You remember That 70’s Casserole, right? The one that happened for breakfast on holidays and maybe Saturday mornings? The one with everything for breakfast in one pan, prepared the night before?
Oh dear readers, you have missed out on something entirely too magical to describe with words. May I submit for your perusal:
Ohhhhh that casserole! Do you remember it now? It seems every family had their own version of it – some with bacon, ham or sausage. Some with hash browns, diced or sliced potatoes. Some with biscuits, slices or chunks of white bread. Some topped with cheese, gravy or maple syrup. Now I’m all nostalgic……It was prepared the night before, so that the cook could pop it straight into the oven in the morning and treat guests to a sort of bread pudding/French Toast/casserole thingy without having to take time away from the festivities. It was indeed a time-saver, and could be doubled, tripled, quadrupled or whatever comes next in order to feed a crowd.
To be honest, the term “casserole” doesn’t exactly conjure up the best picture in most “children of the 70’s” minds. Tuna noodle casserole is probly the first thing everyone thinks about. It may have been a tasty dish, but it certainly wasn’t pretty. It looked like something out of a Star Trek episode, like a strange organism from space, come to prey on the minds of the inhabitants of the Starship Enterprise. Luckily for the crew, and all mankind – Captain James T. Kirk would have known what to do with it – send it right out the old space chute like they did to Spock. Oh, that was mean. I’m sorry.
Up in the Minnesota Lutheran community, casseroles would have been called a “hot dish”. I have about 30 different recipes for various “hot dish” – none, and I do mean none – of which sound even remotely good. Most involve cream-of-anything-soup, mixed with ground beef and vegetables. If you wanted to get fancy, let’s say for company – you would add breadcrumbs or potato chips to the top or maybe splurge on extra meat and add noodles into the dish. But then people may think you are fancy…….and that just won’t do.
So, casseroles aren’t pretty. I searched on the ever-present truth-speaking website Wikipedia and found my most favorite history-of-food description ever.
“In 1866, Elmire Jolicoeur, a French Canadian immigrant, invented the precursor of the modern casserole in Berlin, New Hampshire. The casseroles we know today are a relatively modern invention. Early casserole recipes consisted of rice that was pounded, pressed, and filled with a savoury mixture of meats such as chicken or sweetbreads. Some time around the 1870s this sense of casserole seems to have slipped into its current sense. Cooking in earthenware containers has always been common in most nations, but the idea of casserole cooking as a one-dish meal became popular in America in the twentieth century, especially in the 1950s when new forms of lightweight metal and glassware appeared on the market. By the 1970s casseroles took on a less-than sophisticated image.”
Darn tootin’ it took on a less-than-sophisticated image.
So, let’s change all of that with a slightly more sophisticated casserole that can be served for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or as a late night snack. Cold. Really. It’s just that good.
Let’s jump into our Chevy Chevelles and Buick Station Wagons and take a trip back in time………
Here’s what I did:
1. Panic. When the first thing you were actually trying to make fails and you are left with bread and sausage, you need to gather your thoughts and try something else. Put on your thinking cap and think, think, think! I had a loaf of Ener-G Tapioca Bread, 8 precooked Applegate Farm Pork Breakfast Sausages and I was hungry. I also had eggs. Bingo!
2. I preheated my oven to 400. I tore 4 slices of my bread into good-sized pieces (because gluten-free bread is notorious for falling apart if you so much as look at it wrong, so leave the chunks bigger) and chopped up my sausages. Into a greased cast-iron they went. This recipe would serve two people. Or one hungry blogger. The rest of the bread became Egg-Free French Toast, which is on The Retro Mom’s Facebook Page.
3. I beat 4 eggs well, and added 1/4 cup of almond milk to them. I sprinkled a bit of sea salt and ground pepper on it all.
4. Into the oven it went for 20 minutes. It gets all puffy, then deflates, just like out economy.
5. I suppose you could top this with cheese, or add in potatoes, or any other fun stuff that sounds good – even diced apples. Next time I make this, I am definitely pouring some maple syrup over it, because I can. I am famously weak for anything that tastes like French Toast. I can’t get enough of it!