Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sausage & Egg Mini Breakfast Casseroles

We recently discovered that our local butcher carries two varieties of sausage without preservatives: a peppery and fennel-y pork sausage and a spicy Spanish chorizo. This means we can incorporate these flavorful meats (which are usually off-limits due to preservatives) into meals every now and then: hooray! So for Australia Day weekend (January 26) we got a bunch of both and grilled them up on the BBQ, serving them with homemade hot dog buns, caramelized onions, pickle relish, and all the fixin's, and a red cabbage, fennel, and orange salad with buttermilk pecan dressing from Katie Quinn Davies' What Katie Ate Cookbook. Delicious.

The next morning we decided to try something different from our weekend tradition of poached or scrambled eggs on toast (sometimes spread with avocado) topped with smoked salmon, and a fruit smoothie and coffee on the side.  Weekend breakfast is a big deal for us. We set the table, work together to chop, blend, whisk, season, and toast so that everything is ready at exactly the same time to sit down with a nourishing, hot plate of brunch. Actually it's rarely all ready at the same time. Sometimes the eggs are over/under done, the toast too brown, the coffee not finished brewing, etc... one day we'll have it down : )  

Southern Spoon blog
this is not what your coffee will look like if you come to our house for brunch,
but we'll take you to the café around the corner to have one
Anyway, the morning after our Australia Day holiday BBQ, I searched through my cookbooks, keeping in mind the leftover links of sausage we had in the fridge, and found a recipe for mini breakfast casseroles in the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook.  I didn't have a few of the ingredients, but adapted away using what we had and produced four tasty, personal-sized portions of sausage and egg casserole. Perfect morning meal with fruit salad and coffee. 

Southern Spoon blog: mini sausage and egg breakfast casserole
mini sausage & egg breakfast casserole, side of fruit salad
If I'd had mushrooms I would have chopped up a few and added them, and maybe a sliced green onion, too--but these are really good as is.  We had one mini casserole each and that was plenty, leaving two for the next morning. The middles sank a bit overnight in the fridge, but they tasted just as good reheated in the microwave until hot. Happy weekend breakfast to you.

Sausage & Egg Mini Breakfast Casseroles
adapted from the Southern Living Christmas Cookbook
makes 4 mini (1-serving) casseroles

2 bread slices, torn into 1/2-inch chunks (I used multigrain bread)
2/3 cup of chopped, fully cooked sausage links or patties
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (any fat content will do)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup natural or greek yogurt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F/ 175C. Spray four 8- to 10-oz ceramic casserole dishes (or oven-safe coffee mugs) with cooking spray.  Evenly distribute the torn bread chunks into the four casserole dishes, then top evenly with the chopped, cooked sausage. 

Whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, yogurt, and pepper.  Distribute the mixture into the four casserole dishes, pouring over the bread and sausage. Top each casserole with shredded cheese, and, if desired, a sprinkle of dried oregano. 

Place the casserole dishes in the centre of a baking sheet (to catch any spillovers, mine spilled over a bit during baking), and bake at 350F/175C for 25-30 minutes, or until casseroles are set and puffed up slightly.  Serve immediately.

* Storage tip: The Southern Living Christmas Cookbook says that unbaked casseroles can be covered with plastic wrap, then foil, and stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.  Thaw overnight in the fridge then bake as directed.   

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