If you are a hosting a house full of family members for Christmas, then you are likely spending this week putting the final touches on your holiday menu. While most of us fret over what to serve for Christmas dinner, there are some of us (me) who dwell on what to serve the morning after Santa visits.
Cold cereal and dry toast won’t cut it on Christmas morning, but you don’t want to chain yourself to the stove either. After all, who wants to be slaving away in the kitchen while the rest of the family is enjoying their new gifts?
The following recipes are ideal for a special occasion. The Ham and Asparagus Egg Bake can be made the night before, refrigerated, and baked off in the morning. Meanwhile, the French toast recipes are quick and easy, but loaded with enough flavor to enhance the festive atmosphere.
HAM AND ASPARAGUS BAKE
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 pound fresh asparagus spears, steamed and cut in one- inch pieces
1/2 cup red bell peppers, diced
2 scallions, diced
2 cups diced ham
6 English muffins, buttered, split and quartered
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups crushed cornflakes
2 tablespoons melted butter
Grease the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch pan. Place muffin pieces in pan. Top with 1 cup of each cheese, asparagus, ham, scallions, and bell pepper. In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, mustard, salt and black pepper until well blended. Pour egg mixture over ingredients in pan. Cover with greased foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 30 to 40 minutes. Top with the remaining 2 cups of cheese, cornflakes and butter. Bake uncovered another 20 to 25 minutes until eggs are set and cheese is melted.
CLASSIC FRENCH TOAST
2 to 3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Crusty French bread, sliced about one inch thick (day old is best)
In a large bowl, mix beaten eggs with the milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Dip a slice of bread into mixture.
Melt butter in a skillet or on a griddle. Cook toast in butter for 1-2 minutes on each side on medium-high heat until lightly brown.
Top with powdered sugar and warm syrup.
MAPLE PECAN BAKED FRENCH TOAST
2 loaves of Texas Toast= 12 cups cubed 1-inch (day or two old)
1 1/2 cups cream
1 teaspoon maple extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup toasted pecan pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk heavy cream, eggs, cinnamon, and maple extract together until you see air bubbles. Fold in cubed bread. Spread into greased casserole dish. Top with brown sugar and pecans. Drizzle with melted butter.
Bake for 45 minutes covered, remove cover and cook for 10 to 15 more minutes.
Serve with fresh whipped cream and maple syrup.