Take time out to share a Christmas breakfast

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas breakfast is a tradition in some homes. People need a wake up call after staying up late helping Santa or attending church services on Christmas Eve.

Christmas dinner may not come until 2 or 3 p.m. or later.

It’s a chance for something that you wouldn’t make on many other days of the year, a gift to your loved ones.

How many breakfast casserole options are there? You can mix pretty much anything with eggs and a little cheese, so the options are limitless.

Fruit Salad

2 cups orange sections (about 4 oranges)

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

4 sliced, peeled kiwifruit

1 (4-pound) pineapple, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 tsp. grated lime rind

1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

1 Tbsp. fresh orange juice

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 cup flaked, sweetened coconut, toasted and divided

Combine first four ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine rind and next three ingredients in a small bowl. Gently stir lime mixture into fruit, cover and chill.

Just before serving, stir 1/4 cup coconut into pineapple mixture. Sprinkle top with 1/4 cup coconut.

Note: Peel orange, then cut out sections between membranes. Do this over a bowl and save the juice. Squeeze out the pulp and skin to make the 1 Tbsp. of orange juice.

If you don’t like kiwi, use halved grapes.

I made this without the coconut because my family is not a fan, and it is still delicious and refreshing.

This recipe from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, is close to a recipe I remember from the late 1980s. It used whole, canned green chilies (I can’t always find these, so, in a pinch, use two cans of the chopped green chilies.) It had either Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese and eggs, baked up into a light and delicious dish, which was great with salsa and tortilla chips. For breakfast, try corn muffins or just some warmed corn tortillas.

Lazy Chilies Rellenos

8 whole roasted, peeled and seeded green chilies (or two cans of chopped)

1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, divided

5 whole, large eggs

2 cups milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne.

Cut chilies in half and add a layer to the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch dish or oval casserole. Or sprinkle one can of the chopped chilies evenly across the pan.

Top chilies with half of the grated cheese. Repeat with another layer of chilies and another layer of cheese.

Pour egg mixture over the top.

Place 9-by-13 pan in a large baking pan on rimmed baking sheet and add 1/2 inch of water to the outer dish and bake for 35-45 minutes or until completely set.

For a heartier breakfast casserole, this one uses sausage, mushrooms and spinach. It would be just as good for dinner, too.

Sausage and Mushroom Breakfast Casserole

1 pound breakfast sausage — mild, sage or hot

1/2 cup chopped onion

8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms

1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

8 eggs

2 cups milk

1 cup shredded cheese (topping)

Salt and pepper to taste

Spray or butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown sausage with onion, drain well and place in baking dish. Slice mushrooms and saute in sausage drippings, adding a bit of butter, if necessary. Cook until mushrooms have released their liquid and begin to brown.

Using a kitchen towel, squeeze thawed spinach tightly to remove as much water as possible. Spread over sausage mixture.

Mix eggs, milk, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, cayenne and salt and black pepper together.

Pour egg mixture over meat, mushrooms and spinach and bake, uncovered for 50-60 minutes. Add shredded cheese, such as cheddar, pepper jack or gruyere, bake until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Let stand at least five minutes before cutting.

You can brown the sausage, cook the mushrooms and prepare the spinach the night before, then mix up the eggs and spices and assemble the casserole. Top with chopped tomatoes once it’s out of the oven for a red and green effect.