there was enough. We love cheese.
7. Pour the egg mixture into the souffle dish and over the bread if you are using it.
8. Drain some of the grease from the cooked sausage so that the eggs aren't swimming in the grease but there is some for flavor and goodness.
9. Add the sausage and grease to the top of the egg mixture.
10. Sprinkle the cheese evenly across the top of the casserole.
11. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning:
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Uncover the casserole and let it sit on the counter as your oven preheats.
3. Place the casserole in the oven for 35-50 minutes, depending on your oven and the depth of your dish.  - Mine took right at 50 minutes to set. You are looking for quiche type consistency. A cake tester inserted in the middle should be clean indicating that the casserole is done.

Serve this dish with some delicious yogurt parfaits - we used granola, strawberries, and a little bit of maple syrup.

My family LOVED this dish and happily ate it rewarmed the second day.
Roo enjoying her breakfast.

 I love that this dish is protein rich, full of real food, and gives me time in the morning to be with my children rather than baked eggs, bacon, and the usual breakfast fixin's.
A satisfied Moo.

What easy, real food breakfasts do you love? What traditions do you see moving to your regular rotation?

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