Sausage Breakfast Casserole


Sausage CasseroleSausage and cheese. Cayenne pepper and chili powder. Does it get any better? This morning’s contribution to the United Methodist Men’s breakfast was my now-famous sausage casserole. This version is based on someone else’s adaptation of Food Network’s version of Trisha Yearwood’s recipe. For all I know, it could be her grandmother’s. Beats me. All I know is that it was easy to make, tasted great, and didn’t last long this morning.

Perfect for an early morning breakfast when you need to feed a group of 12 adults (or 6 teenagers.) And you assemble it the day before, meaning all you need to do in the morning is put it in the oven and wait!

Prep time: about 30 minutes.    Baking time: 1 hour.  Serves 12; fewer if people are really hungry.


Bread – I used white wheat. How much do you need? If you stack the slices, you will need a tower about 6-8 inches tall. While you have it stacked up, Trim off the crust. This is optional, but I did it.

Bulk sausage – those big ol’ tubes that you cut the end off and squeeze to get the meat out. At least 1 pound. I used 1.5 pounds today. Spicy, mild, sage-flavored – your choice. I used sage.

Cayenne Pepper & Chili Powder – 1 Tablespoon each.

Cheddar cheese – 12 ounces, shredded. You will need to divide this up: one third /  two thirds. It doesn’t need to be exact. Big pile / small pile works, too.

Half & Half – or milk. 2 cups will be fine. If you use milk, try to use whole milk. What? You’re worried about the fat content of the milk? With the cheese and sausage in this recipe, I think we’ve moved past counting calories, people. Enjoy the flavor and start the diet tomorrow!

Eggs – 6 of them. See? How much more damage can using half and half or whole milk do? Go for it.


The night before…

Spray a 9×13 inch casserole pan with cooking spray, or grease it up with some butter.

Cut the bread into bite-sized cubes and evenly distribute them in the casserole pan.

While the bread is drying a bit in the pan, cook the sausage until fully done. Make sure you “crumble” the sausage while it is frying. You want to end up with a pan of sausage bits, not a giant hunk.

Sprinkle the cayenne pepper and chili powder evenly on the bread. Top with one third of your shredded cheddar cheese.

Using a slotted spoon put the cooked sausage on top of the seasoned bread cubes. Top with the remainder of the cheese.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then whisk in the half and half. Pour this mixture over the entire pan of bread, meat and cheese.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Go watch some television. Have a glass of wine, especially if you are hosting a group of teenagers.

The next morning

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Did you check the oven to see if anything was inside first? I won’t tell you that story, but I thought now would be good time to mention it.

Put the covered casserole pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour. When the cheese is melted and the edges of the pan look like they may be starting to brown, the casserole is done.

Take the casserole out of the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. It’s plenty hot and will still be in ten minutes. This will give everything inside a chance to reacquaint. More wine, perhaps? Maybe not. Coffee might be a better choice at this point.

Pairs well with fried bacon and scrapple.

As Chef Rudolf would say “Prost, my friend. Happy eating!”


Breakfast Frittata with Oven Roasted Potatoes


Tourist season is starting here on the Eastern Shore.  It’s not really beach weather yet, but I have noticed more and more fishing boats floating around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  That means many of the vacation rental houses around town are inhabited by small groups of guys living on frozen pizza and trips to the only McDonald’s within 40 miles.

Guys – we can do better.

The mornings can be quite chilly here on The Shore. A hot breakfast frittata can do wonders for the soul. Shoving off before sunrise? That’s okay – make it the night before and warm it up before you leave the house. Beats the heck out of “value meal number two” or a convenience store coffee and Danish.

Put on your ball caps chef hats – here we go!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

This dish starts out as oven roasted potatoes. When completed, half of the potatoes are reserved as a side dish, the other half becomes the foundation of the breakfast frittata!

Oven Roasted Potatoes, serves 8 alone or 4 when made as a side for the frittata.

9 x 13 inch glass baking dish

3  Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 medium Vidalia onion, peeled and diced

2 Tablespoons smoked paprika

1 Tablespoon cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Breakfast Frittata, serves 4

1 oven-safe, glass pie plate, 9.5 inch diameter

12 oz. chicken sausage ( I use Johnsonville’s fully cooked, chipotle Monterrey Jack version) sliced into 1/4 inch coins. Bonus – no MSG, either!

