And now, for something completely different. A recipe with no sugar!
I love this breakfast casserole template from Pam Anderson. She is one of my favorite cookbook authors. [Insert obligatory no, not that Pamela Anderson - by the way, did you see the picture of her at the art gallery where she forgot her pants? Not good.]
Anyway, this is a template because you can mix and match whatever ingredients you like. You can leave out the meat and vegetables and have just a basic egg and cheese version. My favorites, however, are sausage and bell peppers or bacon, spinach, and onions. The key is to saute your vegetables lightly before putting them in the casserole - don't put them in raw.
This is great to make ahead, so I love to do it for Christmas morning. Besides, if you use red and green bell peppers or spinach and bacon, you have the green and red theme covered.
1 quart half and half
12 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
12-14 slices fluffy white bread (Cheap soft white bread is best)
1 pound meat or seafood and 1 pound vegetables or 2 pounds of vegetables (optional)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
12 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 3 cups)
Cook meat if using and set aside. Prepare vegetables by chopping and sauteing with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.
Whisk half and half, eggs, salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl until smooth.
Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with vegetable cooking spray. Line bottom of baking dish with 6 slices of bread. If necessary, cut strips and fit them into any gaps. If using meat and/or vegetables, scatter half of each over bread, then sprinkle with half the scallions and half the cheese. Pour 1 cup egg mixture over bread. Make another layer with remaining bread, filling gaps as needed. Top with remaining meat and/or veggies, scallions and cheese. Slowly pour remaining egg mixture over bread.
Let stand at least 15 minutes (cover and weigh down with a pot) or overnight.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake until custard is just set, about 55-60 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil for a few minutes until top of casserole has a spotty brown appearance. Watch the casserole so it doesn't burn.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.