Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas Morning 2011

Part of our Christmas morning tradition is that I make cinnamon rolls and a breakfast casserole. These are a rich treat my family looks forward to every year. Sausage breakfast casserole is easy because I just pop it into the oven, as it is prepared the night before. The cinnamon rolls are a tradition that our family in Greece (thank you Heidi) passed to us. I remember being only 19 years old and Heidi telling me about how she makes cinnamon rolls for her kids each Christmas, and I thought it was a nice tradition that could connect us across the miles. I've made them for our children every year. I believe these types of connections make the food prepared taste even better, because it is made with loving thoughts.

I always think of loved ones and friends whenever I cook. I often find myself listening to music from the 40's while baking, because it makes me remember days in the kitchen with my Nannie as a young girl. She used to LOVE listening to old Standards. I wonder if when Amanda Lily and Steven are parents, they will bake to Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, and be taken back to our kitchen. I hope so. The thought warms me.

Sausage Casserole
1 16oz package sausage (I have used turkey and pork)
8 slices of sourdough bread cut into cubes
2/3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 cups 2% low fat milk, divided
1 cup egg substitute
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 (10.75oz) can of cream of mushroom soup (I use reduced sodium)
*This needs to be prepared the night before.*

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Add sausage to pan and cook until browned and crumbled. Arrange bread in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray. Top evenly with cooked sausage and cheddar cheese. Combine 2 1/2 cups of milk, egg substitute, and dijon mustard, stirring with a whisk. Pour over bread mixture in dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk remaining 1/2 cup of milk and soup. Pour over bread mixture and bake for 1 hour or until browned. I bake for 1 1/2 hours because my family enjoys a crispy crust. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Yields 8 servings.

Steven is growing to enjoy Science. Santa brought  him a telescope.
Amanda Lily is still a girly girl who loves her dolls. Santa brought her an American Girl.

My most memorable gift this year was from Amanda Lily. She wrote a book for George and me. It is absolutely precious. Here is the "forward" and picture on page one. The book is 15 pages long, so this is just a sampling. 

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