The Outlook brought back eight previous winners of the newspaper's annual recipe contest and challenged them to impress the judges with their favorite breakfast casserole.
Apparently, a casserole containing eggs and any other ingredient is an automatic winner.
Eight dishes with eggs, complimented by yummy sidekicks like bacon, sausage and the all important melted cheese, produced some tough choices.
But the judges, who included several hungry men, a couple culinary literate women and one very pregnant writer, chose Bob Horswell's Breakfast Soufflé as the dish their families could be served come Christmas morning.
'I cannot believe you're telling me I won,' Horswell said when called about his honors. 'I'd never made the casserole before, and I never even tasted it. I'm just glad everybody liked it.'
For his award-winning recipe, Horswell will receive a holiday apron, provided by Terry and Jodi Smoke and the Troutdale General Store.
Horswell's soufflé featured a wonderful combination of pork sausage, grated cheese and milk, poured over cubed bread and baked to a light texture. It won big points for its ease of preparation, as well as its ability to be assembled the night before.
A breakfast casserole, Horswell said, was something new for him. He is most noted for his Macaroons. So he contacted his niece in Washington, D.C., for inspiration, and she emailed him a recipe she favored from a Kennedy Center cookbook.
'I had never cubed bread before,' Horswell said. 'And I didn't know anything about breakfast casseroles. It took me a little time to make, but my wife tells me I'm just too picky.'
Reporter Mara Stine, mother of two young daughters, was especially smitten by the recipe's simplicity and day-ahead preparation.
'Making it the night before is a bonus for me,' she wrote in her comments. 'Otherwise, the kids would be stuck with Fruit Loops on Christmas morning.'
Second-place honors went to Jim and Mary Lynn Sutton, for an original creation they called the Sutton Family Brunch. The dish includes three varieties of cheese, ham and cubed French bread, smothered in sour cream and more cheese.
The Suttons are hardly timid chefs. They enjoy brainstorming over new dishes, but never mess with cookie recipes, according to Mary Lynn.
'We read cookbooks and then make our own recipes,' Jim said. 'Our daughter asked me once how she would know to make one of our dishes, since I have all the ingredients in my head. So we made a cookbook of all the recipes we've devised.'
BOOM Editor Janie Nafsinger proclaimed the Sutton Family Brunch, 'My fave! Everything's better with bacon!'
Judy Bond's Roasted Pepper Frittata came in a close third, followed by Cherie Wallace's Breakfast Oven Omelet. Other notable dishes were submitted by Betty Bledsoe, with her Hamburger Casserole; Imogene Wilner with Mama Viv's Egg Bake; Mary Nelson's Sunday Brunch Bake; and Paula Kirnan's Breakfast Casserole. The four winning recipes can be found at right and below, with all the recipes available at theoutlookonline.com.
Reporter Anne Endicott can be reached at [email protected]
line.com or by calling 503-492-5118.
Outlook contest entry recipes.
12 slices bread, buttered and cubed
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 cup grated white cheddar cheese
1 pound fresh pork sausage, cooked and crumbled
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk, mixed into the eggs
Pinch of sage, salt and pepper
Layer half the sausage, bread cubes and grated cheeses. Repeat layer. Pour the eggs and milk mixture over all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
Recipe from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Sutton Family Brunch
Jim and Mary Lynn Sutton
1 pound bacon
1 loaf French bread, crusts removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups ham, diced
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon dry mustard
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of parsley
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Brown bacon and set aside.
Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with bite-sized French bread pieces. Layer three different cheeses on top of bread, along with ham. Sprinkle with green onions.
Combine the eggs, milk, mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large bowl and beat until foamy. Pour over the ingredients in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for eight to 12 hours.
Remove the casserole from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Remove plastic wrap and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour. Remove the foil. Spread the sour cream over the top and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes longer or until golden brown. Garnish with sliced tomatoes.
Roasted Pepper Frittata
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Prepare the broiler. Cut all the bell peppers in half lengthwise and remove stems, seeds and ribs. Place them cut-side down on a baking sheet and broil until the skins blacken and blister. Cover the peppers loosely with foil and let cool for 10 minutes. Using your fingers or a small knife, remove the pepper skins. Cut the peppers lengthwise into ¼ inch wide strips.
Combine the pepper strips, garlic, vinegar, oregano and salt and pepper. Let the mixture marinate for 30 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and Parmesan cheese until frothy. Add the pepper mixture and mix well. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a 10-inch non-stick ovenproof frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium high heat Add the egg and pepper mixture and when it starts to set, lift the edges of the frittata with a spatula so that some of the uncooked egg mixture runs underneath. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the bottom is set but the top is still runny, about eight to 10 minutes.
Transfer the pan to the preheated oven and cook until the eggs are set on top and golden brown on the bottom, about six to seven minutes.
Remove the frittata from the oven and loosen with a spatula. Invert the frittata onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.
Breakfast Oven Omelet
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Mix all ingredients in blender or food processor. Add eight ounces favorite shredded cheese. Pulse until well blended.
Spray a pie plate or 8-inch cake pan with PAM. Scatter in bottom of pan your choice of vegetables (diced peppers, diced onion, diced cooked potato, cooked mushrooms, diced zucchini, etc.) and diced breakfast meats (bacon, ham, sausage). Pour egg mixture over veggies and meat. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until cooked throughout. Cut into slices and serve warm or at room temperature. This reheats well in the microwave.
Note: Cherie's omelet served for judging was made with bacon, diced red pepper, diced green onion and Provolone cheese.
Momma Viv's Egg Bake
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Use a wire whip to blend above ingredients. Pour into a greased 8-by-8-inch casserole dish.
Sprinkle with one cup grated cheese and one cup cooked ham, diced.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until golden brown in color or set.
Optional ingredients include mushrooms, olives, bacon, onion, parsley, etc.
1 pound Italian sausage (can use turkey sausage)
I onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 cups fresh mushroom, sliced
3/4 cups Half and Half
12 ounces shredded cheese, divided (Paula used Colby Jack for the contest)
Brown the sausage, onion, mushroom and red pepper in a frying pan. Pour off any grease or liquid. Spread evenly in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Beat eggs together with half and half; mix in half the shredded cheese. Pour egg mixture on top of the sausage and top with remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove the cover and bake for one hour at 325 degrees.
Sunday Brunch Bake
12 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 pound pork sausage
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 package (8 ounces) Kraft Finely Shredded Triple Cheddar Cheese
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Beat eggs and sour cream with whisk until well blended. Pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake 10 minutes or until egg mixture is softly set.
Meanwhile, cook sausage, mushrooms and onions in a large skillet on medium heat six to eight minutes or until sausage is thoroughly cooked, stirring occasionally. Drain.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Spoon tomatoes over egg layer. Cover with sausage mixture and cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until center is set.
Note: Mary added cooked peppers on top for color and seasoned the casserole to taste.
1 unbaked 10-inch pie shell
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup milk or Half and Half
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 cup cheese, grated
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
3 or 4 fresh mushrooms
Brown meat and mushrooms in skillet over medium heat. Drain fat and set aside. Blend next five ingredients together until smooth, then stir in meat, cheese, onion and pepper. Turn into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.
Note: recipe can be doubled to use in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Increase baking time to 40 to 50 minutes.