Olive and basil know Southerners love to entertain and sometimes a big crowd calls for overnight preparation. Breakfast casserole is perfect because you can put it together the day before and pop it in the oven while everyone is just waking up. Add some fruit and coffee and you have a complete meal.
The combination of sausage or bacon, eggs and cheese comes together in this breakfast casserole to make a scrumptious, fluffy omelet type dish. The eggs puff up high and light, while the bread soaks up the liquid and makes a soft crusty base on the bottom. You can experiment with different types of bread, cheese and meat — you could use chopped ham and swiss or Gruyère cheese, or white cheddar. You can also try different types of bread, like challah or croissants. You could even throw in some sautéed mushrooms or chopped tomatoes or spinach. My favorite way to make this is with ground Italian sausage and sharp yellow cheddar.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 10 slices white bread
- 1 lb meat – cooked ground sausage or cooked and crumbled bacon
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 10 large eggs
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Grease 13×9 inch glass baking dish. Remove crusts from bread and cut or tear bread into cubes. Place bread in prepared dish.
Top with meat and cheese. I usually grate the cheese myself, as I don’t like the cheese that’s pre-grated. It is coated with flour or cornstarch to keep it from sticking together, so it doesn’t melt as smoothly. However, if in a hurry, definitely use the pre-grated cheese. For this particular dish, I was in a big hurry so I used pre-grated cheese AND pre-cooked bacon. Just chop the bacon into small pieces and add it to the dish. No one will know, life will be easier and tummies will be full.
Whisk together eggs and next 4 ingredients. Pour over cheese. Dot the top with butter. Cover dish and place in refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours.
Remove dish from refrigerator at least half an hour before baking. Preheat oven to 350° and bake casserole until puffy and center is set, about 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool for just a few minutes before you cut into it.