Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Sausage Polenta Breakfast Casserole

Sausage Polenta Breakfast Casserole

On Christmas morning I’m usually torn between wanting to open gifts, and getting something ready for breakfast.  Of course, I start with coffee—I must have my coffee before anything.  Breakfast should be hearty enough to sustain us until we have dinner later in the day, so it can take some time to prepare.

So I have been experimenting with breakfast casseroles to come up with a recipe that can be assembled the evening before and just popped into the oven the next morning.  While it bakes you can be hanging out in you pj’s, tearing open those presents, and enjoying the smell of something wonderful baking in the oven.

I’ve recently found packages of pre made polenta at the grocery store.  They are tube shaped and wrapped in a plastic wrapper.  Usually found in a refrigerator case somewhere near the deli department. This can be a great convenience if you know what to do with it. So that is what I have been experimenting with.  This recipe uses the sliced polenta to make a crust (of sorts), into which you layer some precooked breakfast sausage, seasonings, and an egg/milk mixture.  Top with cheese, bake, and  out will come a spicy, cheesy, egg dish that is hearty and filling.  In the pictures you see here I have made only half the recipe for two of us, and not having bulk sausage on hand I used brown and serve sausages, cut into slices.

SAUSAGE WITH POLENTA BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

SERVES:   6 – 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1  16-ounce roll polenta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 10 – 12 ounces breakfast sausage, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash hot pepper sauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

1.  Using 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, brush into a 9-inch pie dish or similar baking dish.

2.  Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch thick slices, and arrange in the bottom and up around the sides of the baking dish to form a “crust’.

3.  Put the remaining teaspoon olive oil in a medium skillet, crumble in the sausage and cook to render the fat from the sausage and brown it..  Add the green onions and garlic powder; sauté 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and spread over polenta in the baking dish.

4.  In a medium bowl,  Mix the eggs, milk, salt and hot pepper sauce.  Pour over the sausage mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Egg mixture poured over the sausage and polenta.

Egg mixture poured over the sausage and polenta.

5.  In the morning, preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Uncover dish,  sprinkle on the shredded cheese, and bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until set.

Sprinkle on shredded cheese before baking.

Sprinkle on shredded cheese before baking.

Melted cheese, and a little brown and crunchy around the edges,    YUM!

Melted cheese, and a little brown and crunchy around the edges, YUM!

SOURCE:    A Carolyn Original

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Butternut Bisque

Butternut Bisque

As many of you are probably doing,  I’m making out my menu for Thanksgiving Dinner, checking the cupboard for what I have on hand and what I need to get.  My shopping list is close at hand.  There are certain dishes that are alway present on my Thanksgiving dinner table because it’s a favorite of someone in the family and they want to enjoy it once again.  Each year I try to make one dish a little different than I’ve made it previously just to give it a new spin, or I introduce something new.

This year as my guests arrive, I will be serving small cups of soup along with a cheese board and crackers.  The soup is one which I have made many times before, but never served as an appetizer, so we will have to see how that works out.  Because it is a favorite of my husband and me I’m sharing it here.  We usually have it with grilled cheese sandwiches, and it makes a very hearty meatless meal.  You might also want to serve it in small cups as a appetizer for your holiday meal as I will be doing.

The recipe has gone through several adaptations, but was originally given to me by a co-worker, who was a wonderful French cook.  She grew a big garden every year and just had a special way of using all those vegetables she grew.  Her soups were outstanding, and I’m fortunate that she shared some of her recipes with me.  They are some of my very favorites.

BUTTERNUT BISQUE

SERVINGS    6

INGREDIENTS

Ingredients for Butternut Bisque

  • 2 – 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash,  peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 5 – 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • pinch each:  nutmeg, ginger, cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

1.  Melt butter in a large soup pan.  Add onions, carrots, and celery.  Saute for 2-3 minutes.

Saute onions, carrots, and celery.

2.  Add potatoes and squash to the pan; followed by the broth.

Potatoes and squash ready to be added.

Bring to a boil.  Decrease heat, cover and simmer till vegetables become very tender,  approximately 40 minutes.  Add the curry, nutmeg, ginger and cayenne.

3.  Puree the soup mixture using an immersion blender, or regular blender working in batches.  Return soup to the pan.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Keep warm till ready to serve.  Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream on top.

This is the perfect use for a fall vegetable.

SOURCE:   With thanks to Ann N., my friend, who was so generous in sharing her recipes and cooking talents with me.