It’s been quite a while since I have posted on here. I’m not one to make excuses, but if I was, I’d mention that I’m pregnant with baby number two, have a one and a half year old, and work a full time job. This pregnancy has found me considerably sicker than my first. The doctor put me on some medication that really helps, but it has Unisom in it so I’m even more tired than you already are when growing a human, which really takes it out of you. So yeah, maybe I will go ahead and play that card just this once. 🙂 You can imagine for the past few months, I haven’t been all that interested in food: eating it, cooking it, smelling it, seeing it, reading about it, or writing about it. But I’m halfway through this pregnancy now and functioning well enough to get back in the game!
I’ve also never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, and this year is no exception. I always just make an attempt to be a better me every year. Short of making an official resolution, I am going to try to blog more in 2015…at least more than I did at the end of 2014. Hopefully that holds up when I have a toddler and a new baby!
I guess it’s only fitting that the first recipe I share with you in 2015 is the very first thing I made in 2015. We had some family over for brunch on New Year’s Day and I made a breakfast casserole that everyone raved over. And I’m not naming names, but everyone went back for seconds. Even Wes, our toddler who has been known to be a picky eater at times, gobbled it down.
I’ve made various breakfast casseroles before, and I like them because not only are they delicious, but you can really mix them up with any different ingredients you want. This time, I had some things in the house I needed to use up, so I decided to make a strata, which includes cubed bread soaked in an egg mixture, and filled in with basically whatever breakfast goodies you like. (Needless to say, we kept referring to the strata as “Erik Estrada,” and man did we drive that into. the. ground. It was funny though!)
I found a basic strata recipe to use as the structure for my recipe, and then I personalized it. The original recipe got great reviews, and for good reason! It really is delicious! I used sausage and bacon, spinach, onions, white and wheat bread, (Typically stratas use white bread, but we really don’t buy white bread. I had a part of a French loaf leftover in the fridge that was given to us, so I used that up and then added wheat for the rest.) sharp cheddar cheese, pesto jack cheese, and a little fresh Parmesan. This really was a use-up recipe for me, as I had a little bit of this and that around that I used up, plus some things from the freezer. I didn’t buy anything except some fresh parsley because I really like parsley in egg dishes. You could leave it out if you wanted.
Now, I have to warn you. I typically like to cook healthily and use fresh, whole foods. This is not that kind of recipe. It is glutenous, gluttonous, and glorious. I wouldn’t eat it every day, and I wouldn’t recommend you do either. But it was a special occasion, and it turned out to be perfect for a family brunch. I’d highly recommend you give this a try some weekend! You do have to plan ahead a bit because it is assembled the night before so it can set overnight, but aside from that, it is not difficult at all. I hope your family enjoys it as much as we did!
Adapted from Taste of Home
- 1 pound of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 pound of sausage
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cups of frozen shredded hash browns
- 1 10 oz. box of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 3 cups of shredded cheese of your choice (I recommend sharp Cheddar)
- approximately 10-12 cups of bread cubes (enough to almost fill a 9 x 13 pan)
- 12 large eggs
- 3 1/2 cups of milk
- 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon of ground mustard
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 Tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley (optional)
(Before you start, make sure your spinach is well drained so it doesn’t make your casserole runny. The easiest way to do this is to put it in the center of a kitchen towel and then wring it out. It will end up in a little ball, but just pull it apart with your fingers.)
Cook the sliced bacon either in the microwave or on the stove until crisp. (Incidentally, I’ve found the easiest way to cut raw bacon is with kitchen scissors.)
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and cook sausage. When the sausage is about halfway cooked, add the onion. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Combine bacon with sausage and onions.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, Worcestershire, ground mustard, parsley, and season with salt and pepper.
In a greased 9 x 13, layer half of the bread cubes, potatoes, and cheese. Top with all of the bacon and sausage mixture and spinach. Repeat layers of bread, potatoes, and cheese. Slowly pour the egg mixture over all so everything is soaked. Cover and chill overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before baking. Bake at 325 for 60-70 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
You may want to serve with hot sauce, if you like that sort of thing.