In the Kitchen With ... Linda Roberts, Alpharetta From a special Atlanta Journal-Constitution feature in which readers nominate their favorite home cooks.
Nominated by friend and co-worker Cindy Thompson: "Have you ever seen someone whose idea of relaxing is cooking a free breakfast for 100 or so friends? [Linda] learned at the knee of her grandmother and loves to share her down-home Southern cooking with everyone." See vegetarian option below.
Hands on time: 25 minutes Total time: 1 hour Serves: 12
6 slices bread 1 pound breakfast sausage or 8 ounces of thawed and crumbled (uncooked) vegetarian breakfast patties 1 teaspoon vegetable oil 1/2 large sweet onion, diced 1 cup broccoli florets 1 (7-ounce) can mushrooms, drained 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese 12 eggs 1 1/2 cups half-and-half 1/2 teaspoon salt 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, and line the bottom with the slices of bread. In a large skillet, cook the breakfast sausage. Transfer the sausage to a large mixing bowl; drain the fat from the pan, and wipe it clean. Add the vegetable oil, and cook the onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Add it to the bowl with the sausage. In a small saucepan, cook the broccoli in a small amount of water until the broccoli turns bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the broccoli, and add it to the mixing bowl. To the sausage mixture, add the mushrooms, tomatoes and grated cheese. Stir to combine, and then spread the mixture evenly over the bread in the baking dish. Break the eggs into the mixing bowl, and beat well with the half-and-half, salt and pepper. Carefully pour the egg mixture over the sausage mixture. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until casserole is semi-firm and puffed in the center.
Tester's note: To reduce the cholesterol and fat count, you can use reduced-fat cheese and leave out some or all of the egg yolks. You can also substitute 8 ounces of thawed and crumbled (uncooked) vegetarian breakfast patties for the cooked sausage. You can assemble this dish the night before and bake it in the morning, or you can cook it and store it in the refrigerator for a few days. Reheat individual pieces in the microwave.