I love family traditions. On Christmas morning, my mom always bakes a delicious, warm and cheesy breakfast casserole which our family always enjoys. This Spring, my husband and I are hosting my family for Easter and I am planning to make this same family-loved breakfast casserole. This is a perfect recipe for Easter as you can make it the night before, place it in the refrigerator overnight and then slide it in the oven while the kids are looking for eggs after church in the morning. The pre-prep leads to less work on Easter morning, less stress and more time for family memories!
While I love our traditional breakfast casserole, I have decided to put my own twist on the recipe and pump up the nutrition even more. First, I decided to swap whole-wheat bread/baguette for the white baguette to provide more whole grains and fiber. This boost in fiber will help to keep us full and get us closer to the recommended 25 grams of fiber a day. Instead of using egg substitute, I am using whole eggs. The eggs, milk and cheese are great sources of protein. In fact, one 8-ounce cup of milk provides 8 grams of protein in addition to bone-building calcium! Milk and eggs are also two of the only food sources of vitamin D - a vitamin that has received a lot of attention recently for its health benefits. Check out the abundance of nutrients your body receives just by including milk in meals and snacks: http://southeastdairy.org/health-benefits-of-dairy/.
Just the basic ingredients in this casserole are nutrient-rich, but I want to boost the nutrition a step more. I plan to add antioxidant-rich veggies. With this, I am going to make a Breakfast Casserole Bar and offer a variety of colorful toppings including chopped spinach, tomatoes and avocado. These are bursting with additional flavor and nutrition. In fact, tomatoes provide vitamin C and potassium, spinach contains fiber and vitamin K and avocados offer heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Add your own twist and include the toppings your family loves.
To compliment the casserole, simply add a fruit salad and a glass of milk and you have an award-winning meal. This casserole will become a beloved family favorite!
½ pound Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage (recipe below)
3 T. chopped green onions
3 cups cubed whole-wheat bread or baguette
1 cup 2% milk shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/3 cup fat free milk
3 whole large eggs
1 tsp. prepared mustard
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage
½ tsp. dried sage
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Pinch dried marjoram
½ pound 93% lean ground turkey
For the Breakfast Sausage, mix the sage, black pepper, red pepper flakes and marjoram together in a small bowl. Cook the ground turkey over medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly and browned. Drain. Mix in the spice mixture.
Stir in the green onions and cook 2 minutes more. Set aside.
Place bread cubes in an 8-inch square baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Layer sausage mixture and cheese over bread.
Combine milk and remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour mixture over sausage and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake covered casserole for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with a fresh fruit salad and a glass of lowfat milk.
Make it a Breakfast Casserole Bar and provide toppings such as:
Chopped green pepper
Chopped green onion
Chopped yellow onion
Cut, roasted asparagus
Approximate nutrition information per serving (does not include the toppings, fruit salad or glass of milk): 215 calories, 10g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 15g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 354mg sodium, 148mg cholesterol, 19g protein.
Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage recipe is adapted from allrecipes.com.
Blog sponsored by: Dairy Alliance.