Holiday morning brunch

Christmas brunch is a tradition in our house.

I love breakfast. I love it at dinner time when I’m tired and want something quick. I love it when I don’t feel quite right–it’s comfort food for me. And I love, love, love it late in the morning for brunch.

I think my love for breakfast in late morning came from my dad. He hated getting up and having to eat first thing in the morning. Sadly, he worked as an artist and illustrator at Lockheed for years and left the house about 6:30 am. He ate breakfast early, but he didn’t enjoy it.

I’m the same way. I like to drink a couple of cups of coffee, watch the news, and ease my way into the morning. Breakfast is never the first thing on my mind.

That may be why I enjoy holiday mornings. I feel no rush then and I can enjoy the morning and the family there completely before dealing with breakfast.

However, breakfast is still really high on my priority list, so I often fix things for holiday brunch the day ahead that can be finished easily and quickly the next morning. I use my favorite breakfast casserole that can be prepared the day before and then popped into the oven. I also add our family favorite of ham rolls which can also be prepared the day before. They take only 10 minutes in the oven on the holiday morning. This year, I got a new recipe from my friend Penny for Cheese Danish that is easy, fabulous, and can also be prepared in advance.

Here are those recipes. The Breakfast Casserole recipe comes from my mom. The Poppy Seed Ham Rolls recipe comes from our former church. And Penny is a friend at our new church. That means these recipes are from my mom (who used to serve brunch every year to 100 of her closest friends) and from two Baptist churches (and you know that we Baptists can cook). If you try them, I think you’ll add them to your holiday breakfast menu, too.

This breakfast casserole has eggs, cheese and sausage and can be made a day ahead of time. (Photo by

Egg and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Mix together:

6 eggs

2 cups milk

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dry mustard

2 cups cubed day-old bread crumbs

Mix all ingredients and then add 1 pound mild sausage which has been browned and drained and 1 cup of grated sharp cheese. Stir everything together and put into a greased 9×12 casserole.

Bate at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. If you prepare it the day before, place it in a cold oven and bake 50-55 minutes.

These ham and cheese rolls are spiced up with a butter/mustard/poppy sauce which is spread on the rolls before baking. (Photo from

Poppy Seed Ham Rolls


1 lb shaved ham

1/3 lb Swiss cheese sliced thin

2 sticks margarine

3 Tbsp poppy seeds

3 Tbsp prepared mustard (I’ve also used regular mustard in a bind)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/3 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese

4 pkgs of Pepperidge Farm Rolls (Hawaiian rolls will work)

Cut rolls in half (you can do this with the entire pan at one time). Cover with ham and cheese.

Melt margarine. Add mustard, poppy seeds and Worchestershire sauce. Heat and mix until smooth. Brush mixture on the inside of the tops of the rolls. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

This cheese danish is easy to make, using Crescent Roll dough. (Photo from

Cheese Danish


2 pkgs crescent rolls

2 8-oz pkgs cream cheese

1 egg yoke (save egg white for top layer)

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp lemon juice

Press one package of crescent roll dough in 13×9 baking dish (no need to grease). Beat cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice until smooth (2-3 mins.). Add this mixture to the 13×9 baking dish on top of the first layer of crescent roll dough.

Put the second package of crescent roll dough on top of the cream cheese mixture. Beat egg white until frothy and smear on top of the second layer of dough.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

While it bakes, mix together:

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

Ground cinnamon to taste

Add a small amount of water (about 1 Tbsp) to make the mixture into a glaze. Pour over pastry when it is removed from the oven.

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