Are we tired of breakfast egg bake recipes yet? If you are, I’m in trouble. I continue to find new ways to reinvent the wheel when it comes to egg bakes. This time I had a whole lot of whole wheat English muffins lolling around my bread counter that needed to be used. An egg bake was necessary. They are always welcome in our house.
I had a pound of country breakfast sausage in the fridge, a few small red sweet bell peppers, and that was enough to create a dish. Add eggs, milk and lots and lots of cheese and we’d have breakfast for quite a few mornings.
I browned the sausage in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until it was fairly dark and caramelized on one side. That is the secret to the best flavors: well-browned. Once browned, I used my spatula to chop it into small pieces and cooked it through.
In the meanwhile I cut up the whole wheat English muffins into cubes and layered half of them over the bottom of a sprayed 9” x 13” baking pan. I layered half of the sausage over the muffins.
I’d sautéed the chopped red peppers quickly in some of the leftover sausage drippings, then layered them over the sausage in the baking dish.
Next came a thick layer of shredded cheese. I happened to have a sharp cheddar finely shredded, but other cheeses could be used based on your preferences or what you have in your fridge.
Another layer of English muffin, then meat, then sausage, and we were ready for the final layer of cheese. I don’t use as much cheese on the top layer as it does tend to cook fast and get quite dark. It’s better to put more cheese in the first layer, to keep the cheesy goodness inside.
I whisked together the eggs, cream and milk with a little dry mustard, salt and pepper. I poured it over the dish trying to coat the entire top evenly (don’t worry, it works out anyway) then let it sit for about 30 minutes to let the bread have time to absorb the liquid.
I put the pan into the oven at 350° and set my timer for 1 hour. When I used a knife to make a small incision in the center, it was still not set. I set my timer for 10 minutes and by then I could see it was done. The center of the dish was as puffed up as the outsides, a sure sign the center temp was warm enough to set the eggs.
I let the dish sit for 10 minutes to set even further, and watched it deflate. It’s sad that it must do that, but it still tastes the same of course.
We loved the flavors and had breakfast for dinner that evening. It was excellent warmed in the microwave several mornings that week as well. I had meant to wrap a few portions in plastic wrap and place in zippered freezer bags, but alas it was gone quite fast. My P.S. finds it a super handy breakfast when he gets up at 1 am for work.
Discussing what to name my latest egg bake with my P.S., we laughed at calling it Deconstructed Egg McMuffin. I basically had all of the ingredients for an Egg McMuffin, with the addition of sweet red pepper. The cooks on Chopped and other cooking competitions like to used ‘deconstructed’ in their titles. Basically it means the dish was chopped up and spread over a plate rather than stacked or cooked in the normal order. That was definitely my egg bake, but I decided it needed to be a McCasserole.
Sausage Egg McCasserole
8 English muffins (I used whole wheat ones)
1 pound country-style sausage
1 large red sweet bell pepper; diced
2 cups milk (I used soy milk as that was all I had)
1 cup heavy cream (to richen it because I used soy milk)
4 cups sharp cheddar cheese; shredded
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Saute sausage in a nonstick skillet until browned on one side. Break into pieces and continue to cook until no pink remains. Remove from pan and set aside. Saute peppers in the sausage drippings for 4-5 minutes until just beginning to brown.
Cut English muffins into 3/4″ cubes and layer half of them into a greased or sprayed 9×13 baking dish. Layer half of the sausage, half of the peppers, and 3 cups of the shredded cheese. Continue with another layer of English muffins, the remainder of the sausage, peppers and top with remaining cheese.
Whisk together eggs, dry mustard, salt and black pepper. Pour evenly over the top of the baking dish. Let set for 30 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 350° oven for one hour. Test but cutting into the center with a knife. If not firm, bake for 10 more minutes at a time until it tests firm and is puffed in the center as well as around the edges.
Let set for 10 minutes and serve warm.