you are serving. You can vary the type of sausage and bread. French bread has a crunchier texture, but regular wheat or white works just as well. Just prepare the maximum number of slices; also best if the bread is a day old or allowed to dry out a bit, which soaks up more of the egg batter. You can also substitute the sausage with veggies if you're making for those who are conscious of their health or are vegetarians.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Brown sausage in skillet, stirring until crumbly. Drain. Layer bread cubes, sausage, and cheddar cheese in a greased a two quart casserole dish or divided between two greased eight inch square casserole dishes. [Substitute sausage with approximately two cups of chopped-up vegetables: canned mushrooms; cooked carrots, green and red peppers, onions, or asparagus; canned artichokes]
Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat well. Pour over layers in casserole dish. Let stand for a minimum of 10 minutes. Bake for one hour on bottom rack of oven.
Add more zest using hot in place of mild sausage. Sage-flavored sausage is also a favorite; if you cannot locate, mild sausage can be adapted by adding two to three teaspoons of ground sage to sausage before browning. You can also add extra spice after baking by topping with the hot sauce of your choice.
This dish may be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight or frozen (unbaked).
Yields 6 to 8 servings (2 quart casserole) or 10 to 12 servings (8 inch square casserole). Serve with fresh fruit or juice.
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