Each year on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning, I whip up a delicious breakfast casserole for my family to enjoy while parade-watching or opening gifts.
Usually, it involves potatoes. Always, it involves eggs and cheese.
But recently, when looking for a similar casserole to bake for out-of-town guests, I realized two things: One, I didn't have a go-to breakfast casserole recipe, and two, there was most likely the perfect, crowd-pleasing recipe hidden within the treasure trove that is the r/Old_Recipes subreddit.
Enter Redditor u/hii_itsmeee and their great-great-great-great grandmother's "egg soufflé" breakfast casserole. The photo in their original post showed a few of my favorite things: a worn index card with a handwritten recipe and cheesy, eggy, sausagey goodness I knew I needed in my own kitchen — and belly.
According to u/hii_itsmeee, their family has used the recipe — which can be classified as a strata — for six generations at Christmas, family reunions and more.
"We make two casseroles for 10 people and we have some leftovers," they wrote.
They had me at "leftovers."
So, early on a Saturday morning, I went to work, crumbling and cooking ground sausage, chopping red onions, green peppers and mushrooms and grating cheese. I cracked 12 eggs and cut 10 slices of bread into cubes, just like the Redditor's great-great-great-great grandmother would want me to.
Into my 9x13-inch pan went the cubed bread, followed by cheese, meat, veggies and dried mustard. After adding milk, eggs and salt, it was time to stir it together a bit and toss it into my 350 F oven. After about 45 minutes, my house smelled heavenly and the casserole had the most beautiful golden-brown top I'd ever seen.
As far as taste, this one was a crowd-pleaser. My guests commented that they liked the use of bread rather than breakfast potatoes or hash browns because it felt lighter in their stomachs. And "light" was the perfect word to describe it all around: The eggs were fluffy, the bread gave it an airy feel and the extras were flavorful and delicious.
And yes, there were leftovers. Plenty of leftovers.
The following day, we were all pleased to see that the dish reheated wonderfully in my microwave. One of our guests remarked they even liked it better the second day because the vegetables got a bit softer and the flavors were stronger.
Great-great-great-great grandmother's "egg soufflé" will definitely show up again in my home this holiday season. The original recipe suggests other breakfast meats as well, so I'd love to try it with ham or bacon. In fact, cooking the vegetables in bacon fat for a few minutes before tossing them into the casserole would really make 'em pop.
Overall, as a dedicated potatoes-in-my-breakfast-casserole girl, I may be a convert to this lighter version of the crowd-pleasing breakfast — especially because I didn't feel like I needed a nap 20 minutes after eating it.