There’s perhaps no easier way to get the job of feeding Christmas’ early morning risers than making a breakfast casserole the night before.
It can be ready while the kids are searching their stockings and unwrapping all those presents you beautifully wrapped.
I used to serve Christmas brunch as the main meal of the day, but over the past few years I’ve found it much nicer to spend Christmas morning with my children and grandchildren rather than slaving in the kitchen. And a big breakfast casserole is always on the menu.
This is a recipe I found in Country Living, and I’ve seen it in various incarnations online since then. Some use raspberries rather than blueberries; others add more cinnamon and leave out the lemon zest.
The beauty of casseroles is their versatility. I’ve always made it as the recipe states, adding just a few more blueberries than called for, but use your imagination.
Few can resist the temptation of pancakes, bread pudding and blueberries married with each bite.
Blueberry Pancake Bread Pudding
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus a pinch for topping
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sour cream
5 large eggs, divided
Butter for griddle
1 (6-ounce) package fresh blueberries, divided
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons half-and-half
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Pancakes: Combine flour, pecans, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Whisk together milk, sour cream and 1 egg in a separate bowl. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until just blended and smooth.
Heat a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add some butter to keep pancakes from sticking. Pour about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto griddle. Cook until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look dry, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook until plump and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.
Slice each pancake in half and arrange, flat side down, in two snug rows in an 8- by 8-inch baking dish. Scatter half of blueberries over pancakes, tucking a few between pancakes.
Egg custard: Whisk together 2 cups half-and-half, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, remaining 4 eggs, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Pour egg mixture over pancakes. Chill at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until puffed and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.
Topping: Sprinkle top of casserole with remaining blueberries, and drizzle with Honey Sour Cream. Serve warm.
Honey Sour Cream: Whisk together sour cream, 2 tablespoons half-and-half, honey, lemon zest and a pinch of salt until smooth. Makes 1/2 cup.
My wok, a favorite cooking vessel for the past couple of decades, finally met its demise during the pandemic when I used it weekly to toss leftover meats and veggies with rice for a quick meal.
A generously sized, well-designed wok can be a boon for weeknight dinners. Not only are they ideal for stir-fries, they’re the perfect tool for making most any dish you normally prepare in a skillet. The beauty of a wok, though, is that it cooks foods much more quickly than a skillet, and its curved, round shape ensures that the finished product is less oily.
So when Circulon added a new wok to its collection, I was happy to add it to mine. My old one was made by Circulon, and it lasted for years, through children and beyond, so I knew its new one would last for at least the rest of my life.
It’s newly launched wok is made from hybrid stainless steel and is nonstick. In other words, it can stand up to stir-fry after stir-fry and its surface can stand up against metal spoons. What a plus. It can go from oven to dishwasher, too. But it’s pretty enough to keep out on the stove.
Check it out at amazon.com or circulon.com.
NEW ON THE MENU
Miller’s Ale House has added several new items to its already stacked menu. There will be a Tuesday special — a 6-ounce sirloin steak with vegetables and one additional side for $10 and on Wednesdays, order 1 1/2 pounds of crab legs and two sides for $20. Or add 1 pound of crab legs to any order any time for $12.
The specials won’t be around for long though — just through the holiday season — so get to the restaurant at 2119 Gunbarrel Road or the newly opened location at 574 Northgate Mall Drive.
CHRISTMAS MEAL HELP
If you have a favorite place to order entrees or side dishes for your at-home holiday meals, keep in mind that orders need to be placed soon, as we’re less than two weeks away from Christmas.
Main Street Meats, for one, has a Friday deadline for its Christmas take-home menu, which includes a ready-to-eat (or heat) Niman Ranch standing rib roast for $35 (or order it raw and ready-to-cook for $24), smoked Heritage Pork coppa hams for $18 per pound and uncooked Niman Ranch beef tenderloin roasts for $45 per pound. The restaurant also has a selection of sides and desserts available.
Orders can be placed on their website, mainstreetmeatschatt.com. Pickup is 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 23-24.