Simple, Satisfying and Scrumptious – Make Ahead Christmas Breakfast
While cooking everyone a hearty Christmas morning meal may sound appealing at first, the reality of dragging out ingredients, minding the bacon and flipping pancakes can be a lot of extra mess to manage in the midst of all the paper tearing, toy assembly and photo ops. If you want to enjoy the morning, and have a really satisfying meal without the added chaos, this one pan – make ahead breakfast is the ticket. The first time I had it was at a post wedding party, and I could not believe I had managed to arrive at adulthood minus this must have recipe. The best part is, – you probably already have everything you need right in your fridge or cupboard. It lends itself well to spontaneous additions and adjustments and looks great on your table and plate.
6 to 8 slices of white organic bread (with crusts removed.)
6 to 10 organic eggs
2 cups whole organic milk
2-3 cups of cheddar or other grated cheese
salt and pepper
Add – whatever you like best – or have on hand!
Precooked bacon is great (we usually have a shelf stable bag that we keep in the frig for just such occasions.)
About 1 cup of any cooked sausage, or ham works as well.
You can combine meats to suit your taste, and cheeses too if you find you are a little short on cheddar. Monterey Jack is a nice go along.
Season with salt and pepper and Mexican or Italian dried herbs.
Fresh herbs like rosemary, cilantro, thyme or basil add a lot of interest if you have them – and of course a little green or sweet onion if you like it.
Note: Go easy on the onion if you do use it. ¼ cup or less is plenty.
½ cup of any cooked vegetable like asparagus, broccoli, frozen or canned corn, can be used. Zucchini is a nice quiet addition that requires no precooking, and canned green chilies go surprisingly well too if you have them.
Fresh red or green peppers, can be used, but you need to sauté them or they will be crunchy. Ditto mushrooms unless they are canned. All veggies add moisture so consider that you may need to adjust for that.
Night Before Directions
Preheat oven to 350
Beat the eggs, milk and grated cheese together in a bowl.
(With crusts removed.) Place bread side by side in a greased 13x 9 inch casserole pan. Or, if you prefer a fluffier casserole, cube the bread and mix gently with wet ingredients. If you cube the bread be careful not to over mix or it will turn to mush. Gently add your favorite meats and veggies and pour into a buttered 13×9 pan. Bread should be damp and fully covered, but not swimming. Note: The more eggs you use the firmer the dish will be.
Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes to an hour, (when you finish cooking in the morning, you can let the top brown a little, but not yet.) Check to see that all of the egg is absorbed and the body of the casserole is firm. Remove from oven and let cool then cover loosely and refrigerate.
In the morning, set your mostly cooked breakfast into a cool oven and set to 350 again. At fifteen to twenty minutes the top should begin to lightly brown. Add another handful of cheese at this point if you are a cheese lover! When the cheese is melted, remove from oven and cool five to ten minutes before serving.
If you used green peppers and red chilies or visa versa you will have a festive looking, satisfying and scrumptious breakfast to enjoy with your family. Add a dollop of sour cream and you are good to go through lunch!