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Holiday Breakfast Casserole

Thanksgiving Breakfast Casserole (10)

Thanksgiving Breakfast Casserole (1)

Thanksgiving Breakfast Casserole (9)

Thanksgiving Breakfast Casserole (8)

On Thanksgiving, a lot of us have family over for the holidays. In the morning, you want to have breakfast for your family but you don’t want to make it a big ordeal. I have a great idea that will feed everyone, and hold them over until the big meal. This dish is done casseroles-style, it’s my Holiday Breakfast Casserole.

My Holiday Breakfast Casserole can be made the day before so all you need to do is pop it in the oven the morning of.

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Olive Oil

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Italian Chicken Sausage

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Sweet Italian Sausage (1)

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Stuffing (4)

I’m also going back to my hanging herb garden to grab some fresh sage and Italian flat-leaf parsley.

Sage

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Holday Breakfast Casserole (5)

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Holday Breakfast Casserole (1)

Holday Breakfast Casserole (2)

 

 

 

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 12 hours, overnight to chill
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 9 x 13x 3 casserole dish, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 12-inch sauté pan, box grater

Ingredients:
2 pounds of hot Italian chicken sausage, casings removed (substitute mild chicken sausage or breakfast sage sausage)
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 Granny Smith apples, 1-inch dice
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish)
12 large eggs, beaten
2 cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, unsalted plus extra for greasing the casserole dish

1 loaf of Pepperidge Farm Swirl Pumpkin Cinnamon bread, cut into 2-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups of Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
On the day before serving, cut the pumpkin bread into 2-inch bite-size cubes. Spread them out in one even layer on each of the 2 rimmed sheet pans. Drizzle olive oil over the bread cubes. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.

Note: Keep a close eye on the bread while baking. I’m using fresh bread here so it may take a little longer to become golden brown. If using day-old bread or stale bread, it may brown faster.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat add the sausage, dried sage, and a very light sprinkling of Kosher salt. Cook until browned through 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the sausage with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside.

Without cleaning the pan, still on medium heat add unsalted butter, apples, diced onion, 1 tablespoon of the chopped sage, and a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and pepper.  Cook until the onions have softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the apple mixture to a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper.

Grease a large casserole dish with the butter. Layer in half the cubed pumpkin bread, half the cooked sausage, half the apple mixture, half the fresh chopped sage, and half the shredded cheese. Repeat the process with the other half of the same ingredients, ending with the shredded cheese. Slowly pour the egg mixture all over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Remove the casserole dish from the fridge 30 minutes before baking. Replace the plastic wrap with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking, 10 to 15 minutes more until the top is golden brown and slightly crisp.

Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley. Let rest for around 10 minutes and serve warm.

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Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (1)

White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (2)

My friend Kim went on home for a week to visit her parents. I knew she’d be celebrating her birthday while she was gone so I thought I’d have something special waiting for her when she returned home. You know after traveling you’re always tired once you get home, no one really wants to cook. I thought, how about a Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage waiting for her at home. All she’d have to do is to follow the reheating instructions that I attached to the pan. Happy Birthday, Kim!

You know, it’s just as easy to make two pans of Mac and Cheese as it is to make one. One for her family and one for ours. This recipe will yield two 9 x 9 pans of Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage (1)

 

 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 16 servings (6 to 8 serving per pan)
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 2 (6-quart) stockpots, 12-inch sauté pan, 1 (3-quart) saucepan, 2 disposable deep-sided 9 x 9 casserole pans.

Note: Ingredients below are doubled to yield 2-9 x 9 disposable pans

Ingredients:
2 (16-ounce) boxes Barilla Cellentani, corkscrew-shaped pasta (or elbow macaroni)
3 sticks of butter, unsalted (reserve 1 stick for topping, plus butter for greasing pans0
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts whole milk
1 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 cups of diced smoked sausage sliced and quartered, 3 cups for each pan
2 (8-ounce) packages, extra-sharp white cheddar, shredded
6-ounces of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated and divided
3 cups of Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, reserve 1/4 cup for Panko

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Butter each of the 9 x 9 disposable pans

Into each one of the two (6-quart stockpot) pots of boiling salted water, add 1 box of Barilla Cellentani. Cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well into separate colanders.

In the meantime, heat the milk in a 4-quart saucepan, just under the boiling point. In another (6-quart) stockpot melt 2 sticks of butter, add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, continuously whisking. While whisking, slowly add in the hot milk, then 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg. Switch to a wooden spoon, continue to stir until sauce thickens. Do not rush this process, cooking times may vary, anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes. Once the sauce coats the back of a spoon remove the pot from the heat. Add all the white cheddar and 3-ounces of grated Parmesan. Stir to combine.

Divide the bechamel sauce, equally into each of the (6-quart) stockpots. Divide equally the diced smoked sausage into each pot. Add one colander of the cooked, well-drained pasta into each pot. Stir to combine then transfer to the buttered disposable pans.

Breadcrumb Topping:
Melt the remaining 1 stick of butter into a large sauté pan, on low heat, add the Panko crumbs, stir until all the butter is absorbed.  Off the heat, add the remaining grated Parmesan cheese, and Italian flat-leaf parsley. Stir to combine. Divide evenly, then sprinkle the bread crumbs on evenly on top of each of the pans. Place each of the disposable pans onto a rimmed baking sheet pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and macaroni and topping are a beautiful golden brown.

