Make-Ahead Holiday Breakfast Ideas

Make-Ahead Holiday Breakfast Ideas

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Slow Cooker Overnight Grits

I often will use equal parts milk and water when cooking grits -- but you can't if you are cooking in a slow cooker as the milk will burn. If you want, you can add a splash of heavy cream at the end of cooking for extra creamy grits.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 5 mins
Course: Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: crock pot, grits, slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups stone-ground grits
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
  • Grits toppings: Grated Cheese, Chopped Green Onion, Cooked Bacon, Cooked Sausage, Chopped Herbs, and Butter

Instructions

  • Heat the slow cooker: Set a large slow cooker to HIGH. Place the grits in the slow cooker and whisk in the water. Reduce the heat to LOW. Add the butter and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 8 hours. (You can stir them after the 1st hour or so.) Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Add optional cream. Serve grits with an assortment of toppings.

Make Ahead Holiday Breakfast Recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Make-ahead meals can be your saving grace during the holidays, especially for breakfast! The last thing anyone wants on a busy morning in a house packed with relatives and guests — and an even busier day ahead — is a hectic scramble of making breakfast to order for the hungry hordes. Instead, think Creamy Slow Cooker Overnight Grits, Cheese Grits “Muffins”, Cheesy Sausage and Grits Breakfast Bake, and Make-Ahead French Toast Casserole with Caramel Apples.

Make-Ahead Christmas recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Who wants to stand at the stove stirring grits or making French toast or pancakes? With everything going on I’ll admit to getting distracted more than once and scorching a pot of grits! Of course, you know I can always get behind whipping up a batch of biscuits, but I don’t really don’t want to babysit a waffle iron. Make-ahead breakfast is key to success — or at least to preventing a meltdown. I’ve got you covered for both Make-Ahead Holiday and Overnight Breakfast Recipes. Set the pot of coffee on a timer and you are good to go!

Make Ahead Holiday Breakfast Recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Make-Ahead Merriment

These easy, make-ahead recipes are perfect for a laid-back Christmas morning. From a Cheesy Sausage and Grits Breakfast Bake to a rich and gooey French Toast Casserole with Caramel Apples, I’ve cooked up some delicious dishes that are sure to bring down-home comfort to the entire family. The best part? These make-ahead breakfasts leave you free to hang in your PJs, open presents, and spend time with family while enticing, mouthwatering scents and aromas like warm cinnamon and spicy sausage fill your home.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and best wishes to you and yours during this holiday season. 

Bon Appétit, Y’all!

Virginia Willis

Make-Ahead Christmas recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Make-Ahead Christmas recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Make-ahead Christmas recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Make-ahead Christmas recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Cheesy Sausage and Grits Breakfast Bake

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 50 mins
Course: Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: casserole, cheese grits, grits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces mild pork or turkey sausage
  • 1 cup grated sharp Cheddar, about 4 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno chile seeded and finely chopped

Instructions

  • In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 2 cups water and the milk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the grits and return to a boil. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until creamy and thick, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the sausage, until no longer pink and the meat is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and cool slightly.
  • Remove the grits from the heat and add the cheese and butter. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the reserved sausage, cayenne, eggs, green onions, and jalapenos and stir until well incorporated.
  • Butter a large (9-by-13-inch) casserole dish. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish. At this point, the casserole can be covered and refrigerated overnight (bring to room temperature before baking), or baked immediately.
  • Bake at 350°F from room temperature until bubbly and golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove to a rack to cool slightly before serving.

 

Slow Cooker Overnight Grits

I often will use equal parts milk and water when cooking grits -- but you can't if you are cooking in a slow cooker as the milk will burn. If you want, you can add a splash of heavy cream at the end of cooking for extra creamy grits.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 5 mins
Course: Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: crock pot, grits, slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups stone-ground grits
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
  • Grits toppings: Grated Cheese, Chopped Green Onion, Cooked Bacon, Cooked Sausage, Chopped Herbs, and Butter

Instructions

  • Heat the slow cooker: Set a large slow cooker to HIGH. Place the grits in the slow cooker and whisk in the water. Reduce the heat to LOW. Add the butter and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 8 hours. (You can stir them after the 1st hour or so.) Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Add optional cream. Serve grits with an assortment of toppings.

 

Make-Ahead French Toast Casserole with Caramel Apples

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Breakfast, brunch
Cuisine: American, Southern
Keyword: bread pudding, casserole, french toast
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar divided
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 loaf brioche, challah, or rich white bread, cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • In a heatproof bowl, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave for 20 seconds and pour into a loaf pan. Set aside.
  • In a 2nd bowl, whisk together eggs, cinnamon, salt, 1⁄2 cup of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and milk. Add the cubed bread and stir to combine. Soak until bread is saturated, about 15 minutes, tossing and pressing occasionally to submerge the bread. Transfer the soaked bread into the prepared loaf pan and press down slightly. Top with pecans. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
  • The next morning, heat the oven to 350°F. Let the chilled casserole stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Bake until set and browned, about 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until lightly browned. Add apples and remaining brown sugar; stir for 5 minutes until sugar dissolves. Add remaining teaspoon of vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground cardamom. Add heavy cream and stir to combine. Simmer for approximately 3 to 5 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.

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Copyright © 2019 Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc.

Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. (That means I make a commission if you use my affiliate link to buy the product.)

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has made chocolate chip cookies with Dwanye “The Rock” Johnson, foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and beguiled celebrities such as Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, and Julie Chrisley with her cooking -- but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Virginia is a chef instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen and author of Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all: Classic Southern Recipes Made Healthy and Wholesome received a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network's Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of "Seven Food Writers You Need to Know." Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Learn more about Virginia and follow her traveling exploits at www.virginiawillis.com.

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