Kabocha, Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole

Christmas is almost here! Less than a week away and one of the most important meal times for my family on Christmas day is breakfast! Of course, no one ever wants to wait for a delicious hearty breakfast on Christmas morning because there is too much excitement going on! That is why I usually  make a breakfast casserole. The preparation is done the night before so all you have to do is pop it in the oven while opening presents! 


This is my first time making a breakfast casserole with kabocha squash, but I loved how it turned out! Kabocha squash tastes similar to butternut squash, pumpkin or sweet potatoes. Now... I have made breakfast casseroles with sweet potatoes and white potatoes so I thought this squash would make a wonderful substitute for the higher carb laden potatoes. It makes a slightly sweet and savory casserole that my family enjoyed! That makes this mama happy!


I usually find kabocha squash at Trader Joes, but for some reason my Trader Joes no longer carried it. I finally found it at my local grocery store, Vons. They are also commonly found in Asian markets.


Take your kabocha squash and slice it in half. They have very tough skin and can be difficult to cut. Use a sharp knife and watch those fingers! Scoop out all the seeds and goop with a spoon and throw them away. Cut each half into wedges and then cut away the skin.


Cut the wedges into chunks so they can fit in the tube of your food processor. 

Preparing the kabocha squash is the hardest part in preparing the casserole. Well not hard, but time consuming. I wish they sold it already prepared in grocery stores! I know Trader Joes sells butternut squash already peeled and cut into chunks. I hope they will do the same to kabocha squash :)


Put the chunks of kabocha squash in a food processor with the shredding disc. You don't have to use a food processor but it makes it so much easier to grate and you save time! It would definitely be a great investment if you don't already have one!


Shredded kabocha squash! 

One whole kabocha squash is going to give you more than 2 1/2 cups needed for the recipe. You can freeze the chunks of leftover squash. Use them later to roast, throw them into stews or mash up as a substitute for mashed potatoes. They are so versatile!

Here is a link that explains how you can freeze them. Click HERE.


Layer the shredded kabocha squash in a prepared 9 x 13 inch glass casserole dish. If you are going to cook it the next day, I would use one of those disposable foil pans instead of a glass dish because glass can break if you put it directly from the cold fridge to the hot oven.


Next, add the red bell peppers. You can actually use any veggies you like. I had some red peppers I wanted to get rid of so I used those. Feel free to add more veggies since you still have 2 more servings of veggies per serving to make up your full Lean and Green for the day. Mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, yellow squash, assorted peppers are all good options.


Then sprinkle Jimmy Dean turkey sausage crumbles on top of the veggies. Use a food scale to measure out 6 ounces.


No thawing required. They will bake wonderfully into the casserole and give it the delicious flavor I remember from numerous Christmas breakfast casseroles.


Whisk a dozen eggs together.


Add your spices. I love sage because it has a sweet savory flavor that matches the flavor of this casserole. It pairs nicely with sausage and winter squash.


Pour the egg mixture over the sausage.


Sprinkle sharp cheddar cheese on top and bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy!



Kabocha, Sausage and Egg Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups kabocha squash, shredded (5 Greens)
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced (1 Green)
6 ounces Jimmy Dean turkey sausage crumbles (1 Lean)
12 eggs (4 Leans)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (1/2 Condiment)
1 tsp dried sage (1/2 Condiment)
1/2 tsp salt (2 Condiments)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper (1 Condiment)
1 cup 2% reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese (1 Lean)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly spray a 9 x 13 inch glass casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside. If making this the night before, use a 9 x 13 inch disposable foil pan.

Cut the kabocha squash in half with a large sharp knife using a rocking motion. Scoop out the seeds and goop with a spoon. Not sure what to call it, so goop it is :)

Cut the squash halves into wedges. Remove the skin with a knife. 

Cut the wedges into large chunks so they can fit into the tube of the food processor and then shred. They don't have to be cut nicely because they are going to be shredded anyways. 

Measure out 2 1/2 cups of shredded kabocha squash and spread out along the bottom of the prepared casserole dish.

Sprinkle the diced red bell pepper over the kabocha squash.

Spread the Jimmy Dean turkey sausage crumbles over the kabocha squash and peppers. No need to thaw the sausage.

Combine eggs, almond milk, sage, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Whisk thoroughly. Pour the egg mixture over the sausage.

If you are cooking it in the morning, cover with foil and place in the fridge.

Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake uncovered for about 40 to 45 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. You may need additional baking time if it was in the fridge the night before. Allow to cool slightly. Divide into 6 equal portions.

Don't forget to add 2 more Greens per serving to complete your Lean and Green for the day! Enjoy!

