Breakfast for a busy Christmas morning

  • By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist
  • Tuesday, December 18, 2007 5:46pm
  • Life

Christmas mornings at many of our homes are like a vat of rice cereal activated with milk — they snap, crackle and pop with anticipation and excitement …

And, it goes without saying, they’re busy, busy, busy.

So what about breakfast on this morning of mornings? Well, that would depend on whether you’re a last-gasper, someone who thinks fast on her feet and can pull together suitable fodder quicker than greased lightning, or are instead a cook who feels pretty much compelled to have the entire menu not only sort-of planned, but hammered down tight and ready to dish up whenever the eaters tear themselves away from the tree and head for the table.

While I wouldn’t exactly say never the twain shall meet, this particular diversity can make a major difference when settling on the right recipe. We have two to choose from today, one of which should fit you perfectly.

The first, a sweet, do-ahead thing for those of us determined to get a jump on the job, comes courtesy of Everett cook Carol Wilson.

“Here is a recipe I found on About.com I call Christmas morning French toast,” she says.

“It’s so good Santa might just stick around for breakfast. This is easy to make and is so good. It would be good for any holiday morning or brunch. It can be served by itself or with bacon, ham or sausage.”

The second possibility is a raisin-studded oatmeal concoction that Penzeys Spices notes takes only about 15 minutes to knock together, and then cooks itself in the oven.

There’s just one thing about this oatmeal recipe. If you add raisins, and if you have some of it left over, either don’t feed it to the dog or pick out and dispose of the raisins first, as information from reliable sources indicates that raisins (and grapes, too) are lethal to dogs.

This information has not yet been confirmed personally by any of us, but let’s not take any chances with our beloved four-footers until we can check with our own veterinarians.

The next Forum will appear in Friday’s Time Out section.

1 loaf French bread

8 eggs

1-1/2 cups half-and-half

1 cup milk

1teaspoon vanilla

2tablespoons sugar

1/4teaspoon cinnamon

1/4teaspoon nutmeg

Dash salt

Praline topping (recipe follows)

Maple syrup

Slice bread into 20 1-inch slices. Arrange slices in two layers, overlapping slices, in a generously buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; beat until blended but not bubbly. Pour mixture evenly over bread slices. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, prepare praline topping and spread over bread. Bake uncovered until golden brown, about 45 minutes.

Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Makes 12 servings, but this recipe can be halved for six servings.

Praline topping

2cubes (1 cup) margarine or butter, softened

1cup brown sugar

1cup pecans

2tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2teaspoon cinnamon

1/2teaspoon nutmeg

In mixing bowl, combine margarine or butter, brown sugar, pecans, corn syrup and spices; blend well.

Penzeys baked oatmeal

2-1/4cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

2/3cup brown sugar

3/4cup raisins or craisins

1/2cup chopped walnuts

1teaspoon cinnamon

1/2teaspoon salt

3-1/3cups skim milk

4egg whites, lightly beaten

1teaspoon vegetable oil

1teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Milk or yogurt

Fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine oats, sugar, raisins or craisins, walnuts, cinnamon and salt; mix well. In a medium bowl, combine milk, egg whites, oil and vanilla and mix well; add to oat mixture and mix until well blended. Pour into baking dish and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until center is set and firm to the touch.

Cool slightly, then serve topped with milk or yogurt and, if desired, fruit. Store leftover oatmeal tightly covered in the refrigerator.

Makes six to eight servings.

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