Make Ahead Breakfast

Whether hosting guests, shuttling a young family to their many activities, or preparing for a special holiday event, mornings can get very hectic. When others are placing demands on your time, but you still need or want to deliver a hearty breakfast, plan ahead and start the night before.

Hosting a group of professionals for an early morning meeting meant serving breakfast, but I didn’t want to get up an extra two hours early to make it happen. So, this recipe started from an overnight casserole which I sourced from The Chunky Chef. Because I wanted to also pair my eggs with fresh huckleberry scones, I didn’t want my eggs to also be full of bread. I considered what I might serve as individual dishes in a breakfast buffet and immediately had confidence I could adapt the recipe to include hashbrowns instead.

Loaded Breakfast Casserole

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breakfast casserole, holiday, make ahead


  • 1 lb bulk breakfast sausage
  • 8-10 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 2/3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground dry mustard
  • 1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tbsp fresh minced parsley)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 16 oz frozen hash browns
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or raclette cheese
  • minced fresh parsley for garnish
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish


  • In a large skillet, brown and crumble sausage until browed. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, dry mustard, parsley, pepper and paprika.
  • Add hashbrowns to a greased 3 quart baking dish. Top with crumbled sausage, bacon and 3/4 of the combined cheese. Pour egg custard over the top, using a spoon to gently push any potatoes down into the custard. Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheeses.
  • Cover pan with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove from refrigerator, uncover, and let sit at room temperature while oven preheats to 350°F. Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes, until firm and lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes. Serve hot, topped with garnishes.

Whenever making a baked egg dish with cheese, try to remember that cheese has oil in it. If you don’t let your eggs rest at the end of baking, you can be falsely convinced the eggs are not done because there is too much “liquid” standing. Another reason your casserole may have excess water could be from the vegetables in your dish. This can be alleviated by sautéing vegetables before putting them in the casserole. Since this is an overnight recipe, that may or may not be a good choice for your timeline. Use a thermometer and if it reaches 160°, the dish is done. Does the egg mixture bounce when touched, or does it sink? If it bounces, the eggs are done and your dish needs to rest so the oils can settle a bit. Be careful, overbaking your eggs can make them rubbery.

Serve your breakfast casserole with fresh fruit and biscuits, scones or cinnamon rolls, and then sit down and enjoy it yourself. You’ll be so glad you took a little bit of time the night before so you can enjoy this beautiful morning with your family and/or guests.

Blessings to you!

Turkey Charctuerie

Turkey charcuterie pairs really well with mild, creamy cheeses. For this board I went with a brie and mild gouda. The pepperoni turkey salami has a nice bite to it and the bright green grapes are great palate cleansers between bites.



*Note: you can adjust the amounts based on how many people you are serving and the size of your board. This board is designed for 4-8 people, depending on the other items on the menu.

1 turkey sausage ring (cured)
8” turkey kielbasa coil
20 slices pepperoni turkey salami
15 slices roasted turkey breast
4 turkey pepperoni sticks
4 pieces turkey jerky
1 wedge mild gouda cheese
1 small wheel brie cheese
½ cup beet hummus
1 sleeve plain soda crackers
1 large cluster green grapes
25 blueberries
Fresh greens (i.e. parsley, herbs) for garnish


1. For this cheeseboard I chose to line a round rimmed board with parchment. You could place all the components directly on a wooden cheese board of any shape.

2. Start with the largest items first, the cheese, the dish of hummus and the grapes. For the gouda, use a sharp knife and cut the cheese away from the rind, keeping the rind in tact. Dice into bite size pieces and then place it back into the rind.

3. Turkey Charcuterie: slice the turkey sausage ring and coil into coins and place in various spots on the board; fold the salami and turkey breast in half and half again, creating a “rose” like appearance & tuck it into various spots on the board; slice the jerky and pepperoni into thin strips and angle off the board in a couple different spots.

4. Fill in any holes with crackers and garnish with blueberries on a stick and fresh herbs, such as flat leaf parsley.

Please share your charcuterie pairings and pics with us. We love collaborating on these very creative menus!


Copyright © 2021 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.

Pumpkin Jam

Fall is all about the pumpkin spice, whether it’s a pumpkin spiced latte or the warm scent of a pumpkin spiced candle! What is your pumpkin jam?

Ours is quite literally a pumpkin jam by David Lebovitz. Pumpkin makes a curiously delicious jam, vibrantly colored and flavored with a plump vanilla bean. Putting a jar of this on your fall breakfast table is sure to brighten up the season for you!

Pumpkin Jam
Pumpkin Jam
by David Lebovitz

Make sure you use a roasting or sugar pumpkin for this jam. Other types of pumpkins, such as those meant for carving, have a higher water content and will not cook up the same. (Steaming the pumpkin is an idea inspired by the Soframiz cookbook.) This recipe makes one large jar, or two smaller ones. You can scale up the recipe to make more if you wish.

You don’t need a thermometer to make this jam; you can tell visually when it’s done. And since it makes a small batch, you’ll likely eat it quickly. But it will keep for at least a month or so in the refrigerator. If you do use a thermometer, jams often jell at around 220ºF (104ºC) however this one was ready when the thermometer reached 200ºF (93ºC). Still, for this jam, it’s easy to see when it’s ready as it’ll visibly thicken, so a thermometer isn’t necessary.

