Festive Christmas brunch recipes for the perfect holiday meal

Festive Christmas brunch recipes for the perfect holiday meal

Thanksgiving Day is safely in the books so now it is on to planning for the next gala.

That’s right, the easy part is over. It may not have seemed easy to plan the biggest one-day eating extravaganza of the year and then pull it off without a hitch.

But compared to Christmas, Thanksgiving is going to seem like a walk in the park. A busy walk in a big park, but for my money it is much easier.

Why is Christmas so much harder, you ask?

Because, as I have stated often, Christmas menu planning is made more difficult by the simple fact that food is not the focus of the day. Unlike Thanksgiving, where with a few notable exceptions the menu is pretty much set in stone, Christmas meals involve a less rigid format with many more food options from which to choose.

At Christmas, food becomes almost an afterthought. But you have to eat, right? And if you are that person in your household who is responsible for the cooking, then it falls on you to come up with a plan to feed your family and guests.

The solution is obvious and one that we have explored many times in the past — brunch.

I have been preaching about the benefits of a festive Christmas brunch for more years than I choose to remember. Setting out a spread for your guests with a variety of tasty nibbles is the perfect solution to putting food on the table while allowing your guests to dine at their leisure.

Here are a few ideas for make-ahead dishes and one tasty adult libation.

This first one comes from the folks at Taste of Home and is a take on a classic breakfast/brunch dish.

Western Omelet Casserole

8 servings

1 package (30 ounces) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed

1 pound cubed fully cooked ham or 1 pound bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

12 large eggs

1 cup 2{d2b09b03d44633acb673e8080360919f91e60962656af8ade0305d5d8b7e4889} milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

In a greased 5- or 6-qt. slow cooker, layer half of each of the following: potatoes, ham, onion, green pepper and cheese. Repeat layers.

Whisk together remaining ingredients; pour over top. Cook, covered, on low until set, 6-7 hours. Turn off slow cooker. Remove insert; let stand, uncovered, 15-30 minutes before serving.

Here’s another favorite holiday party favorite. You can remove the alcohol if you prefer but leave mine in, if you don’t mind.

Mom’s Spicy Bloody Mary

1 serving

1 large lime wedge

Coarse salt, for garnish

1 1/2 ounces high-quality vodka

4 ounces tomato juice

Dash celery salt

Dash freshly ground cracked pepper

8 good shakes Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon horseradish

1 to 2 good dashes good hot sauce

Pimento stuffed green olive, for garnish

Spicy pickled asparagus, for garnish

Pickled green bean, for garnish

Take a glass and run the lime wedge around the rim to dampen. Dip top of the rim into coarse salt to completely go around the rim.

Add first 7 ingredients together in the glass, squeeze the lime wedge into the glass and mix all together.

Add the green olive on a toothpick, the pickled asparagus spear and pickled green bean, for garnish and enjoy.

This recipe was given to me years ago by a friend and it has been in my holiday party rotation ever since.

Italian Appetizer

12-20 servings

½ pound salami, sliced

½ pound pepperoni, sliced

½ pound ham, sliced

1/4 pound provolone cheese, sliced

¼ cup grated Parmesan

¼ cup mild cheddar cheese, sliced

5 eggs

2 small jars roasted red peppers

2 cans crescent dinner rolls

Dash Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

Grease a 9-by-13 inch pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line bottom of pan with one package of crescent dinner rolls. Layer 1/2 the salami, pepperoni, ham, provolone, cheddar cheese and peppers.

Beat eggs, add Parmesan cheese and pour over mixture.

Repeat as before with remaining meat, cheese and peppers. Top with rolls.

Bake covered for 30 minutes. Bake an additional 20-25 minutes uncovered.

Cut into squares and serve hot or cold.