We’re right in the thick of one of the busiest times of the year for many folks. Holiday parties, out-of-town guests, family gatherings—not to mention the regular goings-on of everyday life—have many of us stretched pretty thin. This week’s recipe is a great way to alleviate some of that pressure and still have a fabulous dish to serve your weekend houseguests, or take along your aunt’s pot-luck holiday brunch, or just to satisfy you and your family for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s packed with everything you need to please the crowd from savory sausage to fresh veggies to fluffy eggs. You can even substitute or omit ingredients to make it meatless, gluten free, or dairy free.* And because it is made up to a day in advance, you won’t be clamoring around the kitchen while everyone else is sipping hot beverages and relaxing with the company. Everyone wins with this casserole.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. breakfast sausage (turkey or pork) *or to go meatless, substitute 1 (14.5-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained.
  • 1 c. frozen (or 2 c. fresh) spinach
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, color of your choosing, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 2-4 slices whole wheat bread (or your favorite), torn into 1-inch pieces. *Gluten-free bread may be used, or bread can be omitted completely.
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk *or almond milk
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese *or dairy-free cheese

First, spread out enough bread in a greased 9×13 baking dish to evenly cover the bottom with one layer.

Next, in a large skillet, crumble and brown the sausage until deep golden-brown. Once the sausage is browned, add the spinach, cover and cook just until thawed if frozen, or wilted if fresh, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes.

Transfer the sausage and spinach to a bowl and set aside. Using the same large skillet, add the oil and the remaining veggies, except the garlic. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté over medium-high heat until soft and lightly caramelized, scraping as much of the brown bits up from the pan as you go. Once the veggies are soft, add the garlic and sauté another 2 minutes. Stir in the sausage and spinach just until mixed. Remove from heat and set aside.

Then, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and pour half over the bread. Evenly sprinkle on half of the cheese and the sausage and veggie mixture. Finally, pour over the remaining egg mixture and sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.

Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours. When ready to bake, let the casserole sit at room temperature for about an hour before baking, if at all possible. Preheat the oven to 375F and bake for 40-50 minutes, depending on the doneness you prefer. I like mine pretty golden and went 45 minutes. Let cool on the counter for at least 10 minutes to set up and cool slightly before slicing and serving.

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