Tidewater Kitchen - December 2007

Christmas Breakfats


Pamela Doyle

     It has always been a tradition in my family to have a very special breakfast the morning of Christmas. My mom had everything organized the night before. Then the morning of, things were in the oven while we unwrapped our presents from Santa. Whether you are traveling during the holidays or hosting your family at your home, here are some of my favorite make-ahead recipes that I hope you and your family enjoy.
      I love to freeze my breads ahead, and I like to make sure my pantry is well stocked as we approach the holiday season.
      As many things as you can get off your plate early the better; then all you have to do is enjoy your family and the holiday season. Sometimes even just planning the menu can be the most stressful part!

Bacon, Gruyère and Ham Strata
2 cups fat-free milk
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup egg substitute or 5 whole eggs
1 T. Dijon mustard
¼ t. ground red pepper
12 ounces sourdough French bread or stale bread that needs to be used up, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 10 cups), toasted
1 cup diced ham
Cooking spray
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss or Gruyère cheese
4 bacon slices (I like turkey bacon myself, but you can use either), cooked and crumbled (drained)

     Combine milk, green onions, egg substitute, mustard and pepper in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add bread cubes and ham; stir well to combine. Pour into a 2-quart baking pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
      Cover and chill 8 hours or overnight.
      Preheat oven to 350°.
      Uncover dish, and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until bread mixture is set and cheese is bubbly.
Yield: 6 servings

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Muffins
Cooking spray
2 t. all-purpose flour
1 cup fat-free sour cream
3/4 cup plus 1 t. warm water
3 T. vegetable oil
2 t. instant espresso
1 (8-ounce) carton egg substitute or 4 whole eggs
1 (18.25-ounce) package devil’s food cake mix (without pudding in the mix)
1 (3.9-ounce) package chocolate instant pudding mix (this just makes it really moist!)
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 T. powdered sugar

     Preheat oven to 350°.
      Line 12 cup muffin tin cups; if you have extra batter make more muffins. Remember if all the muffin tins are not full, put water in the empty muffin tins so your muffin pan doesn’t burn.
      Combine the sour cream and next 6 ingredients (through chocolate pudding mix) in a large bowl, and beat mixture at medium speed of a mixer for 3 minutes. Add the chocolate chips, and beat the mixture for 30 seconds.
      Spoon the cake batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling them two-thirds full. I like to use a ice cream scooper to put the batter in my muffin tins; it is so easy and the kids love to help.
      Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool muffins in muffin pans 10 minutes on a wire rack. Place on wire racks, and cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Yield: 12-14 muffins

Country Sausage Patties
      Sausage patties require some fat to stay moist, which is why Boston butt is a good cut of pork for this recipe. The sausage is best when the mixture is made a day ahead and refrigerated, allowing the spices to permeate the meat overnight. You can, however, cook the patties right away. Refrigerate cooked sausage up to three days, or freeze up to two months, which is why I love this recipe so much.

1½  pounds boneless Boston butt pork roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes, or buy your favorite ground pork mixture (1½ pounds)
¼ cup cold water
1 t. salt
1 t. brown sugar
¼ t. dried rubbed sage
¼ t. dried thyme
1 t. crushed red pepper
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ t. hot pepper sauce
¼ t. grated whole nutmeg
Cooking spray

     Place half of pork in food processor; pulse until coarsely ground. Place pork in a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining pork. Add water and remaining ingredients except cooking spray. Knead mixture until well blended. Cover and refrigerate mixture 8 hours or overnight.
      Divide mixture into 16 equal portions, shaping each into a ½-inch-thick patty. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add half the patties; cook 6 minutes. Turn patties over; cook 5 minutes or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining patties.
Yield 8 servings (serving size: 2 patties)

Individual Potato-Bacon Frittatas

3/4 pound small red potatoes (about 6)
Cooking spray
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese
4 turkey bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (drained)
13/4 cups egg substitute
¼ t. salt
¼ t. freshly ground black pepper

     Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook 25 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool slightly. Cut potatoes into ½-inch cubes.
      Preheat oven to 375°.
      Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Stir in potato, cheese and bacon.
      Combine egg substitute, salt and black pepper. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly into 12 muffin cups or 6-ounce ramekins coated with cooking spray. Pour egg mixture evenly over vegetable mixture. Bake at 375° for 18 minutes or until set. Remove from muffin cups, and cool slightly.
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 frittatas)

