Holiday Q+A: Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas

This is my living room, about as decorated as it’s going to be.

Scene:  It’s 6:00 am Christmas morning.  The kids didn’t fall asleep until midnight.  You were up late fighting about discussing the assembly of the new toy kitchen with your spouse.  Then you still had to put out the presents and fill the stockings.  You’ve only slept for what seems minutes instead of hours.  The kids have found their presents and are begging you to get up.  (Or if it’s my house, the presents were already opened by one child while everyone else slept peacefully.)

Breakfast… you groan to yourself.  What am I going to feed these kids?

Well, even if this doesn’t happen at your house, maybe you still groan as you think about preparing breakfast on Christmas morning.

Never fear, dear readers. I am here to ease your breakfast woes.

Fortunately for you, the possibilities are practically endless when it comes to do-ahead breakfast dishes.

Let’s start with the breads and pastries, shall we?  Because in my perfect world, every breakfast would have something sweet to accompany the something savory.  Thus, in our house we usually have a sweet pastry on Christmas morning.

Sweet rolls are super easy to make ahead.  You can make the dough, let it rise, fill and shape cinnamon rolls and freeze them until Christmas Eve.  Take them out, put them on/in a greased pan and let them rise in a garage overnight.  Pop them in the oven in the morning and you’ll have fresh, hot rolls.

My Refrigerator Roll recipe (make the dough the night before, assemble the rolls in the morning)
Dorie Greenspan’s Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Kugelhopf (my post) and the recipe (not my post) and a twist, Kugelhopf rolls from The Kitchn
My Cream Cheese and Jam Sweet Rolls using Dorie Greenspan’s Brioche recipe
Rhodes’ Butterscotch Bubbleloaf  (I grew up eating this for Christmas breakfast)
Rhodes’ Orange-Cranberry Pull-Apart

(With the two Rhodes’ recipes, use frozen rolls and assemble the night before, let rise in a cool place overnight and bake in the morning.)

If you’d rather buy rolls or pastries, you can find croissants or other sweet rolls by mail order or in the freezer section of many grocery stores.

Williams-Sonoma has many wonderful gourmet options if it’s in your budget to splurge on French pastries.  Or you can befriend a local pastry shop or bakery and ask about purchasing some items unbaked so you can do yourself at home.

Locals and non-locals, check out Les Madeleines, home of the best Kouing-Aman in the entire world.  You can order online here, but please note orders must be in by Monday, Dec. 20th.  Chef Romina ships them to you wherever you are in the U.S.

We used to make sticky buns with a biscuit dough that were very quick and easy for Christmas morning.  My husband actually likes them better than yeasted sweet rolls.  I haven’t ever posted it because my pictures never seemed to turn out just right, but you should give them a try because the rolls themselves always turn out perfectly.  And I can’t find the recipe anywhere online.  If you want this recipe, e-mail me and I’ll send it to you.  (cafejohnsonia(at)gmail(dot)com.)

Here’s a great, quick option from Ina Garten using puff pastry.  (Why have I never thought of this?)

Quick breads are a great option too.  They can be prepared ahead of time–the night before, or days before.  Either freeze them, or prepare the batter up to the point of mixing liquid and dry ingredients.  Or throw them together after the kids have ripped apart the living room and are happily playing with their new toys.  Either way, muffins are a pretty safe bet for a quick breakfast on Christmas morn.

Here’s a list of our favorites from my archives:

Now, what about pancakes and waffles?

It’s easy to prepare batter the night before–just combine the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls and mix them in the morning.  Or make them the night before, allow them to cool, layer with wax paper and cover tightly.  Pull them out in the morning and reheat them.  (No, they won’t be as good, but your kids won’t know the difference.)

True Belgian waffle batter should be prepared the night before and is the perfect thing to serve on Christmas morning with a side of sausage or bacon.  (By the way, last Christmas my mom gave me this waffle iron.  Totally worth the extra money.  I’ve never been happier with a waffle iron.)

King Arthur Flour’s Belgian Yeast Waffles
Cardamom Sour Cream Waffles from Gourmet mag have caught my attention…
Buttered Apple Cider Sauce for pancakes and waffles
Carolyn’s Buttermilk Caramel Syrup
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd

Dutch baby pancakes are another excellent do-ahead dish.  They will turn out better if you prepare the batter the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  Pull it out and let it come to room temp for about  30 minutes, continue with recipe directions.

Dutch Pancakes with Sauteed Apples

Crepes can also be made ahead of time, cooled and layered between wax paper.  Simply warm them gently in a non-stick skillet and fill with fruit and cream, or whatever your heart desires.  Savory crepes could rock your Christmas morning.

Crepe Ideas and Recipe from 101 Cookbooks
An awesome How-To series from Cooking Light including make-ahead tips
David Lebovitz’s Buckwheat Crepes
GF Quinoa-Hazelnut Crepes from La Tartine Gourmand
Clotilde’s Crepe recipe and her Buckwheat Crepe Recipe

(I’m starting to think we might be having crepes soon…)

Casseroles!  I know there are people in this world who refuse to eat casseroles.

Don’t let yourself be caught hating a delicious do-ahead meal like a breakfast strata.  You might be surprised how delicious it is.  (I’m looking at you my dear husband.)

My Breakfast Strata Casserole two ways–a traditional and a vegetarian.
Chilaquiles, a great thing to serve as brunch or breakfast, eggs on top would be fab

Toad-in-the-Hole, we’re having this on Boxing Day

Sides–

Warm Potato Salad would be appropriate.  It can be made ahead and reheated before serving.  Or, make it and leave the dressing off and drizzle it over after it has been reheated.

