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ELLEN'S KITCHEN
Breakfast for 50
Laura
03/22/09
I am cooking breakfast for 50 women next Saturday at church. I noticed the recipe here for the Impossibly Rich Sausage Pie and wondered if pre-cooked diced ham could be successfully substituted. (Someone already went shopping and picked up ham).
Also, I think we have a limited number of 4" steamer 1/2 pans we can use. The baking time listed for this recipe is in the steamer pans but baked in the oven, correct? Can two pans bake at once in the oven and how might that affect the baking time? We do not have convection ovens, but have two standard kitchen ovens. We do also have a warming oven loaned to us by another church. Also, could both of these pans be placed in a roaster oven to cook? If you would recommend that, at what temperature and for how long?
I also am eying your hash brown casserole recipe. (shoppers already purchased the cubed hash browns, but we will try our luck!) Would placing this in the 1/2 steamer pans change the bake time you have posted on the recipe for 9x13 pans? Also, as yummy as the ham and mushrooms sound in this recipe, do you think they could be successfully omitted? Would something need to be added in their place? Also, because we are short on time and oven space, could this be baked in the 1/2 pans placed in the roaster oven? At what temp and for how long? Or, if prepared completely in the roaster oven, perhaps the contents could be scooped out and placed into a full chafing pan and placed in the oven to brown toward the end? Also, if dish is prepped the night before and taking out of refrigerator about an hour before baking, how much more time do you think that would add to the baking?
Sorry for so many questions. I am not sure if I am even inputting this in the right forum, but I really need help!
ellen
03/22/09
OK. The 1/2 pans hold over twice what a 9x13 holds, the depth is thicker, and if it is 1 1/2 times thicker, it takes about 1 1/2 times more cooking time.

Roasters used with smaller pans inside, you have to allow an inch on each side. I would cook directly in the roaster cookwell, which would hold hashbrown casserole just right for 50. You can leave out the ham and mushrooms, no subs, or add other good things- roasted pepper strips, chopped dreained spinach or broccoli, it is a very flexible recipe.

It is thoughtful to have a dozen hardboiled eggs for the folks who are lo carbing.

Ham would be fine in the sausage casserole. Two casserole pans are fine in the oven- preheat the oven twenty minutes- you could even do 4 if it is a very large oven, using two racks. If refrigerated drop the temp 25 degrees and allow an extra half hour for the half pans to cook, but start checking 15-20 minutes before done.

Laura
03/22/09
Ellen, Wow! Thanks so much for such a speedy reply.

Regarding the sausage casserole, I think I am just going to do two of those 4inch 1/2 pans and another person will make a 9x13 meatless one at her home just a few minutes away. If both pans fit on the same rack, is it better to bake on same rack or have on two different levels and switch places half way through?
Also, I got your note about the 1/2 pans being deeper and needing to bake 50 percent longer. What I still am wondering is which pan size your recipe on this site is giving times and temps for.

How many of these 1/2 pans of sausage casserole do you suggest for 50 women? Is the 2 enough plus a 9x13 of something meatless? I will also prepare some hardboiled eggs per your suggestion. I will also serve the cheesy potatoes (I think I have 10-12 pounds of hash brown potatoes I can prepare) Also serving breakfast breads (muffins, banana bread, etc) and I have a large fruit display with grapes, strawberries, pineapple, cantelope (Think Tase of Home last year)

Also, what are your thoughts on subbing condensed cheddar cheese soup for the cream of mushroom soup? (again, the cheddar soup was on the shopping list and may already have been purchased)

And, (final question, I promise) we are serving these up in the chafing units to make things look nicer. Do you think scooping the cooked potatoes out of the roaster pan and and placing in 2" full pans will look ok? Any suggestions on how to make it look presentable? Also, How long and at what temperature would I cook the cheesy potatoes for 50 in the roaster pan itself?

