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December 25, 2009

Recipe Corner: Egg, Corn, "Sausage" Breakfast Casserole

It's been a goal of mine lately to learn more one-dish, casserole type meals. With minimal preparation, I can eat for weeks on end, and have more food groups in one meal than my typical cheese-sandwich-and-a-yogurt single person dining. It's also important to minimize dishes since my kitchen sink is a shallow bar sink. And a friend has encouraged me to do more experimenting with "fake meats" to get more protein in my diet. She got me to buy some Morning Star meat "crumbles" that had been in my freezer for a couple months. All these influences led me to experiment while home for the holidays. I finally decided to get another bag of the fake meat and try my mom's egg and sausage casserole recipe, substituting the vegan crumbles for the sausage. It turned out to be easy and delicious. A little assembly the day before gave us a great Christmas morning breakfast.

Click on the image above to enlarge the recipe to a readable or printable size. Below are the Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Griller Recipe Crumbles that I substituted for the meat in my mom's recipe.



I sauteed the crumbles in a bit of olive oil till brown, as you would with ground hamburger or taco meat and set them aside. Since I've never really eaten meat, this was a learning experience for me! Sometimes it's nice to step out of a comfort zone and learn a new skill, and this was so easy I'm sure I'll do it again. Next time I think I'd brown the "meat" a little more. I used the whole bag since I had it on hand--I didn't want to leave leftovers in my folks' fridge; they're meat eaters who wouldn't use this up.


I figured the first few steps didn't need to be photographed: the eggs were hard boiled, cooled, peeled, then sliced. I'm not a yolk lover, so I left those out, though my mom usually puts them in her casserole. The corn was canned, but not the "soupy" kind. I drained it and dumped it into the mix. Below is all the casserole stuff, ready to be sauced. As you can see I used a large, 9 x 13 inch pan, which I first greased a bit.


Below is all the sauce ingredients minus the milk. The butter is melted into the dry ingredients (flour, salt, garlic salt) to create a roux. Once it reaches this stage, the milk is whisked in and the sauce is heated to boiling to thicken it. I omitted the pepper, and replaced half the salt with garlic salt for a little extra flavor.


Here's the casserole assembly with the sauce poured over and mixed in. Panko bread crumbs topped it off. At this stage I covered with foil and stored in our cooler, to cook the next morning. Ready for Christmas!


The finished casserole looked and smelled delicious! I cooked it covered with foil, then removed the foil for about the last ten minutes to brown the panko bread crumb topping. The bread crumbs look a bit like sugar crystals in the photo but they added just the right crunch to the casserole.



I served this along with my friend Cathy's Chocolate Chip Scones, to which I'd thrown in some maraschino cherries. The scone was extra festive from the red cherries poking through.

What do you eat on Christmas morning (besides candy from stockings)? We typically have hors d'ouvres when we open presents, some sort of light or easy breakfast Christmas morning, and a big formal dinner Christmas day. Do you have a food tradition for the holidays? Tell me about it by leaving a comment on the blog.

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