Butter Together: On food, family, and how to feed a crowd

 

Amelia Plair

Amelia Plair

 

 

Amelia Plair

 

 

I'll never forget the first time I saw a meal plan for the week. 

 

A magnet held it to the front of the refrigerator, and the refrigerator belonged to my Aunt Diane, Dad's sister. We were visiting, and she had typed up all our meals for the week -- breakfast, lunch, and dinner -- plus snacks. Let me repeat that for anyone not paying attention: she had typed it.  

 

This move was unprecedented in all my 12 years on earth. My own mother, an excellent cook in her own right, took to the kitchen like her hair was on fire, making use of every leftover dab of mashed potato and unaccounted-for soft tomato.  

 

Meal plans just weren't in the cards for her. 

 

Today, between teaching English and keeping up with my own three daughters, meal plans help me make my life work. Before I returned to teaching, I spent a lot of time on them in the evenings, poring over cookbooks and cooking blogs and lifestyles sections looking for recipes that would work with my family's food allergies and tastes. 

 

Now that I have a preschooler and no longer work a "regular" 8-to-5, my time is tighter, and I rely on tried-and-true favorites that I've adjusted for the slow cooker or make ahead. I still enjoy cooking, but these days I have to enjoy it a bit more quickly. 

 

This recipe for breakfast casserole is one of my favorites. It's make-ahead and I've adjusted the ingredients to use foods I often keep on hand -- after all, I do still have a bit of my mother's hair-on-fire approach in me.  

 

It's perfect for holidays or any weekend with company in the house. In fact, I have a pan of it in my fridge right now; I will reheat squares of it for a quick, filling breakfast this week before I shuttle the kids and myself off to school. 

 

And, in case you're wondering, yes ... this one was on Aunt Diane's meal plan. 

 

Amelia Plair is a mom and high school teacher in Starkville. Email reaches her at [email protected] 

 

 

 

BREAKFAST CASSEROLE 

 

 

 

6-8 slices white bread, torn into pieces 

 

6 eggs 

 

1 1/2 cups milk 

 

1 teaspoon salt 

 

1 pound bulk sausage (bacon or ham works well, too) 

 

1 teaspoon mustard 

 

1-2 cups shredded cheddar 

 

 

 

  • Spray casserole dish with oil; I use a 9-by-13-inch. Brown sausage, breaking it apart with the back of the spoon into small crumbles. Drain.  

     

  • Place torn bread into the bottom of the casserole. Sprinkle sausage crumbles over the top of the bread. Sprinkle cheese on top of the sausage.  

     

  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg with the milk, salt, and mustard. Pour the egg mixture over the top of the cheese. Cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  

     

  • Bake uncovered at 350 F for 45 minutes to an hour. If you want someone else to put it in the oven, write those directions on the aluminum foil with a permanent marker before you put it in.

     

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