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Christmas Breakfast

I'll admit I've seen posts along these lines so don't be mad that I'm asking...

Traditionally I make Christmas Breakfast at my house (yes, I've been relegated to an "unimportant" meal since the mothers and mothers-in-law have dibs on the big ones and that's fine with me) and this year I wanted to make it a little more special (normally it's bacon and eggs.)

Since the family is very, let's say, traditional. (I want to say uncultured white folks who haven't been exposed to much food outside of casseroles.) while I want to make a delicious and even sophisticated breakfast, I don't want to serve smoked fish, or anything interesting basically.

Also, can't serve alcohol, so mimosas and the like are out.

With those restrictions, does anyone have a make-ahead breakfast recipe? I'm already thinking of two egg casseroles, one sweet and one savory, but I'm not married to this. It's what to serve along side that has me wondering. Anyone want to share a Christmas breakfast recipe?

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  1. Egg casseroles, like stratas, would be great. The best thing is you can doctor them up as much as you want, or take it low country with sausages and cheddar cheese. Those and cinnamon rolls can be made the night in advanced and refrigerated. In the morning, bring to room temp and bake. There's also baked oatmeal (tastes like a huge oatmeal cookie) that can also be made the night before and then baked the morning of.

    If you want to cook in the morning, biscuits and gravy are my go-to hits. Not sophisticated but delicious. For more work, I'll make bagels, starting a day or two before.

    1. I have a similar situation, iheartcooking. I stick to breakfast stratas with "non-threatening ingredients," such as browned/crumbled breakfast sausage, cheddar cheese, etc. I make two 13x9 pans the day before and pop it into the oven the next morning. I usually do a meat strata (bacon or sausage) and the other a veggie strata.

      1. This is my family's traditional Christmas morning strata.

        8-12 slices of bread, cut into cubes (I use inexpensive, commercial white bread)
        grated extra sharp cheddar cheese, about 1 8 oz. brick
        1 lb. breakfast sausage (preferably Bob Evans Sage)
        8-10 eggs
        1 cup milk
        1-1/2 tsp. dry mustard

        1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup (I use Campbells, Reduced Fat)
        ½ cup milk

        The night before:

        1. Spray bottom and sides of rectangular baking dish with oil.
        2. Spread cubed bread in a layer in pan, being sure that bottom is completely covered.
        3. Add layer of cheese on top of bread cubes.
        4. Brown and crumble sausage. Drain and spread sausage on top of cheese.
        5. Beat 8 eggs, 1 cup milk, and mustard. Pour over mixture in pan evenly so that all bread cubes are moistened. If any are dry, beat 2 more eggs and pour over dry cubes.
        6. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

        The next morning:

        1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
        2. Dilute soup with ½ cup milk, stirring so that all lumps are smoothed out.
        3. Score casserole lightly with knife so as not to disturb layers. Pour milk/ soup mixture evenly over casserole, using back of wooden spoon to evenly distribute.
        4. Bake for 1-¼ to 1-½ hours, until golden brown.

        It is certainly not sophisticated, given the use of condensed cream of mushroom soup. I generally serve it with a fruit salad, some OJ, and coffee. If you wanted to make a second, sweet style egg casserole, you might consider some sort of oven baked French toast, perhaps with apples.

        1. Like many others, a breakfast strata would probably be my "go to" dish in the circumstances you describe. A breakfast strata doesn't necessarily have to include bacon or sausage. But, IMO, the cheese ingredient is a necessity. Chopped Artichoke hearts in the strata might add a bit of sophistication to the dish. You might also want to consider grilling some pork chops the day before and reheating them in gravy on Christmas morning, then serve with eggs and country fried potatoes. The potatoes don't need to be "fried". You can roast cubed potatoes in the oven while you're heating up the pork chops and gravy and working on the eggs. A side of chopped mixed fruits in season would make a nice contrast to either approach.

          1 Reply
          1. re: todao

            This is interesting with the pork chops. I've never seen it in gravy. How long does it take to be heated in the gravy? Do you just put them in, after the gravy is thickened? Boneless?

            Oh, that reminds me, on the gravy--I've added eggs to it, they drop into their own little pockets and you get perfect poached eggs with raw yolk that ooze in the gravy. So easy and good.

          2. Baked Oatmeal! You make it the night before, and then put it it the oven to bake in the morning. It fact it is very casserole-like, a cross between oatmeal and a coffecake. The recipe calls for raisins, but you can have fun with it- vanilla, walnuts, craisins, dried cherries, cinnamon, brown sugar... And it is best served warm, with milk on the side. I have made this for family brunches before and everyone loved it.

            1/2 cup vegetable oil
            3/4 cup white sugar
            2 eggs
            1 cup milk
            1/2 teaspoon salt
            1 tablespoon baking powder
            3 cups quick cooking oats
            1/2 cup raisins
            2 tablespoons brown sugar
            1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

            Beat together oil and sugar. Mix in eggs, milk, salt, baking powder, oatmeal. Beat well then stir in raisins. Pour into a lightly grease pie pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Refrigerate overnight.
            The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
            Bake in preheated oven until firm, about 35 minutes. Serve hot.

