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Pat’s Pantry: Hearty homemade meals

By Pat Mills

Christmas breakfast is a big deal in our house. The grandkids have to wait to open presents until after breakfast, so they can’t wait for the food to be put on the table. I like the casserole that you make ahead and refrigerate overnight, leaving your time free for the morning. – Pat

Cheese sausage strata

1½ pounds bulk pork sausage
9 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
9 slices bread, cubed
1½ cups (6 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
½ pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
1½ teaspoon ground mustard
In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Add the eggs, milk bread, cheese, bacon and mustard. Transfer to a greased shallow 3-qt. baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yield: 12-15 servings.

Oven baked French toast

½ cup butter, melted
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
12 slices sandwich bread
6 eggs
½ cup milk
1 pinch salt
Coat a 9 x 13 x 2-in baking dish with melted butter. Spread any remaining melted butter over bottom of dish. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over melted butter. Arrange bread in two layers over brown sugar mixture. Beat eggs, milk and salt in a bowl, pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate over night. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Sausage brunch braid

12 ounces bulk pork sausage
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped green pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons chopped green onion tops
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tube (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg, lightly beaten
In a skillet, cook sausage, onion, celery, green pepper and garlic until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender; drain. Add cream cheese, green onion and parsley. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted; set aside. Unroll crescent dough on a greased baking sheet; press perforations together. Roll into a 12-in x 10-in. rectangles. Spoon sausage mixture to within 3-in of long sides and 1-in of ends. On each long side, cut ¾-in wide strips 3-in into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle, forming a braid. Brush dough with egg. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Do ahead brunch bake

8 frozen hash brown potato patties
1 package (8 oz) thinly sliced fully cooked ham, chopped
1 ¼ cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups skim milk
1 can (10.75  oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
4 eggs or egg substitute equivalent to 4 eggs
1 teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon pepper
Place potato patties in a 13 x 9 x 2-in baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top with ham and 1 cup cheese. Combine milk, soup, egg substitute, mustard and pepper; pour over cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minute before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. let stand 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 12 servings.

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