The Modern Chef: Stress-Free Make Ahead Christmas Breakfast Recipes

December 24, 2015  |  

Opening all those presents is hard work and can sure work up an appetite. But no one wants to spend all morning in the kitchen. That’s why our friends at the shared some make-ahead breakfast recipes that you can make the night before Santa comes and just pop in the oven the next day.



Coconut-Almond French Toast Casserole
The bread needs time to soak up the delicious custard but doesn’t come out soggy.

French Toast:
Unsalted butter, for greasing dish
9 slices Texas Toast or other thick-sliced bread
6 large eggs
3 1/2 cups half-and-half
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Coconut-Almond Crust:
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sliced almonds
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

Confectioners’ sugar and berries, for garnish, optional

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.

For the French toast: Lay the bread slices in one layer (it’s OK if they overlap a little) on a baking sheet. Bake the slices (to dry them out a little) for 6 minutes, then flip and bake for 6 minutes more. Set aside to cool.

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Cheddar, Ham and Egg Casserole
Cold cuts get a delicious makeover in this egg casserole.

Cooking spray
6 ounces thinly-sliced deli ham, torn into quarters
4 whole-wheat English muffins, split, toasted and halved
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes not in oil (about 14), sliced
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2/3 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar, divided
4 large eggs
3 large egg whites
3 cups reduced-fat milk (2 percent)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lightly mist a round 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Alternately place the ham and muffins in the dish to make a shingled pattern. Sprinkle the sundried tomatoes, scallions and 1/3 cup cheddar over the casserole.
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Sweet Potato Waffles with Marshmallows
These waffles are like having grandma’s casserole leftovers, but better.

1 medium sweet potato
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for brushing waffle iron
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
Pure maple syrup, for serving
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
Special equipment: waffle iron (preferably Belgian style)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Poke the sweet potato with a fork a few times and bake until soft in the center, about 40 minutes. Let cool, then scoop out the flesh and puree in a food processor until smooth.
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Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
This breakfast casserole is perfect for feeding a full house during the holidays.

6 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing dish
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes (crusts removed)
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
8 large eggs
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch cayenne
4 ounces ham, diced
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere, Emmental or Jarlsberg (about 4 ounces)
2 small plum tomatoes, sliced very thinly
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and continue cooking and stirring until the onions are soft and caramelized, 20 minutes more. If they start to burn, lower the heat further. Season with salt and black pepper.

Meanwhile, heat another large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the bread and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown all over, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer the bread to a large bowl. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the mushrooms and cook undisturbed to brown for 1 minute. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 2 minutes more. Season with salt and black pepper.
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