Tip For Freezing:
Make sure the pan of Baked White Cheddar Mac & Cheese With Smoked Sausage is at room temperature before freezing.

If you plan to freeze one of the pans, DO NOT ADD the breadcrumb topping until you’re ready to bake. Cover the pan tightly with foil then wrap the whole pan again in plastic wrap. Freeze up to 2 months.

When you’re ready to bake, remove the foil and plastic wrap. Add the breadcrumb topping. Spray the dull side of a piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray. This will prevent the topping from sticking to the foil.  Cover the dish tightly with the sprayed foil and bake frozen for 1 hour at 350-degrees F. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown around 5 to 7 minutes, times may vary slightly.

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Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes

Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (19)

A classic Italian combination is a slice of meat paired with fruit like prosciutto with melon or even figs. Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes (seedless green, red, or both) is a roller coaster for your taste buds combining flavors and textures.

Seedless green or red grapes, when in season, are bursting with sweetness.

This dish is usually served with a loaf of crusty bread for dipping. I’m changing up the traditional Roasted Italian Sausage And Grapes. I’m going to be adding potatoes, a perfect accompaniment to this dish, a complete one-pot meal. Potatoes were a huge part of my mom’s recipes. I suppose this is where my English influence comes into play.  I’m not stopping there, for some added color and flavor, roasted sweet bell peppers, YUM!

There are a couple of different ways you can make this dish, you can choose to use half hot and half sweet Italian pork sausage, that’s traditional. You could even substitute Italian style turkey sausage or Italian style chicken sausage. I’m going to use a leaner and less fatty option, mild Italian chicken sausage for this recipe.

If you’ve never tried roasting grapes, well… you don’t know what you’re missing. They add amazing sweetness to this dish. The perfect harmony of savory and sweet flavors. Let’s get started.

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You can see above how much leaner the Italian chicken sausage is from the traditional Italian pork sausage.

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Onions and Peppers

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Rosemary

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Tuscan Style Roasted Sausage And Grapes (1)

 

 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: large 11 x 13 x 2 baking dish

Ingredients:
2 packages (10 links) Italian chicken sausage (substitute 1/2 hot and 1/2 sweet, Italian pork sausage, or Italian style turkey sausage)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 2-pound bag petite red potatoes, cut in half
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
6 cups of seedless green grapes, halved
1 sweet onion, sliced thin
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoon dry Chianti (red wine)
1 quart plus a 1/4 cup chicken stock, unsalted
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, plus 4 to 6 sprigs for individual servings, to garnish

Balsamic Glaze:
1/4 cup good balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup pan juices

Directions:
Note: Cooking Times may vary slightly. If any or a few of the potatoes are larger than most, cut the larger ones into quarters. The potatoes need to be similar in size.
First, slice the potatoes in half.
Add the halved potatoes into a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold water. On medium-high heat. Bring the potatoes up to a boil. Continue boiling the potatoes for 12 to 15 minutes, or until just fork-tender. They’ll finish cooking in the oven.

Note: Cooking times may vary slightly.
Using a fork prick each of the sausage links 3 times on each side. Pour 1 quart of unsalted chicken broth into a large saucepot, similar to the one in the picture above. Place the 10 sausage links into the pot (make sure the liquid covers the sausage links, add water if needed), turn the heat to medium, and cover. Parboil the sausages until grey throughout, about 12 to 15 minutes.

The parboiled sausages and potatoes should be done around the same time.

Preheat oven to 500-degrees F.
While the potatoes and sausages are on the stove being parboiled, prep the grapes, peppers, onion, and garlic placing them into a large mixing bowl. Add  1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, tossing to coat with oil and seasoning.

Next, using tongs, transfer the sausage links to a plate lined with a paper towel. Drain the potatoes and transfer them back into the same pot. This will allow (because the pot is still very hot) any excess water to evaporate from the potatoes. Set the pot aside for a minute. Once the potatoes are free of any excess water, move onto the next step.

Place the potatoes into the baking dish first. Add 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, toss to coat all the potatoes. Add the grapes, peppers, onions, and garlic mixture to the baking dish. Using a pair of tongs, place the Italian chicken sausage links on top. Pour the chicken stock and red wine all over the top. Finally, place the 3 sprigs of rosemary on top.

Roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Turning the sausage links halfway through the cooking process. This allows for both sides to brown really well.

Remove the baking dish from the oven. Remove the rosemary sprigs. Using a ladle remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid from the bottom of the baking dish. Cover the baking dish to keep everything warm.

Directions For Balsamic Glaze:
Using a ladle, remove the cooking liquid from the bottom of the baking dish to a measuring cup. In a small saucepot, pour in the cooking liquid. Next, add the balsamic vinegar. Turn heat to medium-high, whisking occasionally, cook allowing the vinegar and juices to reduce and become thick and syrupy around 5 minutes.

Pour the Balsamic Glaze over the sausages and grapes. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.

To serve:
Bring the baking dish right to the table Set on a using a trivet. Serve hot and family-style.

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