Forget the hustle and bustle together with Christmas breakfasts prepared ahead of time

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In many households, Christmas morning can be chaotic, to say the least.

Children are running to see what Santa left them, wrapping paper is flying, while adults are thinking about preparation for the main meal later in the day.

Who has time to think about breakfast?

Imagine what it’s like for farming families, whose mornings are busy enough every day. It may be a day off for some, but barn chores still need to be completed.

That’s what it’s like on Christmas morning at Geneve Newcombe’s house in Port Williams, NS The Newcombe family has been farming there since 1761, with a focus on laying hens, dairy cattle, broiler chickens and grain crops.

Christmas morning always begins with farm chores, said Newcombe. All the animals and barns need to be checked and cows need to be milked. After chores, they open their Christmas stockings, have breakfast and then open gifts.

After Christmas dinner, it’s time to go out and do barn checks again, milk the cows and collect the eggs.

Because of her family’s varied schedule on Christmas morning and because of a plethora of eggs on the farm, Newcombe said they usually have scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, as it was quick and easy and did not have to be planned for a certain time.

She does, however, also love make-ahead breakfasts that are egg-based, such as an eggs Benedict casserole, apple cinnamon egg bake or oven-baked French toast. These are all made the night before, left in the fridge, and tossed in the oven in the morning.


French toast, filled with fresh fruit and maybe even some hazelnut spread, is a scrumptious Christmas morning meal that can be prepared ahead of time. PC.ca photo – PC.ca photo

The wife saver

Samantha Blizzard says her Christmas morning breakfast tradition includes making a one-pan dish called Christmas Morning Wife Saver, along with homemade cinnamon buns and fresh fruit. This is a tradition that is very nostalgic to her as she has carried it on from childhood.

As we know, young children can be very eager to explore under the tree, leaving breakfast as last on the priority list, said Blizzard.

“I love the idea of ​​a one-pan meal you can prep ahead of time and pop into the oven on Christmas morning,” she said. “You will love the aroma of something cooking while you share the magic of giving.”

All is calm

For Dawn Coombs of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Christmas morning is pretty relaxed. Her day de ella usually starts with some eggnog lattes or a big pot of coffee for her and her husband de ella. Sometimes, it is accompanied by a slice of her banana gingerbread from ella and then they open some presents before heading to her parents’ house for a big turkey dinner.

Even though Christmas morning can be frantic, Coombs advised not to stress out, although she acknowledged that sometimes this is easier said than done. Christmas is meant to be a fun time spent with family, so, if there are things you can do the day or night before, Coombs recommended doing them.

She has lots of great tips when it comes to food preparation. She maintains Girl Heart Food, a website and blog with hundreds of easy comfort food recipes, from healthy to indulgent and everything in between.


Dawn Coombs maintains Girl Heart Food, a website and blog with hundreds of easy comfort food recipes, including some Christmas breakfast ideas that can be made ahead of time.  Girl Heart Food photo - Girl Heart Food photo
Dawn Coombs maintains Girl Heart Food, a website and blog with hundreds of easy comfort food recipes, including some Christmas breakfast ideas that can be made ahead of time. Girl Heart Food photo – Girl Heart Food photo

To make Christmas morning easier, Coombs suggested the following:

  • Prepare your pot of coffee and set it on a timer to brew at a certain time. It’s a little task, but something you don’t have to fuss with later. Plus, waking up to a fresh pot of coffee is a great start to Christmas Day.
  • If planning a big meal, have the table set the night before. For example, lay out your place settings, put the extender piece in the dining room table, make sure you have enough chairs out, etc.
  • If having a big meal, write a list beforehand. For example, list the things you need to do and the order you need to do them. Writing down time estimates also helps to keep you on track and organized. This could include when a certain item should go in the oven.
  • Unload your dishwasher the night before. Having it completely empty is a must on the day you’re having a big meal. That way, you can load it up and not have to worry about washing the dishes by hand, or most of them anyway.

What’s on the menu?

When it comes to deciding what to make or serve, Blizzard, who is the registered dietitian at the Atlantic Superstore in Charlottetown and Montague, PEI offered further advice for Christmas morning meals.

The Internet has lots of great recipes for prep-ahead breakfast casseroles, she noted. Choose one that appeals to your family and serve it with a side of fruit as a tasty meal requiring little to no preparation on the morning. Other fun make-ahead ideas using the oven could include a quiche, overnight cinnamon rolls or baked oatmeal. Let these things bake as you spend time participating in any other family traditions, like gift giving, advised Blizzard.

If you’re a breakfast sandwich, breakfast burrito, French toast or pancake fan, you’re in luck, as all these options freeze beautifully, said Blizzard. Make these items in advance and simply heat them on Christmas morning using either your microwave for the sandwiches and burritos or your toaster for the pancakes and French toast, she suggested.


