Make-Ahead Holiday Breakfast

From the WebMD Archives

Twas the night before Christmas?

And all through the house
only one creature was stirring--
and it wasn't a mouse.

The breakfast for morning
was snug in the "cooler"
while visions of a calm Christmas morn
danced in my noodler.

At dawn I'll pop the pan in the oven,
quick as a snap!
For now I'm settling in
for a long winter's nap.

I love the idea of making breakfast the night before, keeping it in the refrigerator overnight, with only the chore of turning on the oven and drinking a cup of coffee waiting for me in the morning. I like this on any weekend morning but I particularly appreciate this "make ahead" technique the night before Christmas or any major holiday. It's become a tradition in our house.

Just in case you don't know what holiday morning breakfast dish you can make the night before, here are 3 recipes to get you started. They have all been lowered in calories and fat (with an emphasis on increasing fiber and better fats when possible) and they all fit in the WebMD weight loss program (please see the journaling tips included in each recipe).

And with that--Happy healthy holidays to all and to all a good night!

Overnight Crème Brulee French Toast

Journal as: 2 slices of pancake/french toast or as 1 egg alone without added fat + 2 slices of bread + 3 teaspoons sugar

This is a wonderful cross between the delightful dessert, Crème Brulee, and the favorite brunch dish, French Toast.

3 tablespoons low or no trans margarine or butter
5 tablespoons reduced calorie pancake syrup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
at least 8 (1 inch thick) slices of French or Sourdough bread (you might need more to cover the bottom of the pan--depending on the size of your bread)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup egg substitute (i.e. Egg Beaters)
1 1/2 cups fat free half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon salt
Garnish: fresh strawberries or other berries and a dollop of light whipped cream or Light Cool Whip

  • Coat 9 x 13-inch baking dish with canola cooking spray. Melt margarine or butter in a small nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Mix in reduced calorie pancake syrup, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  • Remove crusts from bread and arrange slices in the baking dish in a single layer on top of the brown sugar mixture (enough slices to cover the bottom of the pan).
  • In small bowl, whisk together eggs, egg substitute, fat free half-and-half, vanilla extract, 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier, and salt. Pour mixture evenly over the bread. Cover well and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Remove the dish from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
  • Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes until puffed and lightly browned. Serve with fresh fruit and a dollop of light whipped cream if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 294 calories, 12 g protein, 44 g carbohydrate, 6.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 2.1 g monounsaturated fat, 1.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 82 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 537 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 20 percent

Christmas Strata

After talking with a few friends and neighbors, I discovered, to my surprise, that many people celebrate Christmas morning with an egg strata type dish. It actually makes sense -- it's a complete breakfast all rolled into one breakfast entrée (except the fruit). This recipe contains bread, a serving or two from the meat and egg group, some vegetables and some dairy. That pretty much covers it.

7 slices of whole wheat bread, cubed (not the small sized slices)
canola cooking spray
2 cooked boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2/3 cup chopped green pepper
2/3 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/3 cup fat free sour cream (light can be substituted)
1 large egg
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 cup fat free half and half (lowfat milk can be substituted)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 can Campbell's Healthy Request cream of mushroom soup
1 cup shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

  • Place half of the bread cubes in a 9 x 9-inch baking dish that has been coated with canola cooking spray.
  • In medium bowl blend chicken pieces, green pepper, onion, celery, light mayonnaise, and sour cream together. Spread the mixture over the breadcrumbs.
  • Spread the remaining bread cubes over the chicken mixture.
  • In mixing bowl, beat egg, egg substitute, half-and-half, and salt together until smooth. Pour egg mixture evenly over the bread cubes. Cover dish and refrigerate overnight.
  • In the morning, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spread condensed soup over the top of the casserole. Bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over the top and bake 5 minutes longer.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 326 calories, 25 g protein, 34 g carbohydrate, 10 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 2.3 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat), 75 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 690 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 29 percent.

Overnight Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

As its name implies, it really does go great with a cup of Christmas coffee. You could substitute cranberries in this recipe if you prefer (it will just be a bit more tart than the blueberry version).

Canola cooking spray
1 cup cake flour (regular white flour can be substituted)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (you can delete this and use 2 cups of cake flour if desired)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (Splenda can be substituted)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons fat free sour cream (light can be substituted)
3/4 cup lowfat milk
1 large egg
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Crumb topping:
1/2 cup granulated sugar (Splenda can be substituted)
6 tablespoons cake flour or white flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons no or low trans margarine (butter can be substituted)
2 tablespoons fat free sour cream

  • Coat a 9 x 9 x 2-inch square baking dish (or similar round pan) with canola cooking spray.
  • Add cake flour, whole wheat pastry flour, sugar or Splenda, baking powder, salt, canola oil, fat free sour cream, lowfat milk, and egg to large mixing bowl and beat for about 30 seconds until blended. Carefully stir in blueberries and spread in prepared pan.
  • Add the crumb topping ingredients to a small food processor (or use a pastry blender and a medium-sized bowl) and mix together briefly--just until blended and crumbly. Sprinkle topping evenly over cake batter.
  • Cover dish well and put in refrigerator overnight.
  • In the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake in center of oven until cake tests done (about 45 minutes).

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving (using Splenda): 219 calories, 6 g protein, 32 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 4.1 g monounsaturated fat, 2.6 g polyunsaturated fat), 27 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 398 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 33 percent

Per serving (using sugar): 340 calories, 6 g protein, 63 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 4.1 g monounsaturated fat, 2.6 g polyunsaturated fat), 27 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 398 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 21 percent.