I am a firm believer in two things when it comes to the holidays. First, that it is never too early to start planning for Christmas. Second, it is never too early to get into the Christmas spirit. It has started to snow overnight here in Montana and that is all the prompting I need to start listening to Christmas music and dreaming of what to create in the kitchen.
The great thing about being an adult is you can be just about as quirky as you want when it comes to holiday planning. Do you want to put your Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving? By all means, go for it. Nothing is holding you back, except perhaps confused family members.
One tradition that I have been enjoying is preparing a rich, comforting casserole before bed, with the help of my kiddos, then baking it up the next morning. It is a tradition that is special to me because I know it is fleeting – my kids wont always be this little, they wont always want to help mom in the kitchen. My eight year old son especially loves to help me in the kitchen. I just don’t want them to keep growing up, but alas. Even when they are older and prefer to let me make it on my own, I want to carry on this tradition and hope that they remember it far down the line.
This is truly the heart of why I love the Christmas season so much, it really brings out the appreciation of family and the special traditions that just make you feel warm inside. For our family, we enjoy a nice breakfast casserole, a few pans of orange cinnamon rolls, orange juice and coffee. The casserole can bake while the family opens up stockings and presents, giving you a nice break to just enjoy the chaos that is Christmas morning. Enjoy!
Notes: This recipe is prepared the night before. You will need an extra large mixing bowl for preparing this recipe. The flavor of sausage is variable. I used mild breakfast sausage, but you may prefer spicy, maple or sage. Use whatever your favorite flavor is that you think would work well.
Makes a 9×13″ pan, about 15 servingsIngredients:
- 10 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2/3 cup milk, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 20 slices white bread, torn into small pieces
- 1 lb. (2 cups) ground pork breakfast sausage, browned and drained (I used mild)
- 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 10 ounce can cream of mushroom soup
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk, salt and pepper. Switch to a large spoon or rubber spatula and add in the bread pieces, stirring gently to thoroughly coat with the egg and milk mixture. Add in the cooked sausage and shredded cheddar cheese. Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate overnight.
- The next morning, spray a 9×13″ baking dish with cooking spray, alternatively you can butter the dish.Transfer the prepared mixture into the baking dish and spread it evenly in the pan. In a mixing bowl, combine 2/3 cup milk and can of cream of mushroom soup, stirring well. Spoon over the top evenly.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350-f degrees for 90 minutes, or until set. Note: Since this bakes for such a long time, be mindful to not burn the bottom. My high altitude adjustments were to bake at 340-f as things tend to burn in my oven. The bottom did get browned, but not burnt.