Orange Zest Coconut Bread
1 cup sugar
1 T. canola oil
1 large egg
¼ cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1 (8-ounce) carton vanilla fat-free yogurt
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
5 T. flaked sweetened coconut, divided
2 t. grated orange rind
1 t. baking soda
½ t. salt
Cooking spray

     Preheat oven to 350°.
      Combine 1 cup sugar, oil and egg in a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk until smooth. Stir in milk and yogurt. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, ¼ cup coconut, orange rind, baking soda and ½ t. salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in the center of flour mixture, and add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
      Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1 T. coconut. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Smoked Salmon and Veggie Bagels
      This is a great recipe to make ahead and just let people help themselves.

Mixed bag of bagels, cut in half
Vegetable Cream Cheese, recipe follows
Slices smoked salmon
Slices of red onion

     Slice the bagels in half horizontally and spread 1 T. of the vegetable cream cheese over the bottom half of each bagel, or have your guests make their own bagel the way they want to. Arrange 2 slices of smoked salmon over the cream cheese, sliced onions and capers then place the remaining bagel halves on top. Cut the bagels in half crosswise and serve.

Vegetable Cream Cheese
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 T. minced scallions, white and green parts
2 T. finely chopped carrot
2 T. finely chopped celery
2 T. finely chopped radish (2 radishes)
1 t. salt
1 t. finely ground black pepper

     Place the cream cheese, scallions, carrot, celery, radish, salt and pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on low speed until blended. This can be made a week in advance and just kept refrigerated.
Yield: 6 servings

Bran and Banana Muffins
1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk
4 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
6 T. unsulphured molasses
1 t. grated lemon zest
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 t. baking powder
¼ t. baking soda
½ t. kosher salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup large-diced bananas
½ cup chopped walnuts

     Preheat the oven to 350°. Place paper liners into 1 (10 or 12-cup) muffin tin.
      Combine the bran and buttermilk and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
      With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time. Scrape the bowl and then add the molasses, lemon zest and vanilla. (The mixture will look curdled.) Add the bran/buttermilk mixture and combine.
      In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the batter just until combined. Don’t overmix it! Fold in the raisins, bananas and walnuts with a rubber spatula.
      With an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill the muffin cups to the top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Fresh Fruit Salad with a Yogurt Cinnamon Sauce
      You can prepare and refrigerate the yogurt cinnamon sauce up to a day in advance. You can also combine and refrigerate the fruit mixture (except the banana) up to three hours ahead; stir in the banana just before serving to prevent discoloring.

1 t. cinnamon
1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 T. honey
1½ t. grated lemon zest
3 cups cubed pineapple (about 1 medium)
1½ cups chopped Braeburn apple (about 1 large)
1 cup orange sections (about 2 oranges)
1 cup chopped peeled kiwi (about 2 large)
1/3 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 medium banana, sliced
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

     Combine cinnamon, yogurt, honey, and lemon rind in a small bowl.
      Combine pineapple and next four ingredients (through coconut) in a large bowl; toss gently to combine. Just before serving, stir in banana. Top fruit mixture with yogurt sauce; sprinkle with almonds.
Yield: 6 servings

Mocha Spiced Coffee
Use a high-quality unflavored coffee, such as French roast, for a properly robust cup.

½ cup ground coffee
1½ t. ground cinnamon
½ t. ground nutmeg
5 cups water
1 cup fat-free milk
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
 Whipped cream (optional)

     Place first three ingredients in a coffee filter or filter basket of a coffeemaker. Add 5 cups water to coffeemaker; brew according to manufacturer’s instructions.
      Combine milk, sugar and syrup in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Stir in brewed coffee and vanilla. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately.
Yield 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Festive Holiday Punch
      If you prefer a sweeter beverage, use ginger ale, Sprite or lemon-lime soda instead of tonic water.

4 cups tonic water
3 cups ice cubes
2 cups pineapple juice, chilled
2 cups orange juice, chilled
2 cups cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
1 lime, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1  star fruit, sliced

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve immediately.
Yield: 10 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)