The framework for this recipe comes from the church cookbook that came out of the Mennonite church I grew up in. I've changed it in several fairly major ways in an attempt to make it healthier. Sometimes, decreasing the fat in a recipe can ruin it. Other times, I look at a recipe and I see extra belly fat, a sluggish heart and losing breath going up stairs. It's those times I have a decision to make- change it or pitch it. Sometimes, it's just not worth it.
This recipe was worth re-vamping. My mother often made it while I was growing up and it's always been a favorite of mine. Once I was gifted my own church cookbook and started making it, I couldn't help but make some changes. This recipe handled those changes just fine.
Let me switch gears a moment and say that in our house, we don't eat bread crusts. Gasp! Now, before you imagine us throwing them away or even feeding perfectly good crusts to our chickens, let me tell you that we don't do those things. I throw them (ok, stuff them) into the freezer. When I have enough on hand, I make this recipe or Pineapple Stuffing. If you don't have all crusts, you can use the inner slices. They work just as well.
Ham (or Sausage) and Cheese Souffle
It's best when it sits in the fridge for an hour (or even overnight) before baking. Make for breakfast or dinner. We eat it for dinner at home and occasionally make it for a larger group for breakfast on vacation. This dish is hearty and will feed eight easily.
16 slices of whole wheat bread crusts, cubed
1/2 - 1 pound cooked ham, cubed or sausage browned and crumbled
1 pound cheese, shredded (cheddar, monterey jack, Swiss or a combination)
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
2 cups oat and honey (corn-flake-type) cereal, crushed a bit (generic brand works just fine)
1/4 cup melted butter
Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Spread half of the bread cubes in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the cooked ham or browned sausage over the bread. Spread cheese over that. Lay the rest of the bread cubes over the cheese. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, salt and dry mustard until well combined. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread cubes, cover and refrigerate for an hour (or overnight, or any length of time in between).
Just prior to baking, combine cereal and melted butter and spread over the top. Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the souffle has set and the topping is nicely browned. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.
P.S. Our kids love it.