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Casserole takes stress out of holiday breakfasts

This dish can be prepared as far ahead as four days and refrigerated until ready to cook. Just take the dish out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes to allow it to come to room temperature before placing in the oven.

Classic Breakfast Casserole

1 lb. bulk sausage

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups uncooked, quick-cooking grits

½ cup butter, melted

2 (8 oz.) blocks Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup milk

4 large eggs, beaten

Salt and Pepper to taste

Crumble and brown sausage in a skillet over medium high heat until no pink remains. Drain on paper towels. Bring salt and 4 ½ cups water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Once the water boils, whisk in the grits and return to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for five minutes or until thickened whisking occasionally to keep grits from clumping. Remove from heat  and stir in cheese and butter stirring until well combined. Stir in the milk, salt and pepper and mix well. Add in the sausage and stir to combine. Pour mixture into a 9×13 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour or until golden brown and cooked through.

Note: You can certainly add in a little garlic powder or sauted onions to this dish if you like them. Serve with toast and jelly to make a complete holiday breakfast.

If you’re thinking that a casserole is the way to go for your family, this next recipe is also a winner. Seriously, how can you go wrong with gravy for breakfast?

Sausage Gravy Casserole

1 lb. bulk sausage

2 cups milk

½ cup flour

2 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

4 ½ cups biscuit mix

1 ½ cup milk

In a large skillet, crumble and cook the sausage until done. Drain on paper towels. Pour off the grease from the skillet and add in the milk, flour, salt and pepper. Heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook until the mixture becomes thickened. Add in the sausage and stir to combine. Remove from heat and pour into a two-quart baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix (Bisquick works best) and the 1 1/3 cup milk. Mix until a soft dough forms and divide the dough into eight large balls. Slightly flatten each ball and arrange the biscuits over the gravy mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake (or you can bake right away if serving immediately). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, uncovered.

Note: the biscuit balls may sink when added to the gravy, but they will rise as they bake.

This next recipe is an easy one that is fun to make and is delicious in the end. The recipe calls for ham in this quick dish, but you can substitute with bacon if you prefer. I do like bacon better than ham so that’s how I’ve done this in the past. The good part of this recipe is that using a pre-made, frozen pie crust is perfect for this quiche. And if you whip up the filling the night before, it practically makes itself. In just 45 minutes, you’ll have a rich, satisfying dish on the table for a hungry family.

Ham and Cheese Quiche

1 tbsp. butter

½ yellow onion, chopped

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup half-and-half

1 ½ cups diced ham

1 cup shredded swiss cheese

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 deep-dish frozen pie crust.

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter in a small skillet and cook until soft. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half and salt and pepper. Stir in the ham and cheeses until combined. (Maybe plan on keeping a small bit of the cheese out of the mixture to put on the top of the dish.) Stir in the cooked onion and pour filling into pie crust. Place onto a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until set. Serve warm or chilled.

Note: This recipe is great served with a little dollop of sour cream on top. Yum. If you do plan to bake this dish ahead of time, it is still good chilled or you can simple give it a quick warm-up before enjoying.

If your family prefers something a little on the sweet side for breakfast, this easy, make-ahead French toast casserole may be just what you’re looking for in a Christmas morning dish (or any time of the year).

Easy French Toast Casserole

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup butter

1 loaf crusty French bread, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups milk

6 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 pinch cinnamon or to taste

1 tbsp. brown sugar, as needed

Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Stir the cup of brown sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until butter melts and sugar is dissolved. Pour into prepared baking dish and spread the bread pieces over top to cover. In a medium bowl, beat the milk, eggs and vanilla together until well mixed. Pour mixture over bread making sure to move the bread so that it is absorbing the milk mixture. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (or at least eight hours). Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove plastic wrap from the dish and sprinkle with brown sugar over the top. Bake until browned and bubbling or about 30 minutes.

Enjoy your holidays!