Wednesday, January 5, 2011

new year, new recipe!

This is a (slightly-out-of-focus) slice of gluten free breakfast casserole, one of two that I made over the holiday break. It is made of eggs, sausage, gluten-free bread, and cheese, and if you're interested in learning how to make one, just scroll down!

Recipe for Gluten-Free Breakfast Casserole
Serves 6

1lb ground sausage
4 pieces gluten-free bread
6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
~1/2 cup 1% milk
shredded cheese (at least 1 cup total)
salt, pepper, garlic powder

1) Brown sausage in a hot skillet, being sure to break it up so it is all in small crumbly bits. If there is a lot of fat left when the sausage is done cooking, drain the sausage. Turn off the heat and allow the sausage to cool down to room temperature.

2) Butter the bottom and sides of an 8"x8" cake pan or casserole dish. Place 4 pieces of gluten-free bread in the bottom of the pan, arranged to cover the bottom of the pan/dish. If need be, cut pieces and rearrange or add extra bread.

3) Sprinkle the bread with shredded cheese (I used Tillamook medium cheddar).

4) Spread the cooled sausage crumbles evenly across the bread.

5) Sprinkle the sausage with shredded cheese (I used mozzarella).

6) Crack all six eggs into one bowl and whisk thoroughly until they are completely combined. Add the heavy cream and mix, then add the milk to dilute it until it is thin enough to pour easily.

7) Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. I used about a teaspoon of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and about a teaspoon of garlic powder. Mix thoroughly.

8) Pour egg mixture over the top of the sausage layer in the pan, being sure to cover the entire pan evenly. Some sausage will stick out of the top, which is fine, but most of the sausage should be covered.

9) Sprinkle shredded cheese on top (I used Tillamook sharp cheddar).

10) Preheat oven to 350F, and then bake the casserole for at least 30 minutes and up to 45 minutes (depending on your oven and pan/dish selection). The casserole is done when the center is cooked through (test with a toothpick - it should come out clean) and the cheese is lightly browned.

Browning sausage is fun! This was a full pound of Jimmy Dean maple breakfast sausage.

Bread and cheese placement is critical - the bread should cover the entire bottom of the pan, in order to provide a solid foundation for your casserole.

Sausage and the second cheese layer.

Egg mixture fully added - still an inch of clearance on the pan to avoid boilover, but nearly all of the sausage is covered.

Casserole is complete and ready to go into the oven.

Casserole is done baking and is ready to eat!

This recipe is pretty malleable and adjustable to your own taste - use a spicier sausage, use different types of cheese (just not fresh squishy cheese, it will have too much liquid), or add additional flavorings. I've also added toasted onions or freshly sauteed scallions and garlic, and adding in diced peppers would go well to make a spicier result. The recipe can be paused after Step 9 and put in the refrigerator overnight, so that the casserole can be made ahead and baked the next morning (remember to let the casserole warm to room temperature or add additional baking time). Finally, I doubled the recipe and used a 9"x13" casserole dish to make enough for 12 or more servings with ease.

The resulting casserole will keep nicely in the fridge and reheat easily in either the oven or the microwave for about two days, so for example the 6-serving version lasted Chris and I through three days. I wouldn't keep it much longer than that, however, due to the combination of egg and sausage present.

Let 2011 continue on this tasty course!

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