Monday, March 09, 2009

Breakfast Casserole Recipe with Sweet Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Cheese

breakfast casseroleI've never been the most frugal of cooks, but now that I'm in the middle of house renovations, I'm more conscious lately about cooking what's in the fridge. Over the weekend I found two sweet Italian sausages, some leftover mushrooms, eggs, and cheese, and came up with this new version of breakfast casserole. As soon as I tasted it, I wondered why it took me so long to think of putting turkey Italian sausage in a breakfast casserole. With fewer eggs than my usual South Beach Diet friendly breakfast casseroles, this was like a baked frittata with eggs just binding the mixture together, letting the flavor of the sweet Italian sausage be the main attraction here.

Cook the turkey Italian sausage in a tiny bit of olive oil until it's well browned. This is a tiny frying pan, so it looks like more sausage than it really was. You could certainly use three sausage links, but this was delicious with only the two links I had left over.

I added low-fat cottage cheese mixed into the eggs, and I use this old strainer from the thrift store to rinse the cottage cheese. It's not especially photogenic, but perfect for a job like this.

Mix eggs with cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, and a bit of Spike seasoning, until egg whites and yolks are well blended.

This is my favorite baking dish that fits into my toaster oven, and first I layered mushrooms, then sausage, and then a small amount of low-fat pizza cheese.

Then pour the beaten egg mixture over those ingredients and stir gently with a fork. This breakfast casserole was nicely browned and done in 25 minutes.

Breakfast Casserole with Sweet Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, and Cheese
(Makes 6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn.)

(If you've never made this type of breakfast casserole with eggs, you might want to read this post about South Beach Diet Phase One Breakfast Casseroles, which gives variations and instructions for different sizes. This version uses less eggs and is flatter than I usually make, but it was a great variation.)

2 or 3 links sweet turkey Italian Sausage
1-2 tsp. olive oil + 1 T olive oil (more or less, depending on your pan)
1 lb. sliced mushrooms (I used plain white mushrooms, but Crimini mushrooms would be great)
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese, rinsed and drained
8 eggs, beaten until whites and yolks are well combined
1 tsp. Spike seasoning (optional but recommended, can also use any other spice blend you like with eggs)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese + 2 T for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup pizza cheese (a low-fat blend of Mozarella, Provolone, Romano, and Parmesan; can use other low-fat white cheese)
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Add 1-2 tsp. olive oil to a small frying pan, squeeze sweet turkey Italian sausage out of casings, and cook until sausage is done and starting to brown, about 5 minutes. I used the sharp side of a metal turner to break the sausage apart as it cooked.

While sausage cooks, put cottage cheese into a fine strainer, put strainer in sink and rinse cottage cheese gently with cold water and let drain. Wash mushrooms, spin or pat dry, slice, and brown in about 1 T olive oil in a separate pan.

Break eggs into a medium sized bowl, then beat with a fork until yolks and whites are well combined. Add Spike seasoning, drained cottage cheese, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and stir together.

Spray 9 X 13 glass or crockery casserole dish with olive oil or non-stick spray, then layer mushrooms, sausage, and pizza cheese. Pour egg mixture over other ingredients, then use a fork to gently stir so ingredients are well-distributed in eggs. Sprinkle 2 T Parmesan cheese over top and grind over some black pepper.

Bake casserole until eggs are set and slightly browned on top, about 25 minutes. Serve hot.

This will keep well in the fridge for as long as a week. When I make egg casseroles like this, I often divide them out into individual containers, then microwave it for breakfast all week. Be careful not to microwave too long or the eggs will get rubbery.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
With turkey Italian sausage and low-fat cheese, this is a great dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any other low-glycemic eating plan. This is a bit richer than some versions of breakfast casseroles with veggies, so don't overdo it on the fat for the rest of the day.

More Breakfast Casserole Recipes to Try:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Breakfast Casserole with Mushrooms, Green Bell Peppers, and Feta from Kalyn's Kitchen
Broccoli Cheese Breakfast Casserole from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mushroom and Feta Breakfast Casserole from Kalyn's Kitchen
Southwestern Egg Casserole from Kalyn's Kitchen
Red Russian Kale and Red Onion Savory Breakfast Squares from Kalyn's Kitchen
Ham and Cheese Egg Casserole from Closet Cooking
Mexican Breakfast Casserole from Eat It Atlanta
Green Chile Baked Breakfast Casserole from My Wooden Spoon
Breakfast Pizza Casserole from Just Baking
(Want even more breakfast casserole recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. I think we're all being more frugal with our ingredients these days. This is such a great way to use up all the bits and pieces in the fridge. I love breakfast casseroles- even for dinner! I'm wondering, though. Why did you rinse the cottage cheese?

  2. What a terrific look breakfast or brunch. I too love to use up leftovers and this combination of leftovers means you are probably one heck of a cook. I use spike tons too...better than salty seasonings. Most of all, I am impressed that you shop at thrift stores .... recycling leftovers AND recycling are my kind of gal!

  3. What is the purpose of straining the cottage cheese?

  4. I am subscribed to your recipes by email for some months now I am ashamed on not telling you how much I appreciated all of the recipes you gladly share with us... they have inspired me on making my own recipes many times.
    I do usually keep them in my folder "to do" and it´s getting pretty big with your nice recipes.
    Please accept my warmest thanks (and please forgive English, it´s been a long time since I don´t use it).
    Best regards from Spain.

  5. That looks and sounds really good.

  6. Brilliant! That looks so amazing... can't believe how healthy it is too. I would never have thought of putting low fat cottage cheese into my eggy dishes...

