The trouble with Christmas morning is that you invariably get pulled in too many directions. Toys need assembling. Batteries need to be found. Wrapping paper needs to be herded into trash bags. The family needs to be fed.
And of course all you really want to do is sit with your cup of coffee and enjoy your kids enjoying their presents.
I can’t help you with the badly written assembly instructions or the suddenly MIA batteries or the mountains of paper, bows, and boxes. I’ll be dealing with all of my own, thanks so much.
But I can share a recipe for a do-ahead breakfast casserole that at least will keep you out of the kitchen and in where the action is.
This simple casserole blends all the many things we – and our kids – love about a hearty, warm breakfast. There are eggs, ham, cheese, and even waffles. And it all gets baked together in a tasty dish that resemble a cross between baked French toast and a custardy quiche.
To keep it simple, I started with a layer of frozen whole-grain waffles. Then we top those with some grated cheddar cheese, some sliced deli ham, then another layer of waffles. Douse the whole thing with a blend of eggs and milk, and then it just needs to cook.
And the real beauty of this dish is that it is best prepped the night before. Assemble the whole thing, then cover it with plastic wrap and pop it in the refrigerator. In the morning, just put it in the oven on your way to the Christmas tree.
For serving, you can keep it savory and eat it as-is. Or take it sweet and top it with fresh fruit or maple syrup (or both).
The only tricky part is getting three round waffles arranged on the bottom of a square pan. It’s actually not tricky, but I figured a visual would help.
Christmas Breakfast Casserole
Start to finish: 40 minutes (10 minutes active)
8 frozen whole-grain waffles
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
8 slices (about 1/2 pound) deli-sliced ham
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1. Coat a 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Arrange 2 waffles in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. The easiest way to do this is to set them in opposing corners. Cut a third waffle in half and arrange one half on each side of the other waffles to cover as much of the bottom of the pan as possible.
3. Scatter 1/4 cup of the cheese over the waffles. Top with 4 slices of the ham, then another 1/4 cup of the cheese.
4. Top with 2 more waffles, alternating so they are above the waffle halves in the bottom layer. Cut a third waffle in half and set the halves on either side.
5. Top with another 1/4 cup of cheese, another 4 slices of ham, then another 1/4 cup of cheese. Place the remaining 2 waffles on top, then sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese.
6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over the waffle layers, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
7. In the morning, heat the oven to 375 F. Uncover the casserole and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cheese and ham on top are lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing.