August 6, 2007

Can You Freeze Eggs? *Yes, You Can!*

I'm having planning issues. I have avoided mentioning this up until now, but dang it, I am. And I hate to admit that, too.

We are going to host a brunch 2 weeks after the baby is born (on a Saturday at 10:30, if you're curious). Yes, I am aware that I will be 2 weeks postpartum. Yes, I understand what hosting a brunch entails. I'm telling you, I can do it. I will enlist help, but yes, I can do this. And I will do it. Please don't be one of the 1,258 people that have told me I am crazy. I assure you, I am not.

I have the invitations already designed, though they won't be printed until she's born and her name is announced. I can approximate the total headcount at about 30 people.

I plan on serving the following:

Breakfast Strata (Casserole)
Sausage links
Fruit Salad with Dip
Croissants
Banana bread
Cupcakes (1/2 pumpkin, 1/2 chocolate)
Mimosas and plain OJ

I am hung up on deciding on which of the following Breakfast Strata recipes to use:



First, doesn't the photo look delicious?

Recipe 1
12-16 servings 1¾ hours 30 min prep
1 lb sliced bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 cups chopped cooked ham
1 small onion, chopped
8-10 slices white bread, cubed
2 cups cubed cooked potatoes
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (12 oz)
8 eggs
3 cups milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
salt and pepper

In a skillet, cook bacon until done.
Remove bacon from skillet, leaving drippings in the pan.
Add ham and onion to skillet.
Cook and stir until onion is tender.
Drain grease from ham and onion.
In a bowl, combine bacon, ham, and onion.
In a greased 13x9x2 baking dish, layer half the bread cubes, potatoes, and cheese, in that order.
Top with all of the bacon mixture.
Repeat another layer of bread, potatoes, and cheese.
In a bowl, beat the eggs.
Add milk, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, and pepper to the eggs.
Pour over all in the baking dish.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 65-70 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.


Recipe 2 (requires doubling for each dish)

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 pound spicy or mild pork sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups frozen diced hash brown potatoes, thawed (about 16 ounces)
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
mild salsa, optional

PREPARATION:
In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion, breaking up sausage with a spatula. When sausage is cooked through, drain off excess fat.
In an 8x8x2-inch square baking dish, layer the hash brown potatoes, half of the shredded cheese, browned sausage and onion mixture, and remaining shredded cheese.

In a bowl, combine eggs, milk and pepper; pour egg mixture over cheese.

Bake, covered, in a 350° oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Transfer casserole to a wire rack and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

Cut into squares. Serve with salsa, if desired.
Serves 6.



No easy decision there, my friends. In addition, I need to make the casseroles up in advance. I'm not sure if I should, to tell you the truth. I mean, freezing EGGS? Can it even be done? Can it be done well? I'm still looking into this. I may need to pray about it, lol. Seriously. I need to be able to make these dishes up ahead of time, stick them in my freezer, and then thaw and cook them the morning of the brunch. I *need* to be able to do this so that I can concentrate on 1) the baby, 2) the kids, DH, and impending guests (and yes, that means enlisting help to clean the house, and 3) the other parts of the menu.


**UPDATE**

Thanks to my online friends, I have learned that you CAN, in fact, freeze eggs. The best way for me to orchestrate this little shindig would be to make the breakfast bakes ahead of time and then freeze them. Then, I'll pull them out to thaw the day before they need to be reheated. Voila.


I found this yummy recipe for banana bread, too:




1 - 9x5 inch loaf

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Yummmm...... Fall, anyone?

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