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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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!
Tina


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

Instructions:

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.


Sausage & Egg Bake

I was looking to clean up some items in the fridge and freezer when my husband suggested an egg bake for breakfast. We had 1/2 bag of hashbrowns that needed eating in the freezer and some left over sausage from a round of pigs in blankets. So, I took stock of the veggies on hand and put together the following recipe in time for breakfast. It’s one thing I love about cooking breakfast – it’s so quick and easy! Enjoy…

Sausage & Egg Bake

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 4
Author: Tina Cusker

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green or orange pepper, chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 large handfuls spinach
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 4-5 sausage links, cooked & chopped
  • 3 cups frozen hashbrowns
  • 5 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 11×7 pan with non-stick spray.
  • Whisk together eggs and milk. Set aside.
  • In a small skillet, saute onion and green pepper in olive oil until softened. Mix in chopped sausage and spinach, cooking until spinach is wilted. Add tomators, salt & pepper.
  • Layer hashbrowns in the baking dish. Top with the vegetables. Pour eggs over the top. Add cheese over all before sprinkling paprika.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until eggs are done. Serve with muffins or toast.

Copyright © 2020 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.


Autumn Apple Harvest

For over two weeks I have been slicing and peeling apples by the dozens thanks to some very generous colleagues with a bounty to share. I’ve already made 5 pies, 3 dozen apple cinnamon muffins, apple cake, apple onion & yellow squash gratin, AND two dozen caramel apple cinnamon rolls. What’s next on the menu?

You’ll be the first to know when I finally decide… and hopefully I’ll get them finished before the pears and plums show up.

Read More

A Skillet Breakfast

A trip to the grocery store is definitely in order, but it is time for Sunday morning breakfast and I feel inspired to be a bit more creative today. I could have settled for some quick eggs and called it good, but I do have some additional ingredients that can be put to use, so I decide on something a bit more stylish.

First of all, I dig out a skillet. I chose one of my newer cast iron skillets thinking that for what I have in mind, it is skillet worthy. I’m going to make a potato bottom egg frittata, or something like that, packed with proteins, a bit of carbs, and some extra flavors to make it pop.

 

Hash Brown & Egg Skillet Breakfast
serves 4

olive oil, EVOO or your favorite infused blend
1/4 onion, diced
1/3 package of bulk sausage, browned and drained
1/3 package of frozen, diced hash browns
4 eggs, whisked with 1/8 cup of milk
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
sprinkles of fresh herbs (choose from thyme, rosemary, basil, and/or parsley)

Heat the skillet over medium heat with a a tablespoon or two of olive oil.  (I used caramelized garlic olive oil)  Saute the onion in the oil until tender and slightly browned, while in a separate skillet, browning the sausage. Drain the sausage on a paper towel until ready for use. Read More