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Start the New Year right with breakfast

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

For the New Year, it’s the egg.

Christmas breakfast may be a tradition, but why not start a new one and make it New Year’s Day?

If you’ve been out late ringing in the New Year, you might treat yourself to a sleep-in. Start your day right with a breakfast you made the night before. All you’ll have to do when you’re bleary-eyed is turn on the oven and put the pan in to cook.

The beauty of New Year’s Day is you can stay in your pajamas most of the day. Nothing’s going on, really. It’s your last chance to relax until Easter.

The question is, sweet or savory?

How about a little of both?

This one satisfies all the breakfast requirements — sausage, eggs, cheese and potatoes. And it’s extra decadent with the addition of sour cream.

You don’t have to use cheddar cheese, either. Try it with Monterrey jack, gruyére, fontina or gouda, all of which melt well.

Cheesy Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

Cooking spray or oil, for coating the pan

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 pound uncooked  breakfast sausage

1 medium onion, diced

1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced

3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1 (20 ounce) bag frozen shredded potatoes (do not thaw)

10 large eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 cup whole or 2% milk

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 oz.)

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or oil; set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it into small  pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned and no longer pink, 6-8 minutes.

Add the onion, bell pepper and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish, add the potatoes, stir to combine, and spread into an even layer.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the sour cream, milk, mustard, cheese, remaining salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Pour over the vegetable mixture.

Bake until the top is light golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

The casserole can be assembled, covered and stored in the refrigerator overnight. Let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking.

Recipe by Kelli Foster, thekichn.com

If you prefer your breakfast vegetarian (sorry, not vegan), this one has that super food, sweet potato, to get you started.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Breakfast Strata

1 medium sweet potato (2 cups, cubed)

1/2 medium sweet onion, diced

1 Tbsp.  olive oil

1/2 tsp. sea salt, divided

1/2 tsp. pepper, divided

2 cups spinach, shredded

8 ounces stale whole wheat sourdough (7-8 thick slices) or other hearty bread

4 ounces shredded fontina, divided

1 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary

1 Tbsp. minced chives

5 large eggs

1 1/2 cups whole milk

Prepare this strata the night before you plan to serve it. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut the sweet potato into 1/4-inch cubes. Toss them with the onion, olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet or roasting pan, and roast until the sweet potatoes are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.

Place the spinach in a large bowl and scoop hot sweet potatoes and onions on top. Stir, letting spinach wilt just slightly from the heat of the roasted vegetables. Cube the bread and add to the bowl, along with 2 ounces of cheese, the rosemary and the chives. Toss the mixture until well combined.

Lightly grease a 9-by-9-inch (or 2 1/2 quart) baking dish. Scoop the bread mixture into the pan, evenly distributing the spinach and sweet potatoes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour over the bread mixture, pressing down on the bread to submerge it completely in the egg mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, remove strata from refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the strata for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with remaining 2 ounces of cheese, and continue to bake uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes until the strata has puffed and the cheese is browning. Serve with an extra sprinkle of chives.

For something sweet, try this fruity recipe using those Hawaiian rolls everybody loves. This works with fresh or frozen berries. You might want to try it with peaches (canned, drained, or frozen peaches) or even mandarin oranges.

Baked Blueberry Lemon French Toast

1 (12-count) package Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls, cubed

1 cup blueberries

1 1/2 cups milk

3 large eggs

2 Tbsp. maple syrup or more, to taste

Zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Topping

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes

2 Tbsp. confectioner’s sugar

Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Place a layer of roll cubes evenly into the baking dish. Top with blueberries in an even layer, repeating two more times and ending with a layer of bread.

In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, maple syrup, lemon zest, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour mixture evenly over the bread cubes. Cover and place in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the topping, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add cold butter and toss to coat, using your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the bread cubes.

Place in oven and bake 35-45 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve immediately; sprinkle with confectioners sugar, if desired.

From Damn delicious.net

This recipe has been around for a long time. It’s so easy to make you can whip it together even after a long night. Some canned green chiles can be spicy. Look for ones marked mild, if you can fnd them. But with the cheese and eggs, that tones it down quite a bit. This also makes a great dinner with a green salad.

Green Chile Egg Bake

2 (7 oz.) cans whole green chilies or 3 (4 oz.) cans chopped chiles

1 1/2 cups Monterrey jack cheese, divided

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-by-12-inch baking dish

Line the bottom of the dish with green chiles. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layers twice. In a medium bowl, whisk milk and eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over chiles and cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until filling is set. Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Sometimes, it’s hard to find the whole canned chiles, so go for the diced. You can also make this with cheddar cheese, or even Swiss, but the jack cheese melts perfectly.

If you want it spicier, add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper to the egg mixture, or use a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

A friend includes a can of Rotel tomatoes, drained, in with the plain green chiles.

This is really good served with fruit, like a combo of mandarin oranges and bananas or pineapple and kiwi slices.

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