Choosing JOY and Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

This Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole is a perfect breakfast for the holidays! The secret is to butter the bread before you lay it in the pan!

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole
Happy Monday, Friends! This is the week for me in December when things get hectic, pile up, overwhelm me, and I start to get a little grumpy! So, I’m reminding myself of this quote from my favorite author, Henri J.M. Nouwen:

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”

Yes, I want each day this holiday season to be magic, with sparkly lights and nights {fun movies with the fam}, good food on the table, gifts wrapped, cards done, relaxing and spreading holiday cheer. But that’s not quite reality!

Unmet expectations.

I tend to be unhappy, disappointed and let down when I can’t get everything on my list accomplished, or when my expectations are not met. I hate it when this happens, so this is when I reach deep within and pull out a little JOY.

It’s a peace that is experienced when the mental chatter of the mind is silenced–expectations, negative thoughts, worry, doubt, perfectionism—the things that rob us! It takes a little focus, so this is where “choosing joy” comes in!

For me, I’ve experienced joy by cooking for others, preparing and wrapping gifts, sending out the cards, hosting guests, watching our friends’ kids (so they can shop, and have some free time). It’s the simple things that always involve others!

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” -Henri J.M. Nouwen {ReluctantEntertainer.com}

Reach for joy.

So when I feel stressed, I reach for joy. Joy also comes from being grateful, feeling filled with connection (which is why we show hospitality a lot over the holidays), truthfulness, radiating love, and that twinkle of inspiration from remembering the Reason for the season. Joy settles deep.

Seriously, friends, did you catch what I said?

Joy comes when our joy cups are filled up — filled with connection.

It’s the sharing of our lives over the holidays that brings joy!

It’s such a simple concept, yet so many of us miss out on the one thing that can fill our hearts with love!

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole.

We have a tradition on Christmas to have my Dad and his wife over for either brunch or dinner. In the past I’ve made this delicious Cornish Game Hen recipe (yum!), and then for brunch, Ginny has brought our family-favorite Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole, and I’m sharing the recipe with you today.

The secret for the best flavor.

The secret to the flavor? Butter the bread before you lay it in the pan!

You can make the dish vegetarian or add your favorite meat.

Make up a day or two before you need to serve it. I know why breakfast casseroles are so popular. It’s for the “cooks” that want to be prepared!

How do you keep a joyful attitude during this crazy month?

Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole

This Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole is a perfect breakfast for the holidays! The secret is to butter the bread before you lay it in the pan!
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Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole

Make this vegetarian, or add your favorite meat (sausage, ham, bacon).
Cook Time1 hr
Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • Loaf of sliced bread white or wheat or sprouted wheat work, crusts trimmed off
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 lb. pre-cooked sausage bacon or ham
  • ½ lb. fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can diced chiles
  • 2 cups grated jack cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. basil
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. onion salt
  • ¼ tsp. dry mustard

Instructions

  • Place buttered, trimmed, bread slices in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan, overlapping each other – butter side up. Layer the grated sharp cheddar cheese, meat(s), mushrooms, chilies, and jack cheese.
  • Mix in a separate bowl the eggs, milk, paprika, basil, pepper, onion salt, and dry mustard.
  • Pour egg mixture over the layered ingredients. Cover with foil and chill overnight.
  • In the morning, remove the foil and bake at 325° for 1 hour, or until center is firm and does not jiggle. Depending on your oven, you may need to cook an additional 5 mintues.
  • Let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

23 comments on “Choosing JOY and Make Ahead Breakfast Casserole”

  1. Sandy, I simply LOVED this post! What a great reminder for us, thanks for the quote! This recipe looks more substantial and a bit healthier with the chilis and mushrooms… I bet sauteed onions would be a great addition, too. I’m looking forward to going through your blog now that I have found it!

  2. no need to cut off crusts ……and just an FYI this dish is called Strata . 

  3. When is the shredded jack cheese added? It’s not in the instructions.

  4. Similar to questions above, is the bread just a loaf of white sandwich bread with crust on?

  5. Is this just regular white sandwich bread? And with crusts trimmed?

  6. I have the same questions as above. Is the buttered side up or down? And is it the whole loaf, or just one layer of bread? Thanks!

  7. I have the same question as the gal before me. Is it one layer of bread or the whole loaf?

  8. Is there only 1 layer of bread and is the butter side up or down

  9. I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the holidays… so this is a wonderful reminder to keep things relaxed and surround ourselves with warm, happy people.

  10. This menu looks super delicious!

  11. Great Post, great recipe! Thank you!

  12. A few of my family members do not like mushrooms. Is it okay to leave those out of this recipe?

  13. I love the chilis in this casserole!! I need to kick my usual recipe up a notch!

  14. This message really hit home with me today. Thank you for that. I really needed to hear this today.

  15. Sandy,
    Thanks so much for sharing your challenges on this week before
    Christmas. I thought I was the only one that got overwhelmed, frustrated that I wasn’t doing things perfectly, and losing my Joy. And there is always Something that is unexpected that pops up to put me
    to the test. By forcing myself to make the decision to ‘live in the moment’ and enjoy what is at hand ……cooking, calling a distant friend as my verbal Christmas card, wrapping gifts, cleaning, etc…..to just decide to enjoy it and lay down the perfectionism….the peace returns.
    Thanks so much for the honest open sharing. You are a blessing.

  16. You’re so right. We often lose our sense of joy when dealing with all the extra expectations of the holidays. Truer words were never spoken.

  17. YUM! Looks so good and a great post and reminder. Thank you! To keep a joyful attitude I just simply remember the simplicity of life and that it is not about getting caught up in all the chaos that can surround me. I think of my family. I remind myself that if I’m running around trying to do things at the last minute, that it was my choice, so there’s no reason to be uptight.

  18. Wonderful post, Sandy. And I can’t wait to make this breakfast casserole!

  19. Another great post. Love make ahead breakfasts.

  20. Recipe looks great. And I love the quote “Joy doesn’t just happen to us. We have to keep choosing it every day”. Great thought!

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