I love to cook with my mom. Whenever we spend time together, half of it is spent in the kitchen. We were cooking together this past weekend and she said, “Isn’t it fun to cook with other people?”
I said yes almost without thinking, but then after taking a moment to think about it, I realized that my mom is one of the only people who I truly enjoy cooking with.
I can be a bit of a control freak, but with my mom that is never an issue. We have similar styles, we communicate well, and we can easily divide tasks without even a discussion. We love choosing recipes together, modifying them to fit our tastes, shopping for the best ingredients, and then preparing the meals for our family. We also really trust each other in the kitchen. I’ve cooked with other people and I feel the urge to look over their shoulder frequently. You know–make sure they aren’t adding the wrong spice, that they are stirring enough, or that they aren’t contaminating food.
Yeah, I’m that girl.
I also learned most of what I know about cooking from my mom, which likely contributes to the similar styles. We don’t share the exact same taste for everything though. She likes curries, I don’t. I have a bigger sweet tooth. She likes fish more than I do. I eat more beef than she does. However, we both share a passionate love of cooking and baking.
Eventually I’ll get around to posting what we created this weekend. In the meantime, this recipe is one that my mom always made on Christmas morning/afternoon for brunch. We used to do a big extended family gathering on Christmas Eve and then a smaller, more low-key brunch on Christmas day. Traditions have changed a bit as our families have grown, but this casserole will always bring back great memories of Christmas and tastes delicious no matter what time of year it is.
I like to make a big pan of it in the evening and then hubs and I eat it for breakfast during the week. It tastes great reheated and you can’t beat a yummy hot casserole that just needs to be warmed up.
Breakfast Casserole with Sausage and Spinach
2.5 cups milk
8 slices white bread, cut into cubes, almost stale bread is best! (Note: In the photo, it is made with a combination of white and wheat bread.)
1 pound breakfast sausage
a few good handfuls of baby spinach (maybe 4 cups loosely packed–no need to be exact)
1.5 tsp dry mustard
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (I like sharp)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Brown sausage in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and drain well. Place on the bottom of a large glass pan (9×13 or larger).
3. Wilt spinach in the same pan over medium heat, tossing occasionally. If you cover it, it will happen faster. Spread spinach (removed any liquid that has appeared in the pan) over the sausage layer.
4. Place bread on top of spinach.
5. In a large bowl beat eggs, milk, salt, pepper and dried mustard together. Pour over bread and sausage. Press bread down a little if needed so that it is all moistened by the egg mixture.
6. Sprinkle cheese over the top.
7. Bake for 45 minutes (I usually stick a knife in it to see if the egg is cooked and not runny), and let stand for a few minutes before serving. May be refrigerated overnight before baking (this may increase baking time slightly).
Note: You can substitute pretty much anything for the vegetables and meat. This is simple to make vegetarian, just leave out the meat! Here are some great combinations:
- Sausage and Mushroom
- Ham and Broccoli (I love this combo)
- Spinach, Red Peppers & Feta (I haven’t tried this–I just thought of it and now I really want to make it!)
Verdict: One of my favorite breakfast foods.
Husband’s take: He loves, loves, loves it when I make this and he can eat it before work. Sometimes I’ll make it as a dinner too, but he prefers breakfast for breakfast (not me–I love breakfast for dinner!).
Changes I would make: No changes other than experimenting with different meats and veggies.
Difficulty: So easy!