In my internet life, it may appear that I am always making new, creative meals for me and my family come breakfast, lunch or dinner. That I never eat the same thing twice. That I never eat a frozen burrito I found at the bottom of my freezer or the last five dino-shaped chicken nuggets from the giant bag I bought for my three-year-old’s dinners or the same, humble whole wheat toast with hurried swipes of peanut butter on top.
In my real life, I think you can guess what is actually true. And breakfast in our household is the worst culprit. That peanut butter toast? I eat it almost every. single. day. And if I don’t, I’m eating scrambled eggs. And that’s about as crazy as it gets when it comes to our breakfast routine.
Here’s why: Because I’m awfully sleepy in the morning. Maybe it’s just me? Maybe I’m the only one who stumbles down the stairs in the AM like Frankenstein’s bride, arms outstretched at the coffee maker willing it to make me coffee immediately? And then, no less than five minutes later, I’m slinging cereal and cutting fruit into itty-bitty pieces and trying to calm the usual morning chaos so I can please, please just have one little sip of coffee before this day starts and suddenly it’s 8 a.m. and the kitchen looks like it exploded and everyone else has eaten breakfast but me and that’s when my old reliable pal peanut butter toast makes its appearance.
It’s times like these when I am grateful for my friend Melissa, who saves the morning for me in the form of Not Your Mom’s Egg Casserole.
Let me back up a bit. My dear (internet-turned-real-life) friend Melissa, whom you may know as The Faux Martha, wrote a cookbook called The Minimalist Kitchen that released today and friends, it is perfection. And having run through the gamut of cookbooks in my day, I don’t say this lightly. I’ve known Melissa for several years now and have had the pleasure of enjoying delicious meals she’s made in her kitchen in her beautiful home and every inch of this book is so very her. It’s completely authentic and thoughtful and while Melissa focuses the book on minimalism in the kitchen, the overall story behind it maximizes on a sense of welcomeness and warmth and charm — all qualities Melissa inhabits herself.
The recipes in the book all focus on ingredients that can be found in an efficient, organized, minimalist kitchen, but Melissa structures it in a way that no single meal is boring. No single meal is, ahem, peanut butter toast.
So when I flipped through the pages of the book last week to try to decide on a single recipe to share with you, I actually found the task impossible (I wanted to make every. single. thing in the book, no lie). So I hired out the job to my husband, and he circled in on Not Your Mom’s Egg Casserole. He liked it because it’s hearty and strata-like, with pockets of savory breakfast sausage and sauteed kale and shredded cheese amid hunks of crusty bread in a bath of seasoned eggs and milk. I liked it because you prepare it the night before and in the morning, you bake it and breakfast is done. SO GENIUS. And so simple.
And truth be told, we all liked it when we ate it for breakfast one weekday morning. For once, the kitchen was silent, everyone happily eating their egg casserole, a rare occurrence in our home. When a casserole has this simple of an ingredient list, is this easy to prepare, is practically already made come morning, and calms the chaos if even for a few minutes so we can all enjoy a good meal together — it’s a casserole worth keeping in the back pocket. I know this one will make its appearance again and again (once I’ve had a sip of my morning coffee, that is).
For more information on The Minimalist Kitchen and to grab yourself a copy, head over this way. Seriously, go get one. Your kitchen and your sanity will thank you.
- 1 lb breakfast pork sausage
- 4 cups chopped kale
- 4 cups cubed or torn crusty bread (such as ciabatta, sourdough, baguette, etc.)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 eggs
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- The night before serving, assemble the casserole. In a large cast-iron skillet, cook and crumble sausage over medium-high until browned and cooked through. Add chopped kale; stir and cook 2 minutes. Transfer sausage-kale mixture to 13x9-inch baking dish. Add cubed bread and shredded cheese; toss with tongs to combine.
- In medium bowl, whisk milk, eggs, salt and pepper until combined. Pour evenly over sausage mixture in baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours).
- The next morning, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until eggs are set. Garnish with fresh thyme.