Roasted or fried potatoes.  Boil the potatoes the night before, toss with desired oil (I like olive oil), throw into a hot oven (400-450 degrees), roast until browned.  Sprinkle with fresh herbs.

Or bake some potatoes the day before.  Cut up the cold potatoes and throw them into a hot skillet with oil or butter.  Add some chopped onion,, season with paprika, pepper, salt and onion powder.

Phemomenon’s Home Fries with red peppers.  (YUM.)

Other Ideas and Links:

Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa Bowl from 101 Cookbooks (I could eat this daily)

Oatmeal Bar–make steel cut or regular oatmeal and set out various toppings, such as dried, fresh and frozen fruit (berries, peaches, apples, mango, banana, etc.), milk and cream, nuts and seeds, honey and brown sugar, etc.  Let everyone make their own.  Save your calories for later in the day. :)

Smorgasbord breakfast.  This is my husband’s dream breakfast.  You can totally do a lot of the items from the buffet ahead of time, or purchase them.  Smoked salmon, kippers, sliced cold cuts, sliced cheese, yogurt and fruit, muesli.  Add some pastries, purchased or made ahead of time.  Eggs.

Leftover Holiday Glazed Ham.  Make your ham for the 24th and have cold ham along with your meal. No need to dirty another skillet to make bacon or sausage.

Eggs Benedict.  This is easy make ahead of time by pre-poaching the eggs the night before and placing them in water in the fridge overnight.  Slip them into simmering water to warm them before serving.  The Hollandaise sauce can also be made ahead and gently reheated.  (See the recipe for instructions.)

Breakfast Ideas from my archives (for Valentine’s Day, but would be great for Christmas too)

Quick Brunch Ideas from The Kitchn

Breakfast and Brunch Ideas from 101 Cookbooks

Kalyn Denny has a plethora of healthy breakfast dishes (some of which I have made and loved)

(Post edit)  Jen has some awesome ideas over at the Zupas blog today.
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Readers, did you make it through this marathon post?  What recipes have you liked and had success with for do-ahead breakfasts?  We’d love you to chime in with your ideas as well.

12 Responses to “Holiday Q+A: Make Ahead Breakfast Ideas”

  1. Lauren December 17, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    I am a huge fan of the breakfast strata!

  2. Jessica December 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    I usually do a baked french toast and the Sweet & Spicy Bacon my bother demands. This year I’m going to put a layer of blueberries in between the bread, and also going to serve some venison & pork breakfast sausage that my father-in-law made himself.

    We’ve done the muffins & pigs in blankets route before too.

  3. Lindsey Johnson December 17, 2010 at 6:15 pm #

    Lauren– ME TOO. I love them so much.

    Jessica–that sounds awesome. I forgot to add in a baked French Toast. My mom has started making one now. And that sausage sounds fantastic.

  4. Ingrid December 17, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    Great round up! I’m going to check out some of those links.

    I made a scrumptious breakfast casserole for Thanksgiving. Ham, cheese, hash brown, and egg. Very easy to put together if you prep the night before. :)
    ~ingrid

  5. Mary Ann December 17, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    Now my problem is trying to figure out which of these items I want to make on Christmas!
    I’ve made a version of the Dutch pancakes with sauteed apples, but the apples are baked into the pancake in the oven. My husband requested that for his Dec. 23rd b-day breakfast.
    So many choices.

  6. jomama December 17, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    thank you so much for all of these great ideas! now i just have to narrow it down…

  7. Azúcar December 18, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    Like my parents, I make my kids eat oatmeal for breakfast on Christmas because they’re going to eat so much trash the rest of the day.

    I really want to figure out how to make oatmeal in a crockpot–maybe it needs to be steel-cut?

  8. Lindsey Johnson December 18, 2010 at 2:02 am #

    Azucar–do you soak them overnight ever? It cuts the cooking time in half. I always forget how long they take until the kids are lined up whining to me that they are hungry.

    Love these ideas everyone–keep them coming!!!

  9. Emily December 20, 2010 at 4:35 am #

    Oh my goodness! I don’t even know where to begin. So many amazing options! I’m totally trying the Pecan Honey Sticky buns and what a great reminder to serve the leftover ham for breakfast. Dutch babies are a real favorite of mine too ever since I visited a “The Original Pancake House”. Great tip that the batter works better overnight! Thank you so much for these great ideas and responding to my question!

  10. FoxyJ December 20, 2010 at 6:12 am #

    Azucar–I tried following some directions for steel-cut oats in the crockpot and they burned around the edges and weren’t that great. I don’t mind rewarmed oatmeal so I usually make a big batch on weekends then microwave it and eat it during the week. I’m still fighting the uphill battle with a husband and kids who think cold cereal is the best thing ever invented, so I’m usually the only one eating oatmeal.

    For some reason everyone in my house loves breakfast for dinner, but if I make anything ‘fancy’ in the morning they all freak out and refuse to eat it. Last Christmas I made a nice breakfast and everyone complained so this year I think we’re just having Chex. Especially since I am hosting Christmas dinner that afternoon at my house.

    Anyways,I did want to put a link to one of our new favorite breakfast (or dinner) casseroles that is easy to make ahead. I don’t have any ‘herbes de provence’ so I just throw in some thyme, basil, and oregano:
    http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=10000001545794&adsqs=raid:1936673

  11. FoxyJ December 20, 2010 at 6:14 am #

    I don’t think that worked; trying it again:

    Brie and Egg Strata

  12. whitneyingram December 22, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

    I am going to do cinnamon waffles for Christmas breakfast. But I have to go out and get a new waffle iron. My newlywed wedding gift one finally died. JOY TO THE WORLD. I like your idea of combining ingredients the night before. Gonna do that.

    And we are also going to have candied bacon. Because that tastes like Christmas.

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