Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hearty Egg Casserole

If you've never tasted a farm fresh egg, you haven't lived.

I didn't know this until my former co-worker Kevin started raising chickens. He often shared extra eggs with those of us on staff who wanted them. The flavor is so good that there is no need to add  anything — the eggs can easily stand on their own.

It's like the difference between a tomato from the garden and one you buy in the grocery store. No comparison. Fresh eggs from chickens that eat a varied diet and roam free pack a richer punch to the palette.

So I didn't think it was possible to get farm-fresh taste from grocery store eggs. Not so! The folks at Blue Sky Family Farms asked us to give their free range, organic, humanely raised eggs a try.

These beauties are the real thing. The shells are harder, the yolks are a deep orange color and the flavor tastes like eggs should.

We tried these brown eggs by themselves in scrambled and fried versions. The eggs are light and fluffy and simply delicious. They'd also be perfect for Soft Boiled Eggs or Spring on Toast.

My brother Greg happened to be visiting when the Blue Sky Family Farms eggs arrived, so we decided to use a dozen in a casserole, We wanted to see how the eggs hold up when baked with cheese, potatoes, sausage and tomatoes. Greg is always experimenting in the kitchen and gets the credit for this recipe. You can serve this egg bake at breakfast, lunch or dinner, with toast, fruit or even a green salad.

Finally, if you're not raising your own chickens or don't have access to farm fresh eggs, you can find Blue Sky Family Farms eggs at many grocery stores in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio and Kentucky.

Mangia! Mangia!

Hearty Egg Casserole

1 15 ounce can sliced white potatoes
1 dozen eggs
2/3 cup half and half
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 to 1 cup cooked sausage crumbles
1 brick of Gruyere cheese, sliced (between 1/2 pound and 1 pound)
2 tomatoes, sliced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13 inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray.

Place sliced potatoes in a singe layer in bottom of pan. Sprinkle sausage on top of potatoes.

Crack eggs into a medium bowl, add half and half and salt and pepper. Whisk together until yolks are broken and incorporated into mixture. Pour eggs into pan over sausage and potatoes.

Lay slices of Gruyere evenly in pan.

Top with sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Place in oven on middle rack and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until casserole is puffed and light browned on top.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Blue Sky Family Farms free range eggs are packaged in the pretty carton above.

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