I've had a lot of breakfast casseroles. I'm not sure how it is in other parts of the country, but in the south I feel like just about everyone I know has their own version of a breakfast casserole. In my family we've always used my grandmother's. Her breakfast casserole has been on the table for Christmas brunch since before I was born. It's a good, no gimmicks breakfast casserole. My family doesn't like it when people throw onions or peppers in, that ruins a perfectly good casserole (though I wouldn't object to mushrooms). My grandmother does it just right. I tell you this because I want you to realize that saying a recipe is better than my grandmother's is going against my entire upbringing. I blame Paula Dean.
This casserole has potatoes in it, something not in my grandmother's, and I think those really add to the overall makeup of it. It's incredibly cheesy and rich, and absolutely amazing. Will I try to get my grandmother to start serving this? Oh goodness no. Her recipe will be in my recipe book for the rest of my life..but it will be right beside this one, and this is the one that I will be using.
As a side note, Paula Dean's cookbook The Southern Cooking Bible is fantastic. I've linked to it on Amazon, so if you're feeling in the mood to buy a new cookbook today this is a great choice!
Sunday Morning Breakfast Casserole
Recipe from Paula Dean's The Southern Cooking Bible
6 slices day-old white bread (french bread works best)*
1 lb breakfast sausage
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced cooked, unpeeled red potatoes
1 1/2 cups mixed shredded Cheddar & Monterey Jack cheese
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Grease a 2.5-3 quart baking dish (attractive enough to bring to the table) with butter, oil, or cooking spray. Cube the bread and place in the dish in a single even layer.
2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until it's almost cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain off the fat. Layer the sausage over the bread, and top with potatoes. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard powder, salt, and black pepper to taste. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage and potatoes in the casserole. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4. When ready to cook the casserole, preheat the oven to 350. Bake the casserole until set and golden about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
*Recipe as written calls for two slices of bread. I adjusted this based on reader comments. If you are using big slices of thick bread you can go down from six. I would recommend using a sturdy, day-old white bread for best results. Regular sandwich bread won't give the same crunch of the crust, and it is more likely to get mushy.