I’m hosting Christmas at my house with my family and my parents this year. One of the things I remember about Christmas vacation as a kid is the yummy breakfasts we’d have together before heading outside for some sledding. My dad would make his special “Mickey Mouse“ pancakes and my sister and I would wait at the table for our flapjacks, warming our hands around our candy-cane Christmas mugs filled with hot chocolate.
It’s one of the things I love most about all the time off over the holidays—the cooking (and eating) we do together. We still make great breakfasts, since we have time to hang out in the morning before we get going for the day.
This year I’m going to stick to a 3-dish brunch that covers all the bases, so I can spend more time relaxing and enjoying my family. What’s even better—the casserole and green salad can be made ahead so I can have more time to relax in the morning, when I want to.
Here’s what’s on the menu:
Ham & Cheese Breakfast Casserole
This healthy update of a traditionally rich ham-and-cheese breakfast strata is made lighter primarily by losing a few egg yolks and using nonfat milk. Gruyère cheese has a delicious, nutty aroma and flavor, which means that with the relatively small amount in this recipe you still get a big impact. To finish the makeover use nutritious, fiber-rich, whole-grain bread instead of white. The results: plenty of flavor, half the calories and one-third the fat of the original.
Winter Salad with Toasted Walnuts
This simple recipe works best with a balanced mix of lettuces that includes a mild variety, such as Boston, as well as a more intense and sturdy green, such as escarole. You can add thinly sliced pear, apple or persimmon or replace the fennel with fruit.
Winter Fruit Salad
Fruit salad isn’t just for summer; orange, grapefruit, pineapple, star fruit and pomegranate combine for a satisfying dish your body craves.
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