On Christmas morning, our family usually is looking for a quick, easy breakfast that is delicious, yet doesn’t require us to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Chef Jessica Bright, who you might have seen in the holiday cooking series at the Bay County Public Library or at the St. Andrews Waterfront Farmers’ Market, offered a couple of recipes that will let you spend more time with your family Christmas morning.
“I have had a lot of catering clients order Egg Nog Stuffed French Toast,” said Jessica, who had a weekly radio show on “The Promise” for seven years before moving to Panama City in August. “I have been making stuffed French-toast casseroles for years. They are so wonderful because you make them ahead and then bake it in the morning. This yummy recipe is perfect for Christmas. It is reminiscent of bread pudding with a cheesecake like filling — so good it doesn’t need syrup. The nuts on top are optional.”
The casserole is moist, not too sweet, and has a perfect crunch with toasted pecans.
On Christmas morning, Jessica said she is “probably going to do overnight oatmeal,” steel cut oats in a crock pot. “My kids love it,” said Jessica, mom to Max, 10, and Madeline, 5.
About 2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup steel cut oats*
4 cups water
¼ teaspoon salt
Coat the inside of your slow cooker with the coconut oil. Combine remaining ingredients, except toppings, and cook on low for 7-8 hours in a slow-cooker, then reduce heat to warm until ready to eat. Stir the oatmeal whenever convenient while it is cooking and add additional water if desired or needed.
When oatmeal is done, set out bowls of fresh fruit, dried fruit, yogurt, honey and nuts, then allow everyone to top their oatmeal however they like it.
* Steel cut oats are larger than old-fashioned oats, giving them a larger, heartier texture (though they are completely soft after cooking all night). If you don’t have them on hand, you can substitute old-fashioned oats, but you will need to increase the amount of oats to 2 cups, since they don't absorb as much water as the steel cut.
To make a Santa hat garnish for your oatmeal: Cut off one side of a red apple just outside of the core (to avoid the stem and seeds). Place apple slice on cutting board and trim to the shape of a triangle, then put it on top of your oatmeal. With a pastry bag or zipper sandwich bag pipe a little Greek yogurt at the top and bottom of the “hat” to create white fur. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup, if desired.
For apple Christmas trees on oatmeal: Cut off one side of a green apple just outside of the core (to avoid the stem and seeds). Place apple slice on cutting board and trim to the shape of a triangle. Cut the triangle horizontally into even, thin, slices. Slightly push the slices down to create overlap and transfer to the top of your oatmeal. Scatter with dried cranberries (as ornaments) and top with a whole star anise pod.
Source: Jessica Bright
Egg Nog Stuffed French Toast Casserole
1½ loaves whole wheat, sliced bread, crusts removed
4¼ cups eggnog
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons egg nog
16 ounces cream cheese
1 cup pecan pieces (optional)
Spray 9x13-inch rectangular baking dish with non-stick spray.Layer the bottom of the baking dish with bread slices. Whisktogether batter ingredients and pour half over the bread layer.
Combine filling ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour over first layer of bread.
Cover filling with remaining bread slices and pour remaining batter over top. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
In the morning, remove casserole from refrigerator then preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the top with the nuts (if using). Bake for one hour until puffed and golden brown. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve warm.
Source: Jessica Bright
For more about Jessica, email firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit Facebook.com/FollowChefJessica or Pinterest.com/ChefJessicaB. She will be teaching a cooking class on easy and delicious breakfast ideas at 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Hobbs Center on Palo Alto Avenue. Cost: $25 per person. Reservations required at CookingBright.com.