From biscuits to English muffins, bagels to croissants, there are endless possibilities when choosing the bread to make a breakfast sandwich.  There are just as many options when it comes to how to prepare your eggs.  -RF Stock
From biscuits to English muffins, bagels to croissants, there are endless possibilities when choosing the bread to make a breakfast sandwich. There are just as many options when it comes to how to prepare your eggs. -RF Stock

Remember, added Coombs, when cooking or making a meal for family, not every single thing has to be homemade. Mix and match. You can pick up some store-bought items from your local grocery store or deli and basically just reheat if needed. Or ask a family member, if you’re having company, to bring a dish.

“Honestly, sometimes you just don’t want to cook or have the time to do so,” said Coombs.

Consider ordering in or picking up your favorite takeout the day before to reheat the next day. By doing so, you are also supporting your favorite local restaurant, if possible, said Coombs.

Alternatively, Blizzard recommends a few new PC products that are outside the usual box for Christmas morning breakfast. These include the new cranberry and brie puff pastry bites or the individual croissant bread puddings, served with maple bacon and a fruit tray. More traditional options could include the PC tourtiere, mini quiches or mini sausage rolls. There is also a vegan mini Sausageless roll from the PC plant-based line, too, said Blizzard.

The drinks

Blizzard recommended maybe a mimosa made with freshly squeezed orange juice for the adults, or hot chocolate bombs for the kids.

Blizzard noted food can forge connections and bring people together, as it is often paired with experiences and memories. This is why, she emphasized, she doesn’t believe eating a perfectly balanced breakfast on Christmas morning needs to be a priority, as it is a special day.

Instead, she suggested focusing on choosing foods your family loves and starting a tradition everyone will look forward to each year. This doesn’t mean the foods you choose can’t offer some nutrition, but, if cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing are a hit in your household, please go for it and enjoy every bite, said Blizzard.


Geneve: Eggs Benedict Casserole (can also be found on the Eggs.ca website)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped ham
  • 6 English Muffins, cubed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ¼ milk
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Hollandaise Willow

  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ salted butter, melted and hot
  • Pinch paprika
  • Dash hot sauce (optional)

Directions

  1. Place one cup of ham on the bottom of a greased eight-inch square baking dish. Top with English muffin and scatter remaining ham overtop.
  2. In a bowl whisk eggs, milk, dry mustard, paprika and pepper. Pour over the English Muffins and ham. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake until tester comes out clean: 60-70 minutes.

Hollandaise Willow

  1. In a blender combine egg yolks, dry mustard, lemon juice and hot sauce. With blender running, slowly pour in butter in a steady stream. Blend until thickened, five to 10 seconds. If sauce is too thick, add one to two tablespoons of hot water.

Serve over casserole. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.


Geneve: Oven-Baked French Toast (can also be found on the Eggs.ca website)

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 TBS orange juice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 6 slices day old bread (egg bread or raisin bread)
  • Maple syrup, icing sugar and/or fruit (optional)

Directions

  1. Whisk eggs, milk, brown sugar, orange juice, cinnamon and nutmeg in a shallow dish until well blended. Place bread in mixture, leave for three minutes. Turn bread over; cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Transfer bread to a non-stick baking sheet lined with foil sprayed with cooking spray
  3. Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 10 minutes. Turn carefully and bake until puffed and golden, 10-15 minutes longer.
  4. If desired, drizzle maple syrup over top or sift icing sugar on slices and serve with fresh fruit.

Geneve: Apple Cinnamon Egg Bake (recipe from a fellow egg farming friend in Manitoba)

(serves 12-16 people) can be easily halved for a 9”x 9” pan

  • Grease a glass 10”x15” casserole dish
  • It says apples to make eight cups worth.
  • Sauté apples in a large pan. Add 1 cup sugar and ½ cup butter. Once apples are soft (about five to seven minutes), remove from heat and add two tsp cinnamon ½ tsp nutmeg and ½ tsp cloves.
  • Soften eight ounces of cream cheese and beat eight eggs together with ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup milk, ¼ cup apple juice, 1 tsp vanilla and ¼ tsp salt. Combine until smooth.
  • Roughly chop five or six croissants and place in prepared casserole dish. Place apples on top. Add another three or four croissants. Pour egg mixture over top. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge overnight.
  • Prepare the Streusel Topping:
  • ¼ cup butter, ½ cup flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/3 cup sugar. Combine to make crumbs
  • When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and add the streusel topping. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

notes:

  • Macintosh apples work well as they break down easily.
  • Can add ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries to the apples.
  • Can switch out the apples for blueberries, peaches or other fruit

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