I have had to cut out dairy for nursing. I initially thought it was going to be a huge pain, but it actually hasn’t been so bad. I have gotten used to reading ingredient lists on everything, staying away from Italian, and ordering cheeseless pizza (is it really pizza if it doesn’t have cheese?!?). Did I mention that I really miss cheese? And ice cream? Oh, and casseroles!
A few weeks before I gave birth, my Mom came to stay and we spent days making casseroles and filling our freezer for after the baby was born. Little did I know that those meals we prepared would be off limits for at least a few months. And now those sad little casseroles – brimming with milk and cheesy goodness – are still sitting there, collecting frost bite. Including my favorite – a dish we call “breakfast before.”
So when I had to make a dish for our MOPS group, I wanted to bring something dairy free. I searched the internet for a good dairy-free egg casserole, but couldn’t really find anything I liked the look of. And I was determined to come up with something tasty – after all, giving up dairy doesn’t have to mean bland food! I started with my Mom’s famous “breakfast before” egg casserole – I added some sweet potatoes, onions & peppers in place of the cheese. And a few more eggs in place of the milk. And after a couple of tweaks, here is what I came up with. Hope some other folks will enjoy it as much as we did!
1 lb spicy sausage
1/2 onion, chopped
6-8 sweet mini peppers, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 sweet potatoes, pealed & cut into cubes
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how much spice you like)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 slices white sandwich bread (be sure to check the label for dairy!), cubed
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
- In a large pan/pot with a lid, cook the sausage over medium-high heat. Once cooked, remove sausage and set aside. Drain the sausage, but leave the drippings in the pan.
- To the same pan, add the chopped onion, mini peppers, and garlic. Cook for several minutes until vegetables are soft.
- Add the sweet potatoes and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes just start to become tender (but not too mushy) – about 10 minutes. Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste
- Into a large greased casserole dish, layer 1/2 bread, 1/2 sausage, and 1/2 sweet potato mixture. Repeat with the remaining bread, sausage, and potatoes.
- In a large bowl beat eggs with water, salt, and dry mustard.
- Pour egg mixture over the top of the layers in the casserole dish, pressing down to make sure all the layers are soaked.
- Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning, place casserole (uncovered) into a cold oven. Preheat to 375 and bake for 45 minutes, or until egg is cooked through.
- Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.