Healthy Egg Casserole

As April showers bring the promise of May flowers, I find myself yearning for Christmas morning.

Why, you ask? Do I wish for snow and colder weather? Definitely not. Do I want to snuggle up with a blanket and watch my favorite Christmas movies? Confession: I do that anyway. (Hanna quirks: I am constantly cold, and I firmly believe Elf was created to generate giggles and joy all year long.) The real root of my desire is simple, special, delectable, and dreamy all rolled into one dish: egg casserole.

Although the menu for my family’s Christmas breakfast varies from year to year, egg casserole is a staple that has earned a permanent spot in the buffet lineup. Fluffy in texture, hearty in nature, and loaded with sausage and cheese in every bite, egg casserole is absolutely divine. A few modifications to the original recipe transform this holiday favorite into a healthy everyday meal known as Healthy Egg Casserole. In this recipe, the key players (eggs, whole milk, white bread, pork sausage, and cheese) have been replaced with their healthful counterparts (Egg Beaters, almond milk, whole wheat bread, turkey sausage crumbles, and fat-free cheese); however, the end result is every bit as flavorful.

Healthy Egg Casserole is extravagant enough for a fancy weekend brunch, but easy enough for a weeknight dinner. (Another quirk of mine: eating breakfast for dinner, often.) Because the dish can be prepared in ten minutes the night before you serve it, this casserole is the perfect choice for lazy Saturday mornings. All you have to do is pop it in the oven when you wake up and allow it to bake while you sip your coffee. This recipe yields a generous amount, but freezing the leftovers works like a charm! Heat in the microwave, and just like that you have a scrumptious weekday breakfast or even a protein-packed dinner in a pinch.

They say not to put all of your eggs in one basket. I agree; put them all in my Healthy Breakfast Casserole instead, and every morning can feel like Christmas morning!

Healthy Egg Casserole

Yields: 12 servings

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups cooked turkey sausage crumbles (about 10 ounces)
2 cups egg substitute (or 8 eggs) + 2 large eggs
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 thin slices whole wheat bread, cubed (I use Sara Lee Delightful bread – only 45 calories per slice!)
1 cup fat-free cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

If turkey sausage is not already fully cooked, brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Drain and transfer to a bowl lined with paper towels.

Whisk egg substitute, eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sausage, bread cubes, and almost all of the cheese, saving approximately 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake uncovered for 45 – 55 minutes. Freeze leftovers.

NUTRITION
Servings: 12
Calories: 120
Fat: 3.6g
Carbs: 11.2g
Sugar: 1.1g
Fiber: 3.5g
Protein: 14.3g

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