            1. Have you ever tried the Brioche Pecan Sticky Buns from "Baking with Julia"? They are incredibly good and can be partially made up to a month ahead of time. Quiche Lorraine (bacon, onion and gruyere cheese quiche) from Thomas Keller's "Bouchon" is revelatorily good and can be partially made up to 3 days ahead of time. Both of these are decadent crowd pleasers. Serve with some nice fresh fruit, crispy bacon, bagels with a variety of flavored cream cheeses and some hash browned potatoes fried in duck fat. Add some really good coffee and freshly squeezed orange and grapefruit juices and I'd say that you have a winner. In fact this may be my Christmas morning menu for my family!


              1. Every Christmas Ever a lady from my dad's church drops by a frozen-solid "tea ring," crammed with fruit and nuts and spices, which sits out overnight on the counter and then gets baked first thing in the morning. It's lovely, not too messy to eat while opening presents, not so heavy that it ruins your appetite, not too sweet, and very Christmasy.

                Recipes abound -- usually called something like "Swedish tea ring" or "Swedish coffee ring" (although "coffee rings" are just as likely to be coffee cake baked in a tube pan -- this is definitely a yeast bread, not a cake or quick-bread).


                1. A platter of Winter citrus, supreme'd and garnished with pomegranate seeds, for a side dish. A nice main is eggs baked in a bed of spinach and pancetta with some cream; garnished with tomato wedges before serving.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mamachef

                    Something tells me that even this approach is going to elicit weird reactions from the OP's guests. How about a simple frittata or two? Not as trendy as a strata, but it will look like a big, mixed in Western or Denver omelette or what have you. You can do one with bacon and cheese for the plain fans, and add steamed aspargus, bell pepper, ham and cheese for the other one. Cut into pie shaped pieces and serve. The great thing about this stuff is that it is simple and it will look familiar to the uninitiated.

                  2. Thanks everyone these are great ideas! I'm gonna go with two egg stratas, a sweet and a savory. Thanks again!!!!!!!!

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: iheartcooking

                      Did you say sweet? Just curious what you are thinking. I'd be interested in trying it if it sounds good.

                      1. re: iheartcooking

                        Even better, make the Jimmy Dean sausage casserole and don't even call it a strata, even if that's what it is. It's always a big hit.


                        1. re: iheartcooking

                          Curious what's in your sweet strata.

                          What about a baked or stuffed french toast casserole? Can be prepared from the night before and baked in the morning.

                          1. re: iheartcooking

                            For the sweet strata, I bought day old croissants, which I will dry out in the oven, slice lengthwise and spread with nutella. Think that will work? If not I'll sweeten the egg mixture and add cinnamon.
                            For the savory, I bought English toasting bread, which I'll dry out and layer with ham and cheese.
                            I realize these are more like egg casseroles...

                            1. re: iheartcooking

                              I think your Nutella idea is a very, very good one - with the caveat that I would go ahead and add some spices, if not a touch of sugar, to the custard part.

                            2. re: iheartcooking

                              For the sweet, this Paula Deen Baked French Toast with Praline topping works really well. I've made it twice to rave reviews, and it can be assembled the night before.


                              These two recipes from Tyler Florence are equally as good. You could skip the dried cranberries in the first one if that seems too exotic.



                            3. I read something a while ago about Southern "ambrosia" which is supremed orange slices with thickly grated fresh coconut and I think sometimes a drizzle of honey. It was news to me, since the "ambrosia" I know is a disgusting concoction of canned fruit, mini-marshmallows, and sour cream. I thought the Southern version sounded really good and would be a colorful and fresh-tasting addition to Christmas breakfast.

                              1. when my family wants a breakfast thats a little more than just bacon and eggs, i normally like to go with a quiche or frittata of some kind and overnight homemade cinnamon rolls. mmmm

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mattstolz

                                  The smell of cinnamon rolls in the morning, and coffee brewing. Is that heaven?

                                2. panettone bread pudding!!!

                                  1. A sweet baked "thingy", though it can't be called a strata, is raisin bread layered with a sweetened creamcheese filling and bound with the usual custard...nice if you scatter some cider-soaked raisins on top before baking. ( I say cider re: your family's alcohol prohibition - if it was just folks, I'd reconstitute the lil devils in some rum or brandy - but my family really likes booze-laden food. ) : )

                                    1. A little sweet and a little savory. Put out the components and let them assemble their own.

                                      Toasted English muffin half
                                      A smear of *fresh* goat cheese (aged is tangy, so NO) or cream cheese
                                      A sprinkle of dried cranberries
                                      A small (or large) amount of (Tabasco) green pepper jelly
                                      A small sprinkle of chopped walnuts.

                                      Very seasonal to hit an upscale note without a lot of unfamiliar flavors.

                                      1. I see you've already chosen some great ideas--I love the nutella idea, but I still wanna say:

                                        Steak and eggs. We did this every Christmas morning at my grandmother's even when I was a vegetarian (I always made exceptions for gram's cooking). It is a little more special than eggs and bacon but is not so heavy to spoil dinner. And, it won't startle any "uncultured white" folk.

                                        Sounds like it will be a special meal!