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Egg casserole is a classic dish for Sunday brunch, holiday breakfasts for large families, and even an entrée for "breakfast for dinner." Though the basic ingredients in each egg casserole are the same, there are many versions, ensuring that there is a flavor combination for almost every palate. These casseroles may contain just three or four ingredients, or a slew of herbs and vegetables. They can also include meat or be prepared vegetarian style. Vegans may use egg substitute to tailor these casseroles to their needs.
The simplest egg casseroles contain only three ingredients: cheese, bread, and eggs. The cook generally tears up his or her favorite kind of bread into coin-sized pieces and places them in a lightly greased baking dish. There is no need to press down the pieces; they should sit lightly in the pan and fill it completely. Next, the cook whips together anywhere from six to 12 eggs into a frothy, yellow mixture. A small casserole requires only six eggs, while a casserole for a large family may require 12.
Once whipped, the eggs are poured over the bread and the egg casserole is topped with shredded cheese. The casserole goes into the oven until the eggs are set and the cheese is melted and bubbly. This very simple version is tasty on its own, but may also be a blank canvas for some cooks. Even this easy recipe may be spruced up a bit by adding tarragon, garlic, onion powder, and paprika to the eggs before baking.
The second type of egg casserole almost invariably includes meat and usually sautéed onions. Bacon, sausage, ham, and even sliced scrapple are fried together with onions and mixed into the bread in the casserole dish. The eggs and cheese are again added last, and the egg casserole is baked as usual.
Variations for this dish include different kinds of bread and cheese. Aged cheddar and pumpernickel may go well with sausage, while focaccia bread and fresh goat cheese may work well with bacon. Scrapple usually tastes good with rye bread and may require no cheese at all.
Those looking for a very hearty and balanced egg casserole may enjoy a third type the best. This one includes vegetables like broccoli, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes. Any combination of these vegetables may be sliced into small pieces, sautéed until soft, and stirred into the bread. Cooks may use meat in this recipe, or may leave it out for a vegetarian egg casserole. Gently patting the vegetables dry after cooking them usually prevents the casserole from becoming watery.
My favorite part about egg casseroles is that they're nearly goof-proof. It's really hard to mess them up. As long as you know how to beat eggs and mix them with milk, you're in good shape, as far as the casserole is concerned.
Like a quiche, you can put nearly anything into an egg casserole. I like ham, cheese, and Italian seasonings. That's always a hit with me. I actually like to make waffles with my egg casseroles. I just think they go really well together. It's kind of like getting the whole breakfast, with only a couple of dishes, instead of four or five.
My sister always does a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning. She uses eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, bread and milk. I know she makes up the bread and milk part the night before, and I think she puts everything else in the day she cooks it before she puts it in the oven.
Egg casseroles are so tasty. Almost everyone likes them and they aren't that expensive to make, which is always a good thing when you're on a budget. And since they make a large portion, you can eat leftovers for a day or two. Just get some toast or an English muffin and you're in good shape for breakfast or lunch.
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