Sunday Kitchen: Breakfast Casserole

This is a old(ish) family recipe that probably came from a label or the back of a package of some sort. It’s become a staple at my mom’s house for Christmas, but I make this all the time for dinner. We love breakfast for dinner, and we can usually get multiple dinners (or two dinners and some lunches) out of one batch. That’s especially important while we’re all self-quarantined for the corona virus. And also, this is REALLY easy to make. So here goes:

Brown one pound of breakfast sausage, or any other kind of sausage you’d eat with eggs. I’m personally partial to Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, but it’s up to you. Drain off the fat.

Dice up enough white bread to cover the bottom of a greased 9″ x 13″ casserole dish. The written recipe says 6 slices, but we almost never buy sliced bread, so just cut up however much it takes. Note: This is a great chance to use up stale bread. You’ll never notice the difference.

Grate up two cups, give or take, of cheddar cheese.

In a fairly good-sized mixing bowl, beat 6 eggs, and then mix in 2 1/2 cups milk, 1  teaspoon dry mustard, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Now it’s all just a matter of assembly. Layer the cooked sausage over the diced bread.

Then layer on the cheese.

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the whole thing. At this point, you can refrigerate overnight if you wanted to make it ahead of time.

Otherwise, bake uncovered at 350°F for 45 minutes.

It should come out looking something like this. Let it cool for 5 minutes or so, and cut yourself a slice.

After it cools, cover the dish in plastic or cut the casserole up and put it in any kind of airtight container and this will keep great in the fridge for three or four days. But it probably won’t last that long. Oh, and it reheats beautifully in the micronuker.



Sunday Kitchen: Meatballs

More often than not, I spend the biggest part of my Sunday in the kitchen. Usually I make something, or a couple somethings, that we’ll have on hand to eat throughout the following week. It occurred to me that some of the cooks might make interesting blog posts. So here is the first of what might become a quasi-regular feature.

This week’s project was homemade meatballs from the Frankies Spuntino cookbook. It’s kind of a no-brainer of a recipe. You make it all in one bowl and just keep chucking in ingredients. But it’s a bit time-consuming because I find that, for the best results, you need to mix each ingredient in before adding the next. The upside is that one batch makes quite a lot of meatballs, so you get a lot of yield for the time spent. I use however many we need for whatever meal(s) we’re making and freeze the rest in vacuum sealed bags, two meatballs per pack. Then we can thaw as many or as few as we need for future meals.

Start with six slices of bread. Use a fairly good quality bread; not exactly fancy, and certainly nothing expensive, but also not Sunbeam or Wonder. Get something from the deli section in your grocery store and slice it yourself. (The Frankies cut off the crusts, but I don’t usually bother.)

Anyway, take six slices of bread and put them in a large mixing bowl. Fill the bowl with enough water to cover the bread, and let it get completely soggy. The book says “for a minute or so,” but in my experience the bread is soggy pretty much instantly when you run the water on it. Regardless, when it’s soggy, pour the water out and squeeze out as much water as you can, then tear the wet bread into tiny pieces.

Add in 2 pounds of ground beef and knead the bread into it until it’s evenly dispersed.

Next, work in 3 cloves minced garlic and 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped.

Then comes 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup raisins (weird, I know, but trust the Frankies).

Now add 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt or Morton’s kosher salt, about 15 turns of freshly ground white pepper, and 1/4 cup pine nuts (again, keep the faith).

Finally, add 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs and 4 large eggs.

Work it really good. Initially it will seem way too wet, but as you keep kneading it all together the eggs will become more and more incorporated. If it is still too wet to work with, add a bit more of the bread crumbs and keep kneading. The mixture should be wet, but not sloppy.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Roll the mixture into palm-sized balls, give or take, and place them on a baking sheet. (I’ve never needed to grease or oil the pan.)

Bake for about 30 minutes. They should be firm, but have a little give. You know, like a meatball.

Now they’re ready. Simmer some in tomato sauce, make a meatball parm sandwich, or whatever. When they’re cooled, you can refrigerate them for a day or two, or as I mentioned, freeze them for later.


What I did with mine on Sunday was slice up a couple of them and make a pizza:

One no-knead pizza dough from Jim Lahey’s book, My Bread.

One 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes, one teaspoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt, pulsed in a mini-chopper to a coarse puree, and spread evenly over the dough.

A 50/50 blend of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. This time I didn’t even grate them myself; I just bought the prepackaged shredded stuff.

A healthy (or unhealthy, depending on how you look at it) dose of pepperoni.

And a couple of the aforementioned meatballs.

Threw together a green salad while the pizza baked at 500° F for a little over 15 minutes, and voila!

That’s dinner!