As the temperatures cool and the holidays approach, I dream about having a simple, savory, throw-it-in-the-oven, baked breakfast casserole. I had some specific criteria in mind:
- fast prep
- didn't have to make it the night before (but you could if you want to)
- short ingredient list, made up of mostly pantry staples
- simply seasoned so everyone would enjoy and it could work with a variety of sides (it would be great with fresh fruit on the side)
- yielded enough for one meal for five to six people, or a few meals for fewer people
This casserole delivers that, and it reheats beautifully. If you like, you can prepare the entire filling the night before, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking, and bake per instructions.
- 8 eggs
- 5-6 slices of bread (we use gluten-free, but of course you could use regular bread), cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1/2 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, or cheese blends work well)
- 1 tsp allspice, divided into 2 x 1/2 tsp parts
- 1 tsp dry mustard, divided into 2 x 1/2 tsp parts
- 2 tsp dried sage, divided into 2 x 1 tsp parts
- 1 tsp salt, divided into 2 x 1/2 tsp parts
- several grinds of ground pepper, to taste
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 lb ground pork (if unseasoned, add 1/2 of total spice amounts above to meat as it cooks)
Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a 7 x 11" pan with butter or avocado oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until smooth. Add remaining amounts of all spices. Add bread cubes and allow to soak while meat cooks.
Brown the meat in a skillet. If it is unseasoned, season with half the salt, pepper, sage, dry mustard, and allspice as it browns. When cooked, remove from pan and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
Add meat and shredded cheese to egg mixture and stir to combine. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes, or until the casserole doesn't wobble or look too wet in any area.
Oh, and happy Thanksgiving, friends!
I love the cooler months for the feel of them, in every way. I love cold-weather clothing, and candles, and the idea of slower, soothing months, where life doesn't feel so hectic. I love the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I love a good comfort food meal, that you can start in the afternoon, and let it simmer while doing laundry or a pre-dinner tidy of your home. This chili is that food for me. It's not altogether pretty, but you could always add some color by way of green pepper or jalepenos, etc. It's very mix-and-matchable and well-suited to whatever you have in your pantry. For us, that's chickpeas and lentils, since Nicholas isn't a huge fan of pinto/navy beans, etc. These ingredients afford a "traditional" enough chili for me, with a texture he enjoys as well.
Baked PB oatmeal or just "PB oatmeal" as we fondly call it, serves as our breakfast at least 300 mornings of the year. I've mentioned it about one million times on the blog, since I've been making is for us ever since Summer posted the recipe almost exactly five years ago, but I've never actually shared the recipe and how I make it. Over time, I've adjusted a few things and tweaked it to it's current state. I adore recipes like this that I can make again and again. We eat a lot of eggs for any meal of the day, and so it's nice to have an egg-free breakfast option. And I really love the idea of a make-ahead breakfast that will reheat easily and fill us up with both protein and carbs.
Yesterday, I stopped by my friend Jessica's house to see her and her son. I played with her little boy while she chopped veggies for a meal she was bringing to a friend that night. Whereas I prefer to follow a recipe, since I'm nervous that my kitchen experiments won't turn out, Jessica is naturally good at using up all the food in the fridge, coming up with new combinations and just "throwing together" a meal, or following a recipe with modifications, based on what she has on hand.