top of page
  • Melissa Orquiza

Yukon Gold Breakfast Sausage Casserole, An Uncle Buck Thanksgiving, JOY, Tone Loc & Mozart

Yukon Gold Breakfast Sausage Casserole. You survived Thanksgiving! YAY!

We all have lovingly complex relationships with our families. I love my mom and dad, (even though in their old age, I’m not entirely sure what planet their on), and love my sister, brother and their families. My husband is close to his family as well and since they know we don’t mind entertaining, we normally host Thanksgiving for his extended family. This year, as many of us have, we’ve decided to adjust our plans and all of us are spending it apart.

As have many of us, I’ve had a shockingly high number of awkward Thanksgivings. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will delve into the funniest one from my childhood. Two of my cousins flew halfway across the world to take care of us when my grandfather passed and when my mom had to fly home. Imagine “Uncle Buck” when you’re in junior high with two HILARIOUS Filipino male cousins. (One quipped that they’re the “surfer dudes” of the family! We had bacon and eggs with garlic rice ALOT for breakfast when they came to take care of us. Yum!)

This particular Thanksgiving entailed 7-up chicken, me spilling red wine all over the antique lace tablecloth, them terrorizing my brother about a school crush, making fun of my sister’s childhood nickname (in musical time), school runs with my siblings in a Chevy wood-paneled minivan blasting smooth jazz with the windows down, (they were appalled when one of my classmates asked if they were my uncles) and my “Uncle Buck” cousins screaming about how to decorate the Christmas tree, escalating to one storming off, DIVA-like, drag queen fashion and me not knowing what to do to calm him down. (He eventually came back down to hang out with us and we pretended it didn’t happen.) Since both of them were movie buffs, they would talk to me in an 80’s valley girl accent because we lived in California. It was the best Thanksgiving ever!

Granted, coming from a family of doctors, lawyers, and engineers, that “surfer dude” quip stayed with me. They might have been more whimsical and “out of the box” compared to my other, amazing cousins, but like “Uncle Buck”, it’s what we needed at the right time. My mother was distraught over her father’s death, my parents had just started a practice and it was finally bearing fruit, and she was practicing as a doctor while cooking, cleaning, and shuttling the three of us to school and our extracurricular activities. My poor mother didn’t know how to cook since she’d been taken cared of all her life, so my dad had to teach her how to cook rice. (He came from the main rice growing region, kind of like the Mid-West or the South, here in the U.S. Believe it or not, same sort of cultural and political attitudes.)

Now that I have a family, in hindsight, my “Uncle Buck” cousins taught me how to have fun, learn to incorporate my mother’s cultural familial drive into something a bit more manageable (they watched movies and “Cheers!” all the time! What?), and how life’s unpredictability, can be harnessed to power JOY. I hope this made you laugh, smile, and maybe revisit some old movies from the 80’s. Thanks for reading! I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Uncle Buck - Would Ya Like To See My Hatchet? (1989)

Tone Loc was in the "Uncle Buck" soundtrack. Hilarious.

Tone Love - Wild Thing

Another one from the soundtrack...

Mr. Sandman - The Chordettes

Because I was practicing this when I was a kid during the "Uncle Buck" Thanksgiving. Hilarious contrast. Beautifully done.

Mozart Adagio in B minor, K. 540 - Horowitz

Finally, another rendition by Mitsuko Uchida. Because Mozart, like fine crystal, shows every nuance and imperfection. See how different the interpretations are....

Mozart Adagio in B minor, K. 540 - Uchida

Yukon Gold Thanksgiving Breakfast Sausage Casserole

Adapted from Trisha Yearwood’s Breakfast Sausage Casserole. Here’s the original recipe.

Who doesn’t want a comforting breakfast so you lounge around and watch movies or online shop for the holidays? I’ve made a riff off this every year since we’ve hosted a large Thanksgiving. Note: This is from last year’s Thanksgiving meal. It’s a great way to use up leftover bread, cheese and salami (from the appetizer plate), extra herbs (from the side dishes you’ve made), leftover sides (creamed spinach and mashed potatoes particularly makes this good), and a bit of extra gravy. You need to play with the density of liquid to solid here. In case you’re unsure, err of the side of more eggs than you need to liquid so you don’t end up with a gloppy mess.

Ingredients (use as a rough guide)

Butter, for greasing

1/2 loaf of sliced white loaf bread (or any leftover bread or stuffing)

1 pound fresh bulk pork sausage with sage

1 or two handfuls of leftover herbs

10 ounces sharp Cheddar, grated (or leftover cheese and salami from the appetizer plate)

2 cups half-and-half (or leftover sides such as mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and gravy. I used all the above including Yukon Gold roasted potatoes.)

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

5 to 12 large eggs, lightly beaten (I give you the choice based on the structural density of your leftovers. Err on more eggs.)


  1. Cut the bread or leftover bread into 1-inch cubes and spread in the bottom of a greased 9- by 13- by 2- inch casserole dish.

  2. Dollop your leftover sides and handful of herbs all over the casserole dish.

  3. In a medium skillet, brown the sausage over medium heat until fully cooked and no longer pink. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to drain the fat. Spread the cooked sausage over the bread and top with the cheese. Then stir together the, half-and-half, dry mustard, salt and eggs. Pour this mixture over the cheese. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. (If you don’t have time to do this, don’t worry. It still tastes great without the overnight set. It’ll just be a bit more firm not as gooey.)

  4. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Pat yourself on the back for surviving Thanksgiving and still able to make a delicious and comforting breakfast. Make coffee and smile!)

  5. Bake the covered casserole until set and slightly golden, about 50 minutes. (You may have to adjust the time as needed depending on the ratio of liquid and structure you have.) Remove from the oven and allow the casserole to set for 15 minutes before serving. (Congratulations! Happy Thanksgiving and hope your day is filled with lots of movies and fun!)

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful, restful, and beautiful week! I hope you take some time out for yourself whether or not you’re spending the holiday alone or together! Here’s to more breakfast casseroles and lazy days watching movies. Xo, Melissa

41 views0 comments


bottom of page