My favorite holiday meal isn't the Thanksgiving feast or the Christmas dinner. As much as I love these big meals where we congregate together around one long table, what I really love is brunch. In my house, brunch is the morning-after meal, a casual affair as people trickle downstairs in flannel pajamas with hair askew, rubbing sleep from their eyes, drawn into the kitchen by rich aromas of baked eggs and the irresistible scent of cinnamon rolls. It's a leisurely meal, as plates clatter and sleepy folks cradle mugs of hot coffee, relaxed and joking. Brunch expresses the best of everything I love about the holidays: Family, warmth, togetherness in the kitchen. It's also a relaxed meal for the cook, with plenty of options for make-ahead dishes like casseroles with bacon, eggs, and potatoes, and sweet rolls glazed with lemon. These are generous dishes that stand up to the Thanksgiving meal itself for sheer deliciousness.
Read on for 15 of our favorites: A ricotta-cinnamon strata, no-knead pumpkin cinnamon rolls, a simple oven omelet and other dishes that will draw your family out of bed and into the kitchen.
SWEET, INDULGENT BRUNCH RECIPES
Let's start with the sweet stuff: Cream cheese breakfast bars, lemon strata, a buttery coffee cake and more. Most of these can be prepared the night before and baked off in the morning — see individual recipes for details (if you have questions on recipe specifics post them here and we'll do our best to answer).
• 1 Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Breakfast Bars
• 2 Lemon Brioche Baked French Toast
• 3 Apple and Cinnamon Whole Grain Breakfast Strata
• 4 Apple Bettelman (Alsatian bread pudding)
• 5 Overnight Buttery Streusel Coffee Cake
EGGY, SAVORY CASSEROLE RECIPES
But you want something savory too — how about easy do-ahead mini quiches? Or a quick oven omelet? Again, these can all be prepped ahead of time and just baked in the morning while you're making coffee and cutting up fruit.
• 6 Bacon, Potato & Egg Breakfast Casserole
• 7 "Ham and Cheese" Breakfast Casserole
• 8 Pancetta and Cinnamon Ricotta Casserole
• 9 Christmas Breakfast Strata
• 10 Basic Oven Omelet
• 11 Crustless Mini-Quiches
CINNAMON ROLLS & MORE
Here are four tried-and-tested recipes for delicious morning rolls. These are one of the best ways to make brunch ahead of time. Take a look at these basic instructions for making any sweet roll ahead of time and baking them the next day:
What are your favorite recipes for family brunch? Anything special or indulgent you only trot out this time of year?
(Images: See linked recipes for full image credits)