Holiday Brunch: Savory Sausage Bake

Thanksgiving is over and it’s time to start thinking about the next round of holiday guests that will be invading visiting your home.

Every Christmas we have this amazingly flavorful, savory bread pudding style casserole. It is perfect because it feeds a crowd, is easy to put together and literally everyone will like it- cheesy, fluffy like a souffle and just down right delicious.

Crispy edges, nom nom nom

We unwrap presents on Christmas morning while this bakes in the background. Generally Santa brings us some chocolates in our stockings that we nosh on during the festivities, so we are just about crashing from a sugar high when this baby is ready to come outta the oven.

Bread pudding is notoriously forgiving, so you can really add whatever you like to the dish as long as you use the same base of eggs, milk and bread.  I’ve toyed with the idea of using old bay or Cajun seasoning instead of  the dry mustard– but I’m such a traditionalist I just can’t bring myself to do it!

I really recommend trying the recipe as outlined below before tinkering… you probably won’t even want to once you’ve had a bite. 😉

Sausage Bake

  • 8 slices of bread, crust removed and cubed
  • 1 1/2 lbs Bob Evans sausage links, cooked, drained and cut in thirds
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 large eggs
  • 3/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup milk (just before baking)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup

Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Put in bread cubes, cheese and sausage pieces- mix with your hands. In a separate bowl, beat the 2 1/2 cups milk, eggs, cream of mushroom soup and dry mustard. Pour over the bread and press it down gently with a spatula. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for several hours of overnight.

Preheat oven to 300°. Before baking, remove from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pour the remaining 1/2 cup milk over the bread.  Bake for 1 hour and 3o minutes (up to 2 hours), remove when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean and casserole puffs up and is fluffy.*

Enjoy!

*Note: I have cooked this for 1 hour 15 minutes in a 325° oven and was successful, but it didn’t retain it’s fluffiness quite the same.

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Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Candied Bacon

I’ve noticed that lately I’ve been getting more new readers here at Erin’s DC Kitchen. I want to say hello! For the newbies and seasoned followers alike, this cupcake recipe is my ‘thanks’ to you, for sticking with me and enjoying food together!

These cupcakes have the most amazing texture; they are dense and very moist and not to sweet, thanks to the sweet potato. They remind me of the flavors of a sweet potato casserole- cloves, cinnamon and ginger. But the pièce de résistance is topping these little buggers with candied bacon. Sweet and salty is delicious, don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise.

I brought these to a coworker’s baby shower and they seemed to be a big hit. I mean, bacon plus dessert? C’mon!  🙂

Oh yes, these are topped with pillows of whipped cream cheese frosting

Sweet Potato Cupcakes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbl honey
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°.  Combine the flour, salt, baking soda and powder in a bowl, set aside. Mash the sweet potatoes with the cinnamon, ginger, cloves and honey, set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed with an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes until whipped looking. Add in the sugar and continue beating on high until fluffy, about 3 more minutes. Add eggs one at a time, and then mix in vanilla. Stir in the sweet potatoes until combined. Add flour mixture, beat until combined. Divide the batter evenly between 24 cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 0z cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar

Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together on high speed for 3 minutes. Gradually stir in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Continue beating on medium speed for 5 minutes or more, until the frosting looks very fluffy and airy. Get ready to frost!

Candied Bacon

  • 5 strips of bacon
  • brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°. On a foil lined baking sheet, arrange the bacon in a single layer. Grab a handful of brown sugar and sprinkle it over the bacon. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven and flip. Bake for another 12-15 minutes, until the sugar starts to carmalize and the bacon crisps up. Remove from the baking sheet and transfer the bacon to a separate plate to cool. Once cooled, snip the bacon into 1 inch pieces with kitchen shears and top the frosted cupcakes with one piece.

Enjoy!

– Erin