THE RECIPE BOX: Breakfast casserole good for any time of day

Photo by Michael Buckelew

Photo by Michael Buckelew

Jane Watts and her husband Mark have been residents of Conyers for about 29 years. They love this community and the small town atmosphere.

When their three children -- Erin, Drew and Cooper -- were younger, she figured out that the more she cooked, the longer her children's friends stayed around the house.

She had no qualms with that. She knew where her children were and felt good that they were all in a safe environment.

Jane learned how to cook from her mother but she has also experimented a lot on her own. She swapped recipes with friends and also with her Conyers Presbyterian Church Circle group.

At one of those monthly church circle meetings, Betsy Davenport brought in this breakfast casserole recipe and Jane has been cooking this have-it-any-time meal for about 22 years. I've personally learned that recipes shared at church meetings are some of the best.

Jane's favorite thing about this breakfast casserole is that it's so easy to make, yet it tastes like it took hours to prepare.

The Wattses have a tradition of serving this delicious dish for Christmas breakfast. But Jane has made it for showers, brunches and even for dinner.

"It feels like a hug" when you eat it, said Jane. And I agree with her.

One of the best parts about my conversation with Jane concerning her cooking is learning how her son Drew eats her out of house and home. She shared with me that she would often make a meal, have leftovers and think that she would already have dinner made for the next day. She would go to work, come home and the food would be gone.

She quickly learned that she had to leave notes on the food in the refrigerator that said, "Drew, do not eat this."

When Drew recently returned home from a tour of duty in Iraq, she made sure to have breakfast casserole made and ready for him to eat. This time there was no note -- he could eat every bit of it, just because he was home safe and sound.

Breakfast casserole

Start to finish: 1 hour (15 minutes active)

Six eggs

2 cups milk

Six slices of toast, cubed into small pieces, with or without crust

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 pound sausage (low fat or turkey sausage OK)

1 cup packed shredded cheddar cheese

Crumble and brown sausage, drain and cool.

Beat eggs; add milk, salt and mustard.

Stir in cubed toast, sausage and cheese.

Mix well.

Spray an 8-by-12 baking dish with Pam and pour in mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Tip: Let the casserole stand and cool for about 15 minutes before slicing into it.