Christmas breakfast casseroles for guests
Overnight french toast casserole
Serving size 8
Assemble this hearty breakfast casserole the night before and all you have to do in the morning is bake it while the coffee is brewing and your holiday guests are making their way out of bed to the kitchen.
- 16 slices whole grain bread (try a whole grain or sprouted raisin bread!)
- 8 eggs
- 2-1/4 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Zest and juice one orange
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- In a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish, evenly arrange bread slices, cutting bread into smaller pieces to make it even.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, orange zest and juice, sugar, butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour egg mixture over bread, shaking the dish to evenly distribute liquid through bread slices.
- Cover dish and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, set dish on the counter while oven is preheating.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake casserole for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Prosciutto, artichoke and tomato strata
Serving size 12
My favorite breakfast casserole, this flavorful strata is one of the many fix and freeze meals in my cookbook Make Ahead Meals Made Healthy (Fairwinds, July 2011). Plan ahead and put a couple of these casseroles in your freezer right now so you don't have to fuss with breakfast when your holiday guests arrive.
- 3 cups milk, divided
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 cups (1-inch cubes) cracked wheat sourdough bread
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
- 2 (6 ounce) jars artichoke hearts, drained, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 2 cups milk and oil. Add bread cubes and let soak for 10 minutes.
- In a second large bowl, whisk together remaining milk and half-and-half. Whisk in eggs, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir in feta, sage and thyme.
- Place half of the bread mixture in prepared baking dish. Layer with half of the prosciutto. Top with half of the artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and cheeses.
- Pour half of the egg mixture overtop and shake the dish to evenly distribute the liquid.
- Repeat layer bread, prosciutto, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and cheeses. Cover with remaining eggs, shaking dish to distribute. Set aside to soak for 30 minutes.
- Bake for 1 hour or until casserole is set. Set on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Cook's note: If you are going to make this casserole ahead and freeze, let it cool completely then cover tightly with freezer wrap. Freeze for up to 2 months. To serve, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight then bake in the oven 25 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Mexican brunch casserole
Serving size 8
Wake up your guests with a spicy Mexican-inspired casserole featuring peppers, eggs and cheese. To make this breakfast even heartier, add chorizo to the skillet with the vegetables.
- 8 cups cubed cornbread
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large green pepper, seeded, chopped
- 1 large red pepper, seeded, chopped
- 2 jalapenos, minced
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1-1/2 cups pepper jack cheese
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- A few grinds freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spread cornbread on two large baking sheets and toast in the oven until cornbread is slightly dry. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add peppers, onion and jalapenos. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
- In a second large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cheese, cilantro and black pepper.
- Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and fill with cornbread cubes. Evenly scatter with pepper mixture. Pour egg mixture overtop and shake dish to evenly distribute liquid through the cornbread and vegetables.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until casserole is set and lightly browned. Place baking dish on a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.