Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sausage and Leek Casserole

This is a recipe that I have been making for a few years now. It is wonderful to have breakfast ready and in the refrigerator in the morning so you only have to pop it in the oven. Especially when it is starting to get cold out, I want to stay in bed and under the covers for as long as humanly possible. You will find that many times I substitute beef and pork for chicken or turkey. Simply put, I do this to try and keep it more healthy. There are times when I do cook it with all the fats and meats that I should, but generally I try to cut calories while still having a full flavor and delicious meal. The original recipe for this meal came from Food Network and can be found here. I changed a few things around so I will post the original recipe and then show you what I did differently. This is one that I have made on Christmas morning in addition to a french toast casserole. I like to have the meals ready and waiting for me!

Sausage and Leek Casserole

  • 2 cups leeks, cut in rings, rinsed thouroughly
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage hot turkey sausage links (casing removed)
  • 1/2 loaf french baguette bread
  • 1 cup grated cheddar (I decided to use 2 cups of mozzarella instead of the cheddar and pepper jack)
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese I have used the cheddar and jack cheese and it is great, but I had lots of mozzarella to use, so that is what I am using. I am all for using the cheddar and jack though~
  • 6 large eggs I used egg beaters instead of eggs. This is a very easy way to ditch a bunch of calories anf fat. You lose 4 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat and about 45 calories PER EGG. By substituting for egg beaters. I never notice a difference in casseroles when making this change. You would need to use 1 1/2 cups of egg beaters to equal 6 eggs.
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

The first thing that you should do is to deal with the leeks. Leeks are a *very* dirty vegetable. Slice them into rings and then soak them in a bowl full of water for about 10 minutes to let the dirt work its way off of them. Give them a swish and the grit/dirt should fall to the bottom.

Next you need to take the casing off the turkey links. *if you didn't use turkey links then you can skip this part.

Pull the casing off and crumble all of the turkey sausage into a bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add the leeks to the pan with a pinch of salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne. Cook the leeks about 5 minutes or until translucent.

When the leeks are ready, add the sausage to the pan and cook for 8 minutes or until the sausage is cooked through and slightly browned.

When the sausage mixture is done, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. If you don't let it cool before you build the casserole it could start cooking your eggs, which you do not want!

Cut the loaf french baguette in half and then slice in evenly. Cut those pieces into quarters.

Spray the bottom of your 9x9 pan with cooking spray. Scatter the bread cubes across the bottom the pan and cover it with 1 cup of the shredded cheese (if you are using the cheddar/jack combo, this is where you add the cheddar).

Once the sausage mixture has cooled slighlty, spread it evenly over the top of the cheese.

In a bowl, combine the egg beaters (or eggs) with the cream, milk, the remaining 1/8 tsp of cayenne and a pinch of salt & pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the top of the sausage.

Cover the sausage mixture with the other 1 cup of shredded cheese. *if you are using the cheddar/jack combo, this is where you add the jack.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, remove the casserole from the refrigerator and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes or until a knife is removed cleanly from the middle. Let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.


Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

YUM ! I'll have to try this for Christmas brunch for sure!

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