2 pounds (900g) baking pumpkin, split, seeds removed, and cut into 5-inch (12cm) pieces

1 1/3 cups (265g) sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

pinch of salt

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise


1. Place the pumpkin pieces in a steamer basket in a pot. Add water to the pot so it reaches to the bottom of the steamer basket and steam the pumpkin pieces until completely cooked through; a paring knife will pierce the flesh easily and it will take about 30 minutes. During the steaming, add more water to the pot if necessary.

2. When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh from the skin and puree it in a food processor or immersion blender, or pass it through a food mill or potato ricer. You should have about 2 cups (535g) of puree.

3. Put the puree in a heavy-duty saucepan along with the sugar, orange and lemon juice, and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with a small knife and add them to the pot, along with the bean.

4. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking the pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly to prevent the puree from burning. Because the puree is thick, it’ll tend to splatter. You may wish to wear an oven mitt while stirring.

5. When the jam mixture visibly thickens and it holds its shape in a jelly-like mound when you heap it up onto itself, it’s done. It will take about ten minutes. Scrape the mixture into a clean jar. The jam is best served at room temperature. It can be refrigerated for at least one month.

We hope you’ll let us know how your jam turns out!!

Recently, I was also recommended to source a pumpkin seed oil for our shop. Does anyone have any recommendations? It is perfect to serve as a basic salad dressing – no vinegar needed for superb flavor.

Italian Pressed Sandwich

It’s Homecoming Weekend! If you’re looking for a sandwich option that is as flavorful as the tailgate is energizing, this is one for the menu.

Layer sliced deli meats such as soppressata or capocollo and provolone cheese for an Italian-American pressed sandwich with no cooking required! We also offer an option for a yummy, grilled sandwich if you have access to a skillet or a sandwich press.

Italian Pressed Sandwich

Course: Main Course
Keyword: sandwich


  • 1 loaf rustic boule (1 pound, sliced horizontally)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbls mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • course salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced turkey
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced provolone
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced capocollo or soppressata
  • 1 bunch watercress, thick stems removed, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • Potato chips and sliced fruit, such as figs, for serving alongside


  • Remove insides of bread halves; reserve for another use. Stir together mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice, and capers in a bowl; season with salt and pepper. Divide mixture evenly between top and bottom bread halves. Layer half of turkey, cheese, and capocollo on bottom, then repeat layering with remaining meats and cheese. Pack watercress into top half; layer with tomato slices and season with salt and pepper.
  • Close sandwich. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then foil. Place a heavy skillet on top; press down to flatten sandwich slightly. Add several heavy canned goods to top of skillet. Let sit at least 45 minutes or, in refrigerator, up to 12 hours before unwrapping, slicing into wedges, and serving with chips and fruit.
  • OR…. Make it into a Grilled Italian Sandwich. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Spread mayonnaise on the other before layering the sandwich as noted above. Grill in a stovetop skillet over medium to medium-low heat until golden brown on each. If you don't have a sandwich press grill, you can still get a pressed sandwich by using a cast iron pan to press for 2-3 minutes while the cheese melts. We also recommend adding smashed avocado for extra flavor.

Homestyle Banana Pudding

Looking for a scratch made banana pudding recipe? We have a favorite…

Why create your own when the perfect recipe already exists? Thank you Paula Deen!


Course: Dessert
Servings: 8
Author: Cooking with Paula Deen


  • 1 cup + 3 T sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups vanilla wafer cookies
  • 4 bananas, cut into 1/4 inch slices


  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolks. Whisk milk mixture into sugar mixture until smooth. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture is very thick. Remove from heat, and whisk in butter and vanilla.
  • In a 2½-quart baking dish, layer half of vanilla wafers, half of sliced bananas, and half of custard. Repeat layers.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a mixer at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue onto custard.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Tina’s Favorite Tuna Melt

This is a recipe intended to highlight some our local favorite partners and while substitutions might be simple, for the best flavor, please step out and support these fabulous businesses: Ridgeline Spice Co & Furrow and Fly. In case you hadn’t heard, La Cuisine, our sister store also stocks the Ridgeline Spice products!

Tuna Melt

Reminiscent of a simple meal from my childhood, I was low on time (or maybe it was energy), yet wanted a tasty meal at home rather than taking the time to go out. Let’s be honest, Furrow & Fly English muffins are the best there is and I had a spare package in the freezer! To increase the nutritional value, I designed this recipe with more veggies than a typical creamed tuna might have. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do…

Tuna Melt

Servings: 4
Author: Tina Cusker


  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 lg. can tuna, well drained
  • 1 cup frozen sweet peas
  • 1 tsp Sweet Bell Pepper Ridgeline Spice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 Furrow & Fly English muffins
  • 4 Cheese slices, provolone or swiss


  • Over medium heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onion and mushrooms, saute until tender.
  • Whisk in flour. When combined, slowly whisk in milk.
  • Lightly boil until thickened.
  • Add tuna, peas and spices. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Toast English muffins. Top muffins with a cheese slice when hot. If you want the cheese melted further, slip into a hot oven for 2-3 minutes.
  • Using a ladel, top the English muffins with the creamy tuna. Serve alongside a generous green salad.

Copyright © 2021 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.