4 eggs

1/8 cup milk

What you need to do:

For the oven roasted potatoes, place the diced potatoes and onions in the baking dish. Add the remaining ingredients, then gently mix until all of the potatoes are lightly coated with oil.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Stir, recover, then bake for another 30 minutes.

Take potatoes out of the oven, set aside for the moment. Do not turn off the oven yet.


For the breakfast frittata, place the sausage coins into the pie plate and cover with a paper towel. Heat in a microwave oven for 2 minutes or in the already preheated oven (without the paper towel,) for about 10 minutes.

Once the sausage has been warmed, add half of the oven roasted potatoes. Gently mix the two ingredients.

In a separate bowl, add the milk to the eggs and lightly whisk with a fork, as if you were going to make scrambled eggs. Pour the egg mixture on top of the potatoes and sausage, gently mixing until the egg has coated all of the potatoes and sausage.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Get the plates out – you are ready to eat a hearty breakfast!

Now, some of you may not want to have a potato-based frittata with a side of potatoes. Fair enough. There are options:

  1. Double the sausage and eggs and make one big batch. This is a good idea if you need more than 4 servings. Heck you could just use the 9 x 13 baking dish instead of a smaller pie plate.
  2. Make two frittatas – one of them with the sausage and another substituting 2 cups of chopped broccoli florets and 1 cup chopped red bell pepper. Great concept if you have vegetarians in the crowd.
  3. Make two frittatas – one of them with the sausage and another substituting 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. I mean, really – you can’t go wrong with cheese, can you?

Any way you make it – this frittata hits the spot on a cold or rainy day. And good luck with the fishing!

Stuffed Bell Peppers for Two


So,  you want to impress your date with some quality, home-cooking, but you normally judge a restaurant by the speed of its’ drive-thru? Well, not to worry, this recipe has what it takes to impress everyone, except maybe vegetarians (but more for you all later in the post!) Here’s the dish on this dish:

–  It has ingredients you either already have, or can easily get for not much money.

–  No special culinary skill required.

–  It looks and tastes awesome!

This actually is a derivation from a recipe from another great food blog, Simple Speedy Snacks.  She posted a tasty recipe for stuffed courgettes (zucchini) and I just subbed in the green bell peppers. Had to – the store was totally courgette-less. Oh, yes. For vegetarians, SSS has vegetable-stuffed courgette info on the same post.

My recipe serves two.   Three’s a crowd, remember?


2 good sized bell peppers. Try to use symmetrical ones with large internal cavities.

8 oz. ground sausage. I used regular pork sausage, but chorizo, beef or lamb would work, too.

4 oz. diced tomatoes. Remeber the can in the back of your pantry? The one you bought for that chili recipe you never made? Yeah, use that one! Just strain it first.

4 oz. crumbled Feta cheese.

That’s it. See?  Easy Peasy!!

Here’s what you do:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Cook your sausage in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Once fully cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a bowl, draining as much excess grease back into the pan as you do this.

Cut the lid off your bell peppers, but don’t throw them away.

Carefully remove the seed pod. Trim the white pulp, too, but please – do not cut a hole in the bell itself. You don’t want anything to leak!

Now the good part – the “fill up.”

Using a large spoon for the sausage and Feta, and a smaller spoon for the diced tomatoes, start layering the cheese, sausage and tomato into the hollowed out bell pepper as follows:

Cheese (2 spoonfulls)

Sausage (2)

Tomatoe (1)

Repeat until the pepper is full. Now matter where you are in the list, make Feta your topmost layer.

Put the stuffed peppers in a casserole dish or pan and recover with the lids you saved. You did save them, didn’t you? If not, that’s okay, but they do help the cooking process.

Add a half cup of water to the casserole dish, then cover with either the appropriate glass lid or aluminum foil. Steam the peppers in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.

Uncover, check to make sure there is still a little water left in the dish (add a little bit if needed) then continue steaming, uncovered, for 20 more minutes.

Check the peppers to see if the skin has started to wrinkle. That’s the sign that the pepper is tender enough for dinner!

Plate them up and enjoy dinner! This works awesome with a side of cous cous and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Now as for any leftover cooked sausage or tomato? They make a great filler for an omelet. Top with a little Feta and some chopped spinach. I’m hungry just thinking about it!

Happy eating! And good luck on that date!