Friday, May 31, 2013

Foodie Friday: a Fabulous Brunch Menu

That's right, a Foodie Friday post - back from the dead!

Here's the deal: I am not a food blogger. Like, at ALL. Here's why:
  • I'm a terrible photographer
  • I'm a forgetful photographer
  • I don't really "create" my own recipes (but I do modify and add to recipes a lot)
As a fervent Pinterest addict and blog-reader, though, I have noticed that while it helps to not be like me in regards to the first two bullets, the third isn't really an issue. If anything, most recipes I see on blogs are modifications of other recipes found on the internet (and some shouldn't even be called recipes, if I'm being really blunt).

So while I will never call myself a food blogger, or this a food blog, I have made some recipes lately that are quite tasty. They're modifications of other recipes, so I'll just include what I changed or any changes to the preparation methods were made along with the original recipe.

The week before Memorial Day our family had two different college graduations! One had a big party that was hosted by the graduate's partner, and the second was a small family brunch hosted by me! I was really excited to celebrate our family graduate AND make my first brunch for people other than myself! 

The Hubs is not a huge fan of most breakfast foods, especially eggs. I'm not a huge breakfast person, but I like savory breakfast foods like bacon, sausage, and EGGS. Yum. Since it's usually just The Hubs and I, though, I'll usually make myself a nice breakfast and he just waits until lunch. *shrug* So this was exciting! Not only did I get to do something nice for my graduating sister-in-law, but I also got to try out a recipe I've been wanting to do but couldn't thanks to The Hubs' egg ban. 

My cousin made this recipe when I was visiting IL in November, and it was DELICIOUS. She actually made two batches; one with spinach, one without, and I preferred the one with spinach. Since The Hubs' sister and mom aren't as picky as he is, I figured this would be the best option for a main dish! Bonus: It can be made the night before! 

I still needed to fill out the meal with stuff The Hubs WOULD eat, and I feel a good brunch has something sweet and fresh fruit also. Here's the final menu I came up with!
  • Egg Casserole
  • Cinnamon Rolls (pre-made)
  • Bacon
  • Waffle-iron Hashbrowns
  • Strawberries
  • MIMOSAS! It's a celebration, after all.
 All right, so here's the recipe as I made it, based on Jimmy Dean's Easy Egg Casserole.

The casserole pre-baking. I forgot to take a picture post-baking. This is a perfect example of WHY I'M NOT A FOOD BLOGGER.
  • 1 lb. turkey breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese block, grated
  • 1 loaf French bread, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  •  1/4 tsp black pepper (or 10 grinds of a pepper mill)
  • about 2 cups baby spinach
  1. Prep the ingredients: Brown the sausage and drain on paper towels, grate the cheese, cube the bread. 
  2. In a BIG bowl (seriously: HUGE), combine the eggs, milk, and black pepper by whisking the eggs to break up the yolks into the whites, then to mix the eggs with the milk and pepper. 
  3. Gently stir in the bread cubes into the egg mixture, then mix in the cooked sausage, spinach, and about 3/4ths of the cheese. (I didn't use a big enough bowl, so I had to do this in two stages and mix it up in the casserole dish. KIND OF A PAIN. Seriously, you want the big-ol' KitchenAid 6-quart mixer bowl size. I used the little 3-quart size. Sheesh.) 
  4. Spray 13"x9" pan with non-stick cooking spray, then pour in the casserole. At this point, I put plastic wrap on it and popped it in the fridge! Then I went and watched my sister-in-law graduate with her B.S.!
  5. To bake it, cook it at 350 degrees F for about 55 minutes if it's from the fridge (45 if it's not), or until a knife comes out clean (watch out for sticking the knife in a cheesy section - it's misleading!). The original recipe called for it to sit for 10 minutes but, uh, we couldn't wait that long. 
How to prepare it so all the food finishes at around the same time:

Once the casserole was in the oven, I busted out the Mimosa ingredients so they could start celebrating while they waited for the food! I also rinsed and hulled the strawberries so they could nibble while the food was cooking. Around half-time in the baking of the casserole, I baked the bacon (but since it's at a lower temperature than the link suggests, I baked it for about 10 minutes longer). Once the casserole needed to sit, I threw in the cinnamon rolls to bake and started the waffle-iron hashbrowns. (I follow the basic directions in the link, except I used EVOO and I also mixed in garlic powder and onion powder!) The hashbrowns took a little longer than I planned because I forgot how long the iron takes, haha. So the hashbrowns were given out as they were finished.

Everything worked out well enough, though: Mom- and Sis-in-Law both loved the casserole, The Hubs got bacon and hashbrowns AND cinnamon rolls to fill him up, and we all had a nice and relaxing brunch to celebrate the sister-in-law's big accomplishment! She was happy, and that's all I could ask for. :)

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