When you make the effort to prepare a special breakfast during the holidays, your family will thank you. Plan ahead and by the time everyone is up and congregating in the kitchen, all you need to do is pop the strata or the waffles in the oven!
Prepare the Night Before
This wholesome menu is designed to be made the day before and served with love and a smile on a winter's morning.
Rich, gooey Caramel Pecan Rolls can be baked as soon as the dough is made, or baked 24 hours later. Follow the directions in the recipe, which instruct you how to wrap the pan and let the rolls rest in the refrigerator overnight.
When the family wakes up, put them in the oven and watch the effect of the sweet smell wafting from the kitchen. Even the sleepiest kid will raise his tousled head from the pillow!
To make the rolls more interesting, substitute dried cranberries, dried strawberries, dried blueberries, or dried apricots for the raisins. You could even try a packaged mix of dried fruits. Don't stop there; experiment with different types of nuts, too.
What's a Breakfast Strata?
A breakfast strata, such as the one we have on our menu, is an Italian-style egg casserole. Its ingredients can be combined in a casserole dish well in advance, refrigerated, and then baked shortly before it's time for breakfast.
Typically, stratas marry savory herbs and spices with cheese, sausage, vegetables, and eggs. You can depend on your favorites to personalize a strata so that it's custom made for your family.
For examle, substitute bacon, pancetta, or Canadian bacon for sausage. Use spicy or mild pork or turkey sausage. Try slices of grilled chicken for a welcome change.
Experiment with the cheeses, too. A mild Swiss, creamy Brie, pungent goat cheese, or tangy Cheddar are all good choices. There are no wrong combinations as long as you like them!
Vegetables that work best are fresh or dried tomatoes, zucchini, roasted eggplant, roasted peppers; roasted potatoes, and sautéed onions. Flavor the strata with fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, or oregano.
They'll Whiffle for Waffles!
While you can't make waffle batter ahead of time, save some time by measuring and combining the dry ingredients. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store it on the counter overnight.
Whisk the batter together just before making the waffles. They will stay warm in a 275° to 300°F oven for an hour or so.
Another option is to make the waffles a day or two in advance and keep them frozen. When it's time to eat, arrange them, still frozen, on a baking sheet and warm them up in a 300°F. oven.
Dress up the waffles with fruit-flavored syrups or pure maple syrup. You can buy fruit syrups or add jam or frozen fruit to pancake syrup and then heat it gently until warm.
Don't forget fresh fruit and orange or grapefruit juice on the breakfast table. And while you're thinking of beverages, put a twinkle in your kids' eyes with mugs of rich and decadent hot chocolate!