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~Cinnamon-Raisin English Muffin Breakfast Casserole~

IMG_1572I don't need to be entertaining a crowd to have a reason to make a giant-sized breakfast casserole.  With Joe and I both working-from-home at present, having a fully-cooked breakfast pre-made and ready to slice and reheat in the microwave (by pushing a button) saves me a bunch of time on weekday mornings.  There's also plenty to share a few squares with a couple of friends and neighbors.  Here in our neighborhood, my friends call these acts of kindness "ding-dong drop-offs".  Truth told, social-distancing foodie life in the 'burbs is better-than-good, it's very tasty.

Muffins + sausage + apples + onions + eggs + milk + cheddar =

IMG_1557Breakfast to feed a crowd, or breakfast to eat for a week:

IMG_14772  pounds country-style sausage

2  large, 11-12-ounce apples, green Granny Smith or red Honeycrisp, peeled and medium-diced

1 1/2  cups diced yellow or sweet onion (6 ounces diced onion)

1 1/2  teaspoons dried, rubbed Dalmatian sage

1  teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

1  teaspoon sea salt 

14  large eggs

1  quart half-and-half

1 1/2  teaspoons additional sea salt

1  additional teaspoon coarse-grind black pepper

2  13-ounce packages Thomas's cinnamon-raisin English muffins (12 English muffins, divided through recipe

2  8-ounce bags store-bought shredded white cheddar cheese (4 cups, divided through recipe)

no-stick cooking spray

IMG_1481 IMG_1485 IMG_1485 IMG_1485~Step 1.  Using your fingertips, crumble the country sausage into a 14" nonstick skillet.  Place the skillet over medium- medium-high heat.  Sauté the sausage, stirring constantly with a large slotted spoon or spatula, until sausage is just cooked through, about 6-7 minutes.  Do not brown the sausage.  Remove from heat.  Using the slotted spoon or spatula, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and cool, allowing all the flavorful drippings to remain in bottom of skillet.

IMG_1494 IMG_1494 IMG_1494~ Step 2.  Add the apples and onion to drippings in the skillet along with the sage, salt and pepper. Sauté over medium- medium-high heat, until onion is softening, 2-3 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

IMG_1504 IMG_1504 IMG_1504 IMG_1504 IMG_1512 IMG_1512~Step 3.  Crack eggs into an 8-cup measuring container.  Add half-and-half, along with the salt and pepper.  Using a hand-held rotary-type egg beater, whisk until smooth and uniform in color. Set aside and assemble casserole as directed:

IMG_1518 IMG_1518 IMG_1518 IMG_1518 IMG_1530 IMG_1530 IMG_1530 IMG_1530~Step 4.  To assemble the casserole, slice one package (6) English muffins into bite-sized pieces and scatter them, in a single layer, in the bottom of a 4-quart casserole that has been sprayed with no-stick cooking spray.  Scatter half of the sautéed sausage (about 11 ounces) evenly over the muffins, followed by half of the apple-onion mixture (about 11 ounces).  Open and scatter one bag of cheddar cheese evenly over all.  Repeat this layering process with the remaining package of English muffins, sautéed sausage, apple-onion mixture and package of cheddar cheese.

IMG_1539 IMG_1539 IMG_1539~ Step 5.  Briefly stir the egg mixture.  In a slow steady stream, moving back and forth across the surface of the casserole, drizzle the egg mixture over the surface of the casserole, to allow plenty of time for the liquid to drizzle down through the nooks and crannies.  Cover casserole with plastic wrap and set aside, at room temperature for four hours, or overnight in the refrigerator (to allow muffins to absorb the liquid).  Remove from refrigerator 1-2 hours prior to baking according to the following directions:

IMG_1548 IMG_1565~ Step 6.   Remove the plastic wrap and replace it with a sheet of aluminum foil.  Bake casserole on center rack of preheated 325° oven 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake, uncovered, until golden brown, bubbling, and puffed through to the center, 25-30 additional minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to rest 15 minutes prior to slicing and serving.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Slice and reheat leftovers in microwave.

Remove from oven & rest on wire rack 15 minutes:

IMG_1562Slice, serve hot-out-of-the-oven or reheated in the microwave:

IMG_1587And start your day w/a forkful of a ready-made breakfast:  

IMG_1598Cinnamon-Raisin English Muffin Breakfast Casserole:  Recipe yields 12-16 servings.

Special Equipment List:  14" nonstick skillet; cutting board; chef's knife; vegetable peeler; large slotted spoon or spatula; paper towels; 4-quart casserole;  8-cup measuring container; hand-held rotary-type egg-beater or whisk; plastic wrap; aluminum foil; wire rack 

6a0120a8551282970b022ad37edab3200cCook's Note: It's been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I whole-heartedly believe it, but, I also have strong opinions about it.  The first:  A protein-packed breakfast is better than a sugar-shocked one.  I love pancakes, waffles and French toast as much as the next person, and indulging in them occasionally is divine, but, on a daily basis, I don't believe them to be the best way to start the day. The second:  In today's busy food world, folks will put down the sweet pop tart in exchange for a savory sandwich if it can be made in advance, or several days in advance. The third:  When entertaining stay-the-weekend guests, keep the morning meal simple and casual -- focus your time and energy on fancy-schmancy upscale fare for cocktails and dinnertime.  Don't have English muffins on hand?  Try my  ~Sausage and Everything Bagel Breakfast Casserole ~.  Carry on.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)


Dawn -- For some reason when I uploaded the photo, it must have cut the 2-pounds of sausage out of the ingredients list. I added it, so it appears now. Good catch -- thanks! ~ Melanie

In looking through the recipe I do not see the sausage in the list of ingredients!

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