When my kids were little, we would pile them into the car on New Year’s Day morning and head to the city to take in the holiday lights and store windows. New Year’s Day caps the end of a fun-filled season, but with the lights still shining and the sidewalks practically deserted, we felt as though we had the whole town to ourselves. Most of the restaurants were closed (at least any that were willing to seat young children), so we would head home after our drive and enjoy a delicious make-ahead New Year’s Day brunch.
Then and now, we fall back on a scrumptious sausage-and-egg casserole. It’s a great way to start off New Year’s Day because you can assemble it the day before, pop it into the fridge, and bake it for an hour the next morning. Slice up fruit or add a vegetable salad while you wait (use anything you happen to have in the house), and whip up some hot chocolate. Then enjoy this festive brunch at home.
What You’ll Need
- Butter for the baking pan
- 1 (12-ounce package frozen bulk sausage meat (thawed, fried, and crumbled)
- 3/4 loaf soft white bread
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 12 eggs
- 4 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch of black pepper
What to Do
- Let your New Year’s chef butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan. (Place some softened butter on a piece of waxed paper and show her how to coat the inside of the pan first.)
- Cook the sausage according to package directions, allow it to cool, and crumble into small pieces with your fingers.
- Show your child how to tear the bread into bite-sized pieces. Let her measure 4 cups of shredded bread, and transfer it evenly into the baking pan. Have her evenly sprinkle the shredded Cheddar cheese and the sausage crumbles over the bread.
- Show your child how to crack a single egg into a small bowl. (If there are any bits of shell in there, show her how to remove them with a spoon or the tines of a fork.) Let her continue this process with the remaining eggs, transferring each into a larger bowl from the smaller one. (This method ensures that bits of shell will be kept out of the final product!)
- Let your little assistant whisk the eggs until foamy. Help her measure 4 cups of milk, the mustard, the salt, the onion powder, and the black pepper, and mix. Help her pour the egg-and-milk mixture over the shredded bread in the baking pan. Show her how to cover the pan tightly with foil. Refrigerate this overnight.
New Year’s Day: Preheat the oven to 325℉. Bake the casserole, uncovered, for about 1 hour, or until it is puffy and golden and there are no traces of liquid. Cool for about 5 minutes. Let your little foodie help you spoon the casserole out of the baking dish and onto the lucky eaters’ plates. Serve with fruit or veggie salad.
Tip: Omit pork sausage and use turkey breakfast sausage instead. (Cook, then crumble and add in place of pork sausage.) Or, for the vegetarians in the house, bypass the sausage and use 1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry. For pork enthusiasts, 1 cup of diced cooked ham works, too!