Thursday, March 24, 2011

Stephen's Chickens and an Egg Recipe

April 2nd is "Chick Day" at our house. That's when Stephen will go to the Feed Store and bring home six to ten new baby chicks to add to his small barnyard brood. We didn't get any babies last year. This year, he says that the 13 chickens he has are not getting any younger. And since those "old ladies" are getting up there in years, he says it's time to bring in some new little chicks.

When he brings the babies home, he sets up a special box that he built for them. Then he adjusts a heat lamp, and provides food and water so they will be well fed, warm, and ready to grow. And when they get old enough, they will start laying eggs.

Stephen's chickens lay an average of six to eight eggs per day, which means that when they're laying, he's got as many eggs as the Easter Bunny. The chickens come to him when he calls them. They know he's going to feed them and follow him anywhere he goes!

We have a hen house for them with a fenced-in outdoor area for keeping them safe. On most days, though, he opens up the coop and let's them wander around the farm for a while. No matter how far they wander, they always manage to put themselves to bed when the sun goes down. Then Stephen goes out and shuts the door to the hen house and locks them in all nice and safe from predators.

We have different types of chickens on the farm. Right now we've got buff orphingtons, bantam cochins with feathers on their feet, Rhode Island reds, and Plymouth Rocks (the ones that look like they're on a prison gang in their black and white feathers). I'm sure we've got other types as well, but I must admit that I don't keep up with them as much as Stephen does.

The eggs they lay are absolutely fabulous. Nice big eggs with brilliant yellow yolks that look just perfect when poached and sitting on the breakfast table. And speaking of breakfast, here's a fabulous breakfast casserole recipe. You make it ahead; then refrigerate until morning when you pop it into the oven for a yummy start to your day.

Breakfast Casserole

1 pound ground pork sausage
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
6 slices bread, toasted and cut into cubes
8 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded

Night Before: Crumble the sausage in a medium skillet. Cook over medium heat until evenly browned; then drain. In a medium sized bowl, mix together mustard powder, salt, eggs and milk. Add the sausage, bread cubes, and cheese. Stir to coat evenly. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight.

Next Morning: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover casserole dish and bake 45-60 minutes. Uncover, reduced temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until set.

Serves: 8 (377 calories per serving)

1 comment:

ritainalaska said...

your egg caserole sound delishous, and one i deduced that 'sauce' meant sausage, i decided i could make it after all. thanx for the recipe