May 24, 2011

Christmas Morning Casserole

Happy Tuesday!! 

First, let me assure all of you that I survived yesterday's crisis (of leaving my phone at home).  There were some difficult moments, but I pulled through surprisingly well.  I appreciate those of you who sent sympathy cards and flowers.   :-)

So, as promised, I'll be sharing several things this week (refer to yesterday's commercial).  I had to do an "eenie-meenie-miny-moe" to decide which one to post first, and .... (drum roll, please).... Christmas Morning Casserole won! 

Now, before you get the wrong idea, let me put to rest all of your anxiety about making something with the title 'Christmas' in any month except December.  It's perfectly safe - the Christmas police haven't arrested me yet. 

This recipe is a 'family' recipe, more or less.  My Aunt found it in a magazine years ago, and after passing it to many of her friends and making modifications of her own, it's now something entirely different.  It's not even the same as it was when she gave it to me!  I made my own modifications.  (Maybe it's come full circle and now looks the way it actually started.)  Neither here nor there, really.  Even though I don't follow her directions exactly, I always pull her recipe card out so I think of her.

Her directions say that you must refridgerate over night before baking, but I rarely plan that far ahead.  I literally cook or mix each layer as I need it, then toss it right in the oven with no setting whatsoever. 

What you will need (for approximately 4 servings):
  1. Four eggs
  2. Cheese of your choice (I choose Cracker Barrel sharp white cheddar without fail)
  3. 1/2 pound Jimmy Dean Sausage (whatever kind you prefer - I like Sage)
  4. Stuffing mix (chicken, Italian, or whatever flavor you like)
  5. 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  6. milk or cream
  7. white pepper
  8. dry mustard
My husband walked into the room, spotted me taking
this photograph, and said, "Uh oh, I sense a blog!"

First and foremost, pre-heat your oven to 350.

Next, cook the sausage. 

You can use whatever pan you like, but I tend to favor this 8 x 8" glass Pyrex square.  Greese the bottom.

Coat the bottom of the pan with a layer of stuffing.  I used a little more than half of the package, and it may have been just a tad too much.  Next time I plan to try exactly half.

Layer your cheese over the stuffing.  I have a cheese grater which is helpful since I always use a brick, but if you want to save yourself time, buy any pre-grated or pre-sliced cheese.

To my husband, "add cheese to taste"
means that you use the whole brick. 

Yes, the cheese grater is Pampered Chef.  :-)

When the sausage is beautiful, spread it over the cheese.  Perfect timing, of course, would be when the sausage is still piping hot and will cause the cheese to melt.  Yumminess.

Next, beat together your eggs, cream or milk (to taste), white pepper and mustard.  (If you've read my blogs before you know I'm not into exact measuring, but I'd estimate that I used about 1/2 teaspoon each of the white pepper and mustard, and about 1/4 cup cream.)  Pour the mixture evenly over the sausage. 
*  Note - I happened to have heavy cream on hand, and was very happy with the consistency.  However, I normally use half n' half or milk (just make sure the milk is 2% or whole).

Now for the topping!  Mix the cream of mushroom soup with milk until it's a bit soupy.  Again, I don't use measurements, but I used approximately 1/4 - 1/2 cup.  I just keep adding until it looks right.  Drizzle over the casserole, and spread evenly with a fork.

 Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  (If you are nervous about the eggs being thoroughly cooked, add another 5-10 minutes.)

The result?  A delicious, tangy, gorgeous casserole.

Naturally, my hubby adds grated Parmesan over the whole thing.

Make sure you're hungry when you make this.  "Ladylike" portions go out the window.  Happy Christmas!!!

~ Sarah

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