  7. Like you, but without the house renovation to spur me on, I'm becoming a more frugal cook. Soup is my savior; I'm fearless about tossing all sorts of leftovers into a soup pot and creating something one-of-a-kind. Frittatas are my second way of using leftovers. I love the breakfast casserole idea (which could also be a brunch or dinner casserole!) as another way to use up little bits and pieces of things that might otherwise end up in the compost bin.

  8. Delicious! Would love to have this for breakfast!

  9. Kaylyn,

    This looks like a winner ! ( No surprise :) )Do you think this is freezable?

  10. SGCC and Anonymous, it's probably not completely necessary to rinse the cottage cheese, but I'm thinking the creamy part that gets rinsed off will make the eggs set up a bit less. I'm trying to remember where I heard this idea of using cottage cheese like this as a cheese substitite, because that's where I got the idea of rinsing it. If anyone tries it without rinsing the cottage cheese, would love to know how it comes out.

    Trish, thanks. I love Spike, and love to buy kitchen stuff at thrift shops too! Most of the dishes I shoot my food photos on are from thrift stores.

    Immaculada, thanks. That means a lot to me. (And your English is a lot better than my Spanish!)

    Trish, thanks. I really loved it.

    Jesse, the low fat cottage cheese curds melt just like cheese and are great with eggs.

    Lydia, isn't it fun coming up with new combinations!

    Chicajo, Thanks. Would love to cook it for you, but it's rather a long trip.

    Bibi, egg casseroles can be frozen but you should be aware that when you thaw it, some liquid will be released from the egg. For best results, thaw in fridge and then microwave (don't thaw from frozen.) I used to freeze them a lot more often but recently I started using a smaller pan and just making enough to keep for a week in the fridge.

  11. What an opening line Kalyn! I've been making more careful use of things in the fridge.
    I always get either chicken or turkey sausage (can't remember when I bought pork) and use it all over especially breakfast eggs and on my pizzas. Something like this will be on our table this weekend with company.

  12. This looks so incredible - I love breakfast casseroles - they are easy, feed a crowd and are great as leftovers!!

  13. Damn that looks good right now.

    I'm determined to have a frugal month. I've been overspending on the food budget and really need to tone it down.

  14. I am always looking for bargains. It is fun and necessary these days! Great breakfast idea!

  15. This looks yummy! I added you to my blogroll. hope that's okay.

  16. Breakfast casseroles are a favorite in my house (especially for a take-away lunch) & this one looks delicious!!

  17. Great looking Casserole! I am loving it

  18. Looks great! Heck, we are all being frugal these days with such sorry economic times. I pretty much make soup with leftovers from suppers.


  19. I have to make a casserole like this, what a treat it would be for us...we eat lots of eggs and I'm getting bored. This looks delicious!

  20. I know exactly what you mean.I remolding my kitchen last year and my life and home was a mess.Love your casserole is perfect for my husband´s birthday brunch

  21. Kalyn, this looks so delicious and healthy I just had to link to it! Am having it for a nice Sunday breakfast this weekend. Thank you for all of your low carb recipes!

  22. Looks yummy. I just started my South Beach Diet so i'm thankful for this blog. Can you please tell what type of Toaster Oven you have. I have been looking for a good one. My oven isn't working properly :(

  23. Leilani, I have an Oster Toaster/Convection oven that I bought at Costco for about $60. I see they now have a newer model of it for about the same price. This is a great oven, I've used it endlessly and never a problem. Here is a meatloaf recipe that shows a picture of the toaster oven.

  24. Very nice breakfast recipe. I often do something similar with sausages, green peppers, onions, 2 eggs and dress it with Holland sauce

  25. Now that is a tasty breakfast!

  26. This looks fabulous!!! I am definitely taking notes.

  27. i just made a variation of this with red and yellow peppers, spinach, red onion, and Whole Foods cinnamon apple sausage. Yum!!

  28. Natalie, that sounds great. Glad you liked it.

  29. I had been eying this recipe for a few weeks and I finally made it this morning. It was delicious. I didn't have enough mushrooms, so I added orange bell peppers and scallions. It's really rich and creamy, and a lot more filling than a frittata.

  30. Corey, thanks for letting me know yo liked it; I always love hearing that!

  31. Hubby and I started South Beach last week. He was stressing over Sunday breakfast for days! "What's eggs without TOAST?" I just happen to have two Italian Sausages in my freezer! I used part-skim ricotta instead of the cottage cheese and since I make seasonings professionally, I used my own Italian Seasoning (which is salt-free). As I only had about 1/2pound of mushrooms, I sliced up and added some jar roasted red pepper. No complainaints about the missing toast at all! This was great. Thanks Kalyn.

  32. HerbalChef, your version sounds great! So glad you liked it.

  33. My parents come to visit us and stay the weekend quite often. We always end up at Bob Evans or IHOP for breakfast, simply because it tends to be a bit easier. But next time they visit, I am forcing them to stay home and try this! It's something that would please the entire family. I can't wait to test it out this weekend on my husband and daughter!

  34. Kim, that's great. Hope it is a big hit!

  35. What a tasty casserole! I added a half of cup of diced tomatoes and some green onions only because I wanted to use them before they went bad. The Spike seasonings was great. Never used it before reading about it here.

  36. So glad you enjoyed it. Your additions sound great. Spike is a big favorite in my family.

  37. I cannot do cow dairy. I can figure out the cheese part and milk part but not the cottage cheese part. Any ideas. How about soft goat cheese?

  38. Yes, I think goat cheese would be good, or you can certainly just omit the cottage cheese.

  39. Would anyone have a suggestion for replacing the mushrooms? Seems like a huge part of the casserole but I'm allergic... :-/

  40. Lisa, my first thought would be bell pepper, but you can use almost any veggie that goes with sausage. I'd precook most vegetables.


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