6 Servings with 1 Lean, 1 Green, and 1 Condiment


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PECAN TASSIES

Everyone seems to have their own favorite Pecan Tassie recipe, but the crust in 99% of the recipes out there is the same..... flour, butter and cream cheese.

This year, I added just a little extra something to the crust part of the recipe and it made a HUGE difference to the overall cookie, they were a big hit.

Tassie Crust
1 cup butter (room temperature)
6 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream the butter and cream cheese (with electric mixer) until it is light and fluffy. Add rest of the ingredients and beat until the dough comes cleanly away from the inside walls of your mixing bowl. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for one hour.


Tassie Filling
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Beat the eggs until very well mixed and lemon colored. Stir in everything else.


ASSEMBLYRoll pastry into 1 inch balls and place them into an ungreased mini-muffin pan. Using your fingers, press the balls of dough into the bottom of each cup and up the sides. (I use the floured end of my rolling pin to press the dough into place instead of my fingers). Put a few chopped pecans in the bottom of each pastry shell and top with about a tablespoon of filling. (see note)

Bake in pre-heated 375F oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is set, yet still a little soft in the center. Remove from oven and sit the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before you try to lift them out. Lift tassies out of pan and cool on a wire rack.

NOTE: Keep in mind that the filling puffs a little as it bakes, so don't overfill the unbaked shells. If you overfill them, they will be harder to get out. For those stubborn Tassies that want to stick, just use the tip of a knife to help you lift them out of the pan.
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Zucchini "Noodles" with Sesame Peanut Sauce

I was craving a quick and easy noodle salad and this recipe fit the bill! Nowadays... I do not eat pasta so my noodle salad wasn't made up of noodles at all, but it was still incredibly delicious! I used spiralized zucchini in this dish. I have used spiralized yellow squash, spaghetti squash or even cabbage as my pasta. All of them would have worked for this dish, but zucchini is what I had on hand. 


Trust me when I say this... I did not miss the pasta at all. I loved the crunchiness and freshness of the veggies and there was tons of spicy Asian flavor coming from the sesame peanut sauce that complimented the veggies.


The easiest way to spiralize your veggies is with a spiralizer of course :) I have mentioned the Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Slicer being my favorite one numerous times in a variety of posts. You can get it HERE on Amazon, but I think they have a five blade spiralizer which is the same price as the tri blade one. Go check them out!


The Paderno Spiral Slicer makes the zucchini into beautiful spirals in no time at all. Measure out 2 1/2 cups.


Chop up 1/2 cup of red bell pepper. I love the red, orange, and yellow bell peppers the most because they are sweeter and have an almost fruity flavor compared to green bell peppers which have a slightly bitter taste.


Toss the spiralized zucchini and red peppers together in a medium sized bowl.


Some of the ingredients used to make the Sesame Peanut Sauce.


Along with powdered peanut butter, also known as PB2. It is less fat, calories and carbs than regular peanut butter.


You do not need to add this, but I added a very small amount to the sauce because I wanted to sweeten it up just a bit. When I mean a little bit, I mean a very light sprinkle.


Combine the sauce ingredients and mix it well.


Pour the sauce over the veggies.


Stir until the veggies are evenly coated.


I added some shrimp for my Lean that was already peeled and cooked. I just take them from the freezer and run them under warm water for a few minutes to defrost them or leave them out on the counter for about an hour. This shrimp is so convenient on busy weekdays. Love them!

A wonderful healthy meal that is so easy to make. There is absolutely no excuse for not making healthy choices when we are busy. Enjoy!



Zucchini "Noodles" 
with Sesame Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups spiralized zucchini (5 Greens)
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced (1 Green)
4 tbsp powdered peanut butter (2 Snacks)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (1/4 Condiment)
1 tbsp soy sauce (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (1 Condiment)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (1 Condiment)
2 tsp sriracha sauce (2 Condiments)
2 tsp sesame oil (2 Healthy Fats)
2 tsp water
Light sprinkle of a NuStevia packet (Optional)

Directions:

Combine spiralized zucchini and diced red pepper in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the powdered peanut butter, water, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, garlic powder, ground ginger, sriracha sauce and sesame oil together until mixed thoroughly.

Add the sesame peanut sauce to the zucchini and red pepper. You can also add a light sprinkle of NuStevia. Stir until the vegetables are coated evenly.

You can also add your favorite Leaner Lean or Leanest Lean. I chose shrimp! Because shrimp is a Leaner Lean, you would still need to add another healthy fat per serving.

2 Servings with 3 Greens, 2.6 Condiments, 1 Healthy Fat and 1 Snack per Serving


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