Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Holiday breakfast begins

Christmas breakfast can be prepared ahead of time, giving you more time with family and friends on the big day

Seven sleeps til the big night and kids of all ages are well into the count down. Every year I swear I’ll lighten my load and not end up in a panic this week, but in spite of all good intentions I’m there again. Sigh.

Many of the traditions and celebrations in Canada come from French, English, Irish, Scottish, German and First Nation influences. Our traditions vary depending on which part of Canada we live in, but common to all are Christmas trees, holly, mistletoe, Santa Claus, Christmas cards, presents, Christmas baking, and of course, feasting on a delicious Christmas dinner.

Usually at this time in December I offer breakfast recipes for the big day that can be prepared ahead of time and popped into the oven Christmas morning; today’s recipes are just that. Enjoy.

Christmas Brunch Casserole

1 pound bacon

2 onions, chopped

2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms

1 tablespoon butter

4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 eggs

1- 1/2 cups milk

1 pinch dried parsley

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Place bacon in a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside. Add the mushrooms and onion to the skillet; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent and the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.

Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish with the tablespoon of butter. Place potatoes in bottom of prepared dish. Sprinkle with salt, garlic salt and pepper. Top with crumbled bacon, then add the onions and mushrooms.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and parsley. Pour the beaten eggs over the casserole and top with grated cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until set.

overnight eggnog baked french toast

1/4 cup butter (melt the butter while the dish is baking) or 1/4 cup margarine, melted

7 large eggs

2 cups eggnog

1- 1/2 ounces rum (optional)

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Salt

1- 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch slices

Icing sugar

Beat together eggs, eggnog, rum, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and vanilla.

Dip both sides of each slice of bread in this mixture and place them side by side in a greased oven-proof Pyrex dish Pour any remaining mixture over the slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (If you wish you can freeze the dish and put in fridge to defrost the evening before you wish to serve it.) Bake in 450 F on bottom rack for 20-25 minutes (watch the bottom doesn’t get too brown).

Place on rack to cool slightly and dust with icing sugar. Serve with maple syrup and the melted butter. It’s nice served with a fresh-fruit salad and bacon.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

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