I’m already ready for a post-holiday vacation. (You too?) Well guess what: I’m giving one away… sort of. (Details at the bottom of this post, FYI.) But first, let’s talk holiday entertaining…. Oooohhhh…. Aaaaahhhh…
Christmas morning gets to be a big fat mess over here. At least, it has been the last few years. (And both my kids are still under the age of 4.) Contrary to what you’re thinking: NO, I don’t go hog-wild on the gifts. Things stay pretty appropriate and moderate over here (which I think is fabulous). But it’s a MESS. (You can see my then-1 year old is nowhere to be found in this pic here… I think she was lost in a pile of crumpled wrapping paper… I’m suddenly reminded how much a long for a vacation after Christmas has come and gone each year.)
So let’s just say you have this kind of North Pole tornado visit your house too (yes, you do?) and on top of it all you’ve signed yourself up for entertaining extended family members for a “nice Christmas morning breakfast” right after everyone opens gifts in their own home. Yes! Why don’t you all trot on over here after you open gifts and we can all have a nice Christmas breakfast together! Seemed like a festive idea when you suggested it a few weeks ago… except now you’re wondering how the heck you’re gonna whip up something fabulous — like you remember from that amazing holiday hotel brunch from that vacation way back when — between shoving wrapping paper and ripped ribbons into garbage bags?!?!? (You can see I didn’t think this through. I mean, I’ve hosted Thanksgiving no problem… but I didn’t have to deal with presents+toys+cleanup+changing-outta-pajamas minutes before my guests showed up!) Sure, cold cereal and milk could work but IT’S CHRISTMAS, YA KNOW?!!?!? You kinda need to do a nice & hot fancy-ish something (if only for your mother-in-law)… but you can’t wrap your brain around doing anything that takes a long time. It’s gotta be FAST. No exceptions. You’re tired even thinking about it. (Is it too late to book a vacation for Christmas Day?)
So, in the name of being fabulous, fast and fun for Christmas morning (and faking like I’m on vacation in some weird twisted way) I thought to formally present my go-to fave for breakfast time: EGG & CHEESE CASSEROLE! It’s fast, easy, delicious and fun. (Sounds like a good time, no?) Trust me and try it. This is the most bang for your buck you’re gonna get – with minimal effort.
Here’s what you need: 10 eggs, 16-oz cottage cheese, 1 lb jack cheese (shredded), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup flour, 7-oz can diced green chiles (optional)… green and red salsas (if you like ’em).
Make this the night before. (Ya hear that? MAKE THIS THE NIGHT BEFORE! EASY! WHEE!) Melt butter in 9×13 pan in oven. That’s right… just throw the butter in that pan and then put that pan in a 300 (or so) degree oven.
In a large bowl, beat all 10 eggs until lemony-colored. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cottage cheese, jack cheese and chilies if you choose to use ’em (I suggest using ’em… yum.) Mix together until well blended and pour directly into that pan you just melted all that butter in and pulled out of the oven (it’s ok if the pan’s hot… I’ve done it like that and it all turns out fine). Chill overnight. Did you hear me? CHILL OVERNIGHT (IE: DO NOT COOK YET).
The next morning? Wake up, set your oven to 350 degrees, bake that chilled out pan of butter, egg & cheese mixture (that spent the night in your fridge) for 35 minutes. When it’s done, let cool for a few minutes (just to set) and then cut in squares. Top with your fave salsa (like I said, I enjoy red and/or green for Christmastime). There: Breakfast. Serves 12. (You can also add 1 lb chopped ham, sausage or browned bacon into egg mixture if you’ve got meat-lovers in your crowd.) This dish gets raves. Little does anyone know how embarrassingly simple this is to make. (I guess they know now. Damn… I’m found out.) Throw in some bagels, pastries and fruit and you’re DONE.
And now I’m ready for that post-holiday vacation….