Give your kids (or yourself) a cooked breakfast on a school-day morning. Make Breakfast Bake, with sausage and eggs, at the weekend and heat up in minutes every day for a fortnight.
When my children were young teenagers, my job moved to London, which meant we left the house at 7.30 each morning to drop them off at school before I went to the station. I'm a bit zealous about making sure children have breakfast, but it can be a challenge if you're getting up early anyway. Who wants to spend time extra cooking, or eating, instead of sleeping?
The Girl was fine with a yoghurt and banana in her bag to eat when she got to school, but that didn't suit the Boy at all, so I started to make this Breakfast Bake for him. I defrosted it overnight in a microwave tray, zapped it for a minute or two in the morning and he ate it in the car. I was satisfied that he'd had a decent breakfast and he loved it.
Key ingredients in Breakfast Bake
Sausages, eggs, milk and cheese. You can divide the finished bake into 8, 10, or 12 portions, depending on your child's age and appetite. So, in each serving, there is at least a sausage and about an egg (a bit less if you make 10-12 portions). The milk and cheese add protein and fat, and the bread gives them some more carbs. All in all, this breakfast will easily get a child (or adult - I have it myself sometimes) to lunchtime.
Sausagemeat or Sausages?
Preferably sausagemeat, but only because it's easier. If you use sausages you will need to skin them. It's not a difficult job, just a bit fiddly, and adds a few minutes to the prep time. Do check what's in the sausagemeat though, as sometimes the quality isn't as good. If you like a particular type of flavour sausage, use that.
If you have a slice or two of bacon that you want to use up, cut it up and add to the sausagemeat as you cook it.
Even if you don't usually eat wholemeal bread, it's disguised in the finished recipe, so you can't tell and it will add some fibre.
The recipe says 8 eggs. I use large eggs, so if they're medium I add another one or two. Also, if you want to use up an extra egg, just chuck it in. Unlike a cake recipe, this sort of bake is very tolerant about quantities.
Salt and pepper is optional and largely depends on how spicy or flavourful your sausages are. I usually add a little salt because there are a lot of eggs and they can be bland.
What Size Dish to Use for Breakfast Bake?
A 2-litre gratin dish is ideal, i.e. a fairly shallow rectangular dish. Mine measures 30cm x 23cm x 4cm. If your dish is deeper you will need to cook the bake for a bit longer, but that's fine. When the bread and sausagemeat mixture is in the dish you may feel that it won't take all the milk/egg mixture, but it does. Partly because the bread absorbs some, and partly because it just fills the gap!
So, if you're having trouble getting breakfast into the kids - especially boys - try a Breakfast Bake. In the morning you don't need to heat it up to be particularly hot - in fact it can be eaten cold - but just warming it slightly makes it a bit easier to eat, I think.
The Morning After the Night Before
This is also a brilliant recipe if you have a houseful of people to feed for breakfast. Make the recipe, but don't cook it, cover in clingfilm and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning remove the clingfilm, put the dish in the oven before you turn it on and cook, timing from when the oven is up to temperature. I've used it at New Year when the last thing you want to do in the morning is to cook, but you do want to eat.
Kenwood Hand Mixer - My old hand mixer - also a Kenwood - finally gave up the ghost after about 25 years. I replaced it last year with this model and it's a joy to use - even for just whisking up the eggs and milk for this recipe.
IF YOU LIKE THIS..
Why don’t you try:
- 250 g strong Cheddar cheese
- 8 large eggs
- 600 ml milk
- 900 g sausagemeat or sausages
- 4 slices wholemeal bread (160g)
- Salt and pepper
- Set the oven to 170°C/ 150°C fan/ gas mark 3/ 325°F
- Grease the gratin dish with butter
- Grate the cheese
- Whisk together the eggs and the milk with a little salt and pepper
- If the sausages are highly seasoned you may not need much seasoning. If you're using sausages, remove the skins
For the Breakfast Bake:
- Fry the meat over a MEDIUM heat for 4-5 minutes, breaking it up as you go.The end result will be crumbly, almost cooked, sausagemeat
- Tear the bread into smallish pieces and put in the dish. Mix the sausagemeat in with the bread
- Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top
- Pour the egg and milk mixture over and push down with the back of a spoon to make sure the bread is soaked
- Cook for 45 minutes or until the centre is cooked and the top is a light golden colour
- Serve immediately or cool in the dish, cut into portions and freeze individually.