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When family comes home for holidays, the big meal of the day always gets the brunt of the attention.
However, by working ahead, you can wake sleepy heads with an aroma from the kitchen and a memorable Christmas breakfast they will remember this time next year.
Here are a few tips to consider before your house fills up with guests:
– Shop in advance – Choose the meal menu ahead of time to avoid the last-minute, mad dash to the supermarket. Breakfast recipes that use quality pre-packaged ingredients are a great time saver.
– Get to cooking – You don’t have to be up before the chickens to prepare an unforgettable holiday breakfast. Do the food prep work the night before. Preparing breakfast casseroles that simply need to be popped into a preheated oven before guests arrive or awaken. Better yet, choose slow cooker recipes that fill your home with wonderful aromas. Your breakfast guests will be wondering what’s on the menu as soon as they step through the kitchen door in search of a cup of coffee.
– Set up the space – Don’t just make the breakfast ahead of time. The night before, set out clean dishes, silverware and glasses. Napkins and place settings always add a special touch to small, intimate meals. For relaxed breakfasts or large crowds, set the meal up buffet-style so guests can help themselves.
– Finish the table – While the casserole is baking, set out pitchers of water with sliced strawberries, cucumbers or lemon for guests to enjoy, along with orange juice, milk, coffee and tea. Dice fresh fruit to serve with the meal and get ready to enjoy your delicious brunch. Don’t forget to place butter, bread, jam and honey on the table.
There are many recipes to choose from, but here are three to consider this holiday season.
Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole from Bob Evans Foods has a sophisticated adult taste. It can be assembled the night before and refrigerated for an early-morning bake.
This Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole recipe is by cookbook author Stephanie O’Dea, who admits to having an “unnatural obsession with her slow cooker.”
A few years ago, this mother of three challenged herself to cook every family dinner every day for a year by using a slow cooker. The result was the best-selling “Make it Fast, Make it Slow” cookbook series.
Don’t be surprised when one of your in-laws asks for a copy of this melt-in-your-mouth Amazing Pecan Coffee Cake recipe.
Amazing Pecan Coffee Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease it with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
– In a large bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sour cream, then beat in sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. By hand, fold in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Spread batter into prepared pan.
– To make the pecan topping: In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over cake batter in pan.
– Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack, and remove foil.
– Recipe from allrecipes.com
Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole
2 1/2 cups seasoned croutons
1 pound Bob Evans Original Recipe Sausage Roll
4 large eggs
2 1/4 cups milk
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms, drained and chopped
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
Fresh herb sprigs, optional
Carrot strips, optional
Picante sauce or salsa, optional
– Spread croutons on bottom of greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
– Crumble and cook sausage in medium skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain sausage; spread over croutons. Whisk eggs and milk in bowl until blended. Stir in soup, spinach, mushrooms, cheeses and mustard. Pour egg mixture over sausage and croutons. Refrigerate overnight.
– Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until set and lightly browned on top.
– Garnish with herb sprigs and carrot strips, if desired. Serve hot with picante sauce, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.
– Recipe from www.bobevans.com
Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole
1 (30-ounce) package of plain frozen hash brown (shredded) potatoes
4 previously-cooked pieces of sausage links, cut up, or leftover diced ham
1/2 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
1 cup skim or fat-free milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
– Spray the inside of slow cooker with cooking spray. Dump in the whole package of hash browns. Spread them out and break up any clumps.
– In a mixing bowl, mix the dozen eggs with the milk, salt and pepper, cheese, sausage and diced vegetables. Pour everything over hash browns.
– Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3-4. It;s done when the eggs are fully cooked and the edges start to brown a bit. If you want the cheese to brown and get a bit crispy on the sides, cook it longer.
– Recipe from Stephanie O’Dea