You’ll all be amused to know that once again I am stumbling through a post trying to type with one hand wrapped up in gauze. (Y’all remember this post?) We had French Dips for dinner tonight and as I was holding a roll in the palm of my hand slicing it in half with a foot-long bread knife (already see where this is going?) I went a little to fast and a little to far. The knife went right through the bread and then right through the spot between my pinkie and ring finger. Did you just say “ouch” out loud? So did I. And it’s not the only thing I said. See? I said you’d be amused. Alright, now get that image out of your heads and let’s move on to yummier things!

Christmas. It seems like every family has their own traditions when it comes to meals around the Christmas holiday. For my family one of our favorite ones is our Christmas morning breakfast. We’ve been enjoying basically the same menu since I was a little kid. Some new things come and go, but the bulk of our menu is rooted deep in tradition. Since I’ve been married and spent some Christmases in new places I’ve often re-created this same meal and all of the warm memories of childhood come flooding back. Food is pretty amazing that way. One of the neat things about our Christmas breakfast is that the entire thing is prepared the night before. That way on Christmas morning all we have to do is pull things out of the fridge or pop them in the oven and as soon as we start smelling breakfast we know it’s time to take a break from presents and eat! At the heart of the meal is this breakfast casserole- and I’ll tell you right now it’s not the only one that will ever appear here. I have a lot of yummy overnight breakfast dishes (and I know Kate does too), some very similar to this recipe, but this is our official Christmas morning one. Hope you enjoy it!

You’ll need all of this stuff (see my notes about cheese and bread below the ingredient list). And note that I show a large can of green chiles in this photo, but the recipe calls for a small one. I really love green chiles so I double it.

and a bunch of spices…

It seems like there are always a lot of questions when we have recipes that call for sausage of any kind. It’s probably because there are so many different types: breakfast sausage, Italian sausage, sausage in links, sausage in castings, sausage in tubes, sausage in 8 different sections of the supermarket… so I thought I’d just show you. That’s the beauty of a blog, right? This is the kind of sausage that I use, always. It’s Jimmy Dean, and it’s found in the section of the supermarket near the hot dogs, bacon, etc. I always get the reduced fat kind but not because it has anything to do with cutting calories in any way. More on that later, but the reduced fat is wonderful because it still tastes just the same as the regular stuff, but you don’t have to mess with draining it after cooking so it’s a lot less work. Just brown it up and toss it in. So take a mental picture (and please don’t accidentally buy anything maple flavored):

On with the cooking!

Start by removing the crusts from your bread and lightly buttering one side.

Place bread butter side down in a 9×13 baking dish. I usually need 6 pieces of bread, plus 1 cut in half to finish up the bottom row. You just want the bottom of the pan covered with no big gaps.

Grate your cheese and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the bread. And yes, you’re reading the recipe correctly, 4 cups baby! Spread the browned sausage on top of that, and top with the green chiles.

One time I tried to be all healthy and give this recipe a makeover. I used wheat bread, reduced fat cheese (and much less of it) part egg substitute, etc. It was SUCH a waste of ingredients! Don’t even try to take calorie-cutting short cuts. Trust me, just enjoy it!

In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk eggs. Add milk and then seasonings and whisk to combine well.

Slowly stir the egg mixture while you pour it evenly on top of the assembled casserole. You’ll want to keep stirring or else the spices will all gather in one spot and drop onto one single piece of casserole. I speak from experience from one Christmas morning where my brother got the piece with ALL of the spices. Not so good.

Cover well and place in the refridgerator overnight.

In the morning preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pop the casserole in there and bake (uncovered) for 50-60 minutes. You’ll want the center to be set and the outside edges to be golden brown. It will be puffy and beautiful like this (oh and your house will smell amazing!)

It’s important to let it cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it or it will just fall apart. As it cools it will settle- don’t worry, that’s normal! Cut into squares and serve warm.

This makes a great addition to any breakfast or brunch. If you’re thinking of other overnight wonders, try these cinnamon rolls. Or if you completely forgot to do those the night before- whip these ones up in the morning! Pair the meal with some fresh fruit and a yummy morning drink and you’ve got a brunch fit for royalty (or a hungry family!)

Check out our index of dishes for Breakfast and Brunch for more great holiday ideas.

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