Wow, I know these are a lot of questions. Thanks for having this site and helping those of us who are challenged time to time in the kitchen!

ellen
03/23/09
I would scoop the potatoes into the pans, smooth the top sprinkle on a little cheese, and run under the broiler to brown for looks, cheddar soup is fine. Potatoes are fine. To do in one roaster, reduce heat to 325, DO preheat the roaster for 20 minutes before adding the cookwell, allow at least 1 1/2 hours especially if chilled overnight before cooking. 2 1/2 pans and a meatless are fine, I would consider doing 2 meatless.
Laura
03/25/09
I am having trouble determining if the knife is coming out clean on the breakfast casserole. Does wet still count as clean? Is there an internal temperature on the breakfast casserole that I can check with a thermometer?
Thanks so much!
Laura
03/25/09
Hi, it's me again. I am getting ready to try another batch tonight. I am using the soaked bread breakfast strata. I am doubling the 9x13 recipe and putting in a 2" tall full size pan for the chafer- dimensions were approximately 20"x12. I refrigerate overnight. Directions say to take out of cooler 1 hour before baking. You had suggested cutting back the temp by 25 degrees and adding time ( 1/2 hour?) to baking. If I reduce heat and add time, do I still need to take out of cooler 1 hr before?
Thanks for your help!
Laura
03/25/09
Sorry! Just saw the earlier post of internal temp of 170-180. So I am good on that. I am wondering about the wet knife and also on a large 20x12 pan with two 9x13 worth of batter, how long you might bake that if it was not refrigerated. Would that be more time than the 9x13? You mention adding an etra half hour to cook if it was refrigerated, but I am still uncertain of how long it might take to cook a pan that size that has not been refrigerated.
Laura
03/25/09
Tried the breakfast caserole again tonight. Two recipes worth in the 20x12 2" tall pan was at 325 degrees and firm in 90 minutes. Can't beat that! The single recipe in the pan 1/2 the size as that but the pan was 4" deep took 80 minutes. Both were fabulous but I think next time I might cook the precooked ham a bit before putting it in. It made that side of the casserole watery.
Thanks so much for your help these last couple of days!
ellen
03/26/09
Good for you!!! And you are right about drying out the ham a bit.
Laura
03/26/09
Ok, getting everything all set for Saturday. Final question.
For clarification on the cheesy potatoes for 50. If mixed together ahead and refrigerated you suggest taking out of the fridge an hour and a half prior to putting in the roaster or it will take up to 3 hours to cook if put in roaster directly from the cooler.
I suppose I could mix all the soups and sour cream, etc and put in container overnight and microwave that portion in the morning before putting the potatoes in. Then it would be like it wasn;t refrigerated.
And I think you said breakfast casseroles are ok to put in oven directly from cooler. Just decrease baking temp by 25 degrees and increase baking time by 50 pecent. I noticed that although my casserole was at 180 degrees and seemed done, the top did not brown. Any thoughts on that?
Thanks so much!
Laura
03/27/09
Ellen,
I also wanted to get your opinion on warming ovens. I borrowed from a nearby church.

My breakfast strata recipe calls for the recipe to sit 10 minutes prior to serving (probably to help it set up.)

Do I remove the strata from the oven, cover with foil, and put it directly into the warming oven? Or do I let it sit 10 minutes and then cover with foil and put it into the warming oven? Will the warming oven continue to cook it some?

Do I try to keep it in the warming oven for the least amount possible? Hard to know exacly how long it will take to cook and whether the breakfast will even start on time. Do you think sitting in the warming oven up to an hour will have any impact on my strata?

ellen
03/27/09
The purpose of the warming oven is to keep it above 140 for holding, as below this allows bacteria growth. It incidentally keeps it at the warmer eating temp. The way to make your decision is this- the item can come out of the oven and sit with its temp below 160 (which is what it gets to after the ten minute hold) for 2 hours SAFELY at room temp. So you only need your warming oven for something that won't be eaten within two hours.

Fresher is always better than held. If you use the warming oven, do NOT cover tightly with the foil it will get too moist on top.

ellen
03/27/09
If you want a browner top, run it under the broiler for a minute or several, watch closely.

Yes, prewarming the potato sauce makes it the same as if not refrigerated. Remember the potatoes are thawed and drained.

Diane
04/10/09
Ellen,

I make a ham, broccoli and cheese strata that is refrigerated overnight and wanted to change it up a bit and use mushrooms and bacon. Will the mushrooms and bacon be ok or do I have to precook mushrooms...i don't want them to get funky

ellen
04/10/09
You want to precook the mushrooms because they release so much moisture if raw that they can harm the texture.
carol
10/19/09
Hi Ellen-this is new to me to ask questions on-line...I hope you can help me! I need to make a breakfast casserole for 60 and am wondering if I can adapt any recipe to put in a roaster instead of a 9 x 13 pan. I have a recipe that uses hashbrowns on the bottom and then you pour over an egg, milk, cheese, ham mixture. In my recipe you bake the potatoes first and then bake again after the egg mixture is poured over. I would love to not have to do 6 9 x 13 pans and just put it all in a roaster-what do you think?? Thanks so much!!
ellen
10/19/09
Yes. The thing is, you have to drop the cooking temp 25 degrees and cook longer (may be double) because of the thickness of the layer in the pan. You check it with a therrmometer, 165 degrees minumu in thew middle, then turn down to 200 to hold. You will need 2 roasters- 1 only holds about 3 times the recipe.
carol
10/19/09
Great-what about cooking the potatoes for awhile first?? or do I just pour the other mixture over at the beginning?
ellen
10/19/09
You can follow the recipe as you normally do. Just cook until the potatoes look like they do in the smaller pan, before you add the egg mix; it will probably take longer than the smaller pans.

