My family always made a big brunch Christmas morning, so I decided to carry on this tradition as I hosted for the first time this year. Rather than cooking pancakes, scrambled eggs, or other items that would take a lot of work the morning of, I went for dishes that could be prepared the night before and thrown in the oven in the morning.
I knew I wanted to make some sort of French toast casserole, so after a little online research, I decided to try Paula Deen's recipe on the Food Network website. My sister helped me prepare it the night before and it was very easy. It's super rich (of course there is like a pound of butter like most Paula Deen recipes), but it was so good! The only thing we did differently was leave out the pecans.
- Cook about 1 1/2 packages of bacon over medium-high heat in a pan until crisp (I add fresh cracked pepper to the bacon while cooking it). Crumble the bacon and set aside when all the bacon is finished. Pour most of grease out of pan, leaving about 1-2 tablespoons.
- Add one diced yellow onion to pan with leftover grease, cook until tender and translucent.
- Add 1-2 cloves of minced garlic and about half a bag of frozen shredded hash browns to onions in pan and continue to saute. Add oil if needed and salt and pepper.
- Spray canola oil spray (or whatever you have on hand) in the bottom of a 9 x 11 inch pan. Spread potato and onion mixture in the bottom of pan.
- Sprinkle bacon and shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese (just enough cheese to cover it) over potato mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together 18 eggs and 1/2 cup of milk. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place pan with potatoes in the oven for about 5-10 minutes. This allows the potatoes to crisp up a bit.
- Remove pan from oven and pour egg mixture over potatoes. Place back in oven and bake 25-30 minutes or until eggs are set.
- Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over casserole and serve.
I also made cheese grits. It's a favorite of my mom and her parents, plus it takes almost no time to prepare. I use quick grits and follow the recipe on the container. Once they are cooked, I add a small handful of shredded sharp cheddar and a heavy pinch of shredded parmesan. I also add about a tablespoon of butter and salt and pepper to taste (this was for 6 servings, so you can adjust if making more or less).