Festive Christmas Brunch

Festive Christmas Brunch

Christmas morning is joyful, fun, chaotic, emotional, and exciting all at once. In a word, it is busy, which means there's absolutely no need to add a time-intensive breakfast or brunch to your list. The tips found here will help you prep a delicious and festive homemade meal without the stress of being in the kitchen all morning. Whether you use one or all of these ideas, read this word for word or skip to the one thing you can't resist, I hope that these tips and recipes bring you happiness on Christmas morning.

Sugared Cranberries

Don't banish cranberries after Thanksgiving. Use them at Christmas for a festive garnish at a mimosa bar, on a dessert tray or even on their own in a bowl for snacking or even decoration. This super simple recipe comes together in less than ten minutes and can be made a few days in advance. Keep the cranberries covered well or in an airtight container on your counter (not in the fridge!). Bonus: kids love to help make this fun and easy recipe.

Quick and Creamy Garlic Cheese Grits

Cheese grits on Christmas morning is a staple in the South. Lots of people like to make them ahead, but I find the consistency a bit off when I do this. To remedy that, I've come up with a quick ten minute recipe that makes creamy, tasty grits. While everyone else is busy double checking for extra gifts under the tree, you'll have this delicious dish on your table in no time. Click here for all the details, but just know that it includes lots of cheesy goodness that comes together fast!

Make-ahead Mini Frittatas

The beauty of a breakfast casserole is that it feeds a crowd, is easy, and tastes great. For Christmas this year, step it up a notch by transforming my easy egg casserole into its more glamorous cousin: mini frittatas. It is a much prettier presentation and cooks/reheats quickly. Use this base recipe then follow these instructions:
  1. Mix all base ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. Toss in your favorite "add-in" ingredients (see below for my suggestions) and stir to combine.
  3. Grease two 12 cup muffin tins liberally with cooking spray.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the muffin tins, filling each cup about 7/8th full.
  5. Bake in a 325 degree pre-heated oven for ~25 minutes or until just set.*
  6. Allow to cool.
  7. Run a butter knife or small offset spatula around the edge of each cup and then gently under the frittata to pop it out.
  8. Store frittatas in a ziploc bag or airtight container in the fridge until ready to heat and serve.**
  9. To heat, simply place on a lightly greased baking sheet in a 325 degree oven until warmed through, about 10-15 minutes.
Add-in Suggestions: The options are limitless and can be found with the base recipe linked above, but I recently made this vegetarian version and loved it.
1/2 cup caramelized onions (remember these freeze well and are easily made in the crock pot)
~ 3 ounces fresh spinach leaves (several handfuls)
1/2 box of Boursin cheese (around 2.5 ounces)
a couple handfuls of rough chopped ciabatta bread
* Alternatively, you can cover the muffin tins, store in fridge and bake fresh in the morning.
** These mini frittatas can be made 1-2 days in advance if placing in the fridge. If you'd like to make them even earlier, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Store flat in the freezer. To reheat, thaw the frittatas overnight in the fridge and then follow step nine above.

Easy Extras

To round out your brunch, add a bowl of fresh berries (prepared and plated the night before) plus this mess-free bacon. To make the bacon ahead, simply prep the baking sheet with the bacon on it the night before and cover tightly in plastic wrap or foil. In the morning, remove the cover and bake straight from the fridge at 325 degrees until crispy perfection.

Raspberry Star Bread

For all you baking overachievers, make a festive, raspberry-filled star bread. Sally from Sally's Baking Addiction has a great instructional video and detailed information on how to make the dough days ahead so that all you have to do in the morning is roll, form, and fill. After a short rest, the bread only takes about 25 minutes in the oven. Decidedly, this is not as easy or as quick as something store bought, but if you like to bake and are looking for a "wow-factor" on Christmas morning, this is it. I recently made it for a holiday breakfast and it was gorgeous!

Whether Christmas morning finds you eating breakfast after your third cup of coffee, surrounded by torn wrapping paper and loud children at 7 am, or while seated at a fancy brunch table later in the day, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope that it is full of good food and cheer.
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