By the way, when I am serving a mixed carb breakfast like this, I always put out either a pound of string cheese packets or a dozen plain hard cooked eggs for people who have to watch carbs in the morning.

carol
10/19/09
Thanks so much for your help!
Laura
11/04/09
Hi. I have a quick question regarding different
temperature settings. I'm cooking brunch for a
friend's baby shower this weekend and am working
with only one oven. I have a casserole, baked
French toast and sausage skewers that all need
to be cooked on oven, come out at about the
same time but all have different temperature
requirements. French toast - 350 degrees, egg
casserole- 325 degrees and skewers at 375
degrees. What should I do?
ellen
11/04/09
Put the French toast in a glass pan, the egg casserole in metal and you can do both at 325. Add 10-15 minutes to the sausages and you can do them at 325 also.
Laura M.
11/04/09
Ellen, thank you so much. I was a little worried about it and had talked to a few of my girlfriends who love to cook as well, but they weren't sure either. So just to clarify; when you say metal pan for baked French toast, are you referring to a non-stick pan?
Thank you again.
Laura M.
11/04/09
Sorry, meant metal pan for egg casserole.
Laura M.
11/04/09
Sorry Ellen, I guess I should've had asked why the different pans? For my own knowledge and future reference, it would be good to know. Also, does it make a difference that the French toast also has eggs in it?
Guess I should have been a little more specific.
Thank you for your knowledge.
ellen
11/04/09
Glass pans cook 25 degrees lower than metal, so if you put the one in a glass pan it cooks correctly at 325 instead of 350, simplifying your life.
Do be aware that large pans of cold food need to cook a little slower and lower, to reach their core temp of 165 without burning the edges. Applies if they are put together the night before and refrigerated.
Barbara
06/19/10
hash brown casserole
Can I mix up my hashbrown casserole tonight, put it in the fridge overnight and cook it in the morning?
ellen
06/20/10
Yes, as long as the potatoes are already thawed and drained. Preheat the oven or roaster and allow 20 extra minutes for cooking- but check starting at the regular time. You want a temp in the middle of 170-180.
Kadria
09/03/10
Hello,
I am making french toast casserole for 60 peop;e. I would like to cook it in an eighteen quart roaster. Can I do it without letting the mixture chill and what temperature for how long?
Thank you,
Kadria
ellen
09/03/10
A key step in the success of this casserole is to let it sit overnight, and it MUST be refrigerated.

Also, I would do it in 2 roasters, since it will be way too mushy in the middle if made all in one.

misty
01/20/11
Ok I am cooking a casserole for a shower. How do you thaw the potatoes? Also if you choose to put the casserole in the fridge overnight do you cook the bacon and put it in the casserole? It wont get gross? My reciepe says to leave it out 30 minutes before cooking it? Im cooking it in a glass pan at 350 degrees. 9x13.Do I lower the degrees and cook it longer? or just do what the reciepe says?
ellen
01/20/11
If you wish to thaw the potatoes, overnight in the refrigerator. Yes, you cook the bacon before putting it in the casserole
The 30 minutes is to bring it closer to room temp, which helps make sure the outside does not get too done before the middle is cooked.
Glass pan, lower 25 degrees Same length of time. Center of casserole should reach 165-180. Then turn oven to 180 to hold.
misty
01/21/11
Thank you so much. If I got the hashbrowns today and i'm putting the casserole together tonight is it ok if they are slightly still frozen? Becauce i'm not cooking until the morning.
ellen
01/21/11
yes, but if they have not drained, it will be a little watery- add some extra eggs.
terry forte
10/15/11
I am making a double patch of pinapple casserole.Baking it at 350 and putting it in a 2" deep 13x9 pan.Aregular reipe is 1 hour. How much longer for a double recipe?
ellen
10/15/11
About a half hour longer- use a thermometer to check temp in the middle- it should be 160.
 
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