For many people, Christmas is a time to celebrate family, to give and receive gifts, and to honor old traditions or create new ones. But for the home cook, Christmas is the opportunity to wow guests with an array of baked goods, savory meats, and all the dishes that are essential for the holiday season. Brunch is the perfect opportunity to host a get-together and show off these Christmas brunch ideas.
Recipe Hint #1: Make seasonal ingredients the star!
There are certain ingredients that taste the best around Christmastime, perhaps because they are served best alongside the nostalgia and cheer that go hand-in-hand with the holiday. For a truly memorable Christmas brunch, embrace those ingredients and make their flavors come through in your dishes. Try using pumpkin, canned or fresh, to make a delicious cake, muffins, or this delicious and easy pumpkin bread:
Christmas Brunch Pumpkin Bread
Yield: 2 loaves
Preparation/cook time: 1 hour
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (make your own in the best yogurt maker)
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 16 ounces (2 cups) pumpkin
- 3-1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350F. Coat two 9×5 loaf pans with butter. Combine applesauce, yogurt and sugars in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer, adding eggs and pumpkin, until mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, combine flour, spices, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend. Pour evenly into each loaf pan and bake 45 minutes.
Alternatively, make this delicious bread in a bread maker!
Recipe Hint #2: Don’t forget family recipes!
Christmas is a time for families to gather together, and chances are, you’ll have at least one family member at your brunch. That means it’s the perfect time to celebrate your heritage with a recipe that has been passed down through generations, like Mexican sweet fritters, German apple pancakes, or this hearty Italian strata.
Grandma’s Ham, Cheese and Veggie Strata
Yield: 1 casserole (approx. 12 servings)
Preparation/cook time: 1 hour
- 6 large eggs
- 1 loaf crusty French bread, cubed
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 12 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 pound broccoli florets
- 1 Italian sweet red pepper, diced
- 1 Italian Cubanelle pepper, diced
- 2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
- 2 cups fully cooked ham, diced
- 2 ½ cups milk
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
Blanch broccoli in boiling water, then cook with ice water. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and sauté onion, garlic and peppers. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and combine with mustard and black pepper before adding milk with a hand mixer. Place half of the bread cubes in a 13×9 baking dish that has been coated in butter, layering in the onion mixture, then broccoli, ham and finally cheese. After the second layer of bread, pour half the egg mixture into the dish before repeating with the other layers, topping with the remaining egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake the next day, uncovered, at 35oF for one hour.
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