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New Year’s Day Breakfast Casserole

December 28, 2010
By Wendy Monro

Youth is when you're allowed to stay up late on New Year's Eve. Middle age is when you're forced to. - Bill Vaughn

I can't drink as much as I used to. Well, I can drink all the wine I want; but, the misery I live through the next day depletes all of the fun of doing it. Wow, when did I become responsible and mature?

Unfortunately, I have to think about every slice of cheese and every french fry that crosses my lips because pounds add up on a daily basis now like they never did before. I used to be able to eat anything and never gain an inch around my waist. I am turning 40 in a couple of weeks; and yes, along with the above mentioned limitations, it is getting difficult for me to stay up past midnight. I remember when staying up late was so exciting. Now, I am more thrilled with lying in bed late into the morning or sneaking in a nap. So, with New Year's Eve around the corner, I have to start planning ahead, and my planning always involves food.

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A great way to start the new year: An egg and cheese breakfast casserole.

We generally spend New Year's Eve with the kids. Our friends love this because this gives them a place to bring their kids. We love it because watching their enthusiasm is contagious. Also, I know in a few years, they won't want to spend it with us. I am taking advantage of it while I can. It's a lot of fun spending it with the kids. We watch movies and play games. I make a big festive dinner. Everyone discusses their resolutions. Then, at midnight we sip champagne and hug and kiss. The kids drink Martinelli's sparkling apple juice, of course. We all head to bed sometime around 1 a.m.

Although I am no good at staying up late anymore, I am really looking forward to turning 40. For some odd reason, I have always believed that my 40s are going to be fantastic. I know this is going to be a great decade for me. Just the thought of the kids being a bit older (but still at home), being happily married for over a decade, feeling comfortable in my own skin, and especially realizing that I don't know as much as I used to believe I knew, feels happy to me. I'm feeling more peaceful. So, I am fine with being a wimpy drinker and going to bed earlier than my younger sisters or most of my friends. I get made fun of a lot. Oh well. I'm at the age where I can be comfortable with this.

Knowing that waking up early to make everyone breakfast after staying up late would be difficult, I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a recipe which could be prepared the night before and then popped into the oven on New Year's Day. This way, whether you are going to bed shortly after 1 or many hours later, you won't have to put too much effort into breakfast.

Fact Box

New Year's Day Breakfast Casserole

Serves: 8

Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

6 slices bread, toasted and cubed

4 cups shredded cheese

12 eggs

3 cups milk

2 cups cream

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoon mustard

6 pieces bacon or sausage (optional)

2 tomatoes, sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish. Place the bread cubes into the dish. Whisk together the eggs and milk. Whisk the salt and pepper into the egg mixture. Whisk in the mustard. Pour this over the bread. Sprinkle on the meat if you are adding meat. You can leave the dish in the refrigerator until the morning when you are ready to bake it. Bake in the oven for one hour. After thirty minutes, place tomato slices on top. Continue to bake for thirty minutes more.

This recipe doesn't include meat; but, sausage or bacon could easily be added to this dish. I actually made this Christmas morning at my mom's house last Saturday. It's perfect because it only takes five minutes to prepare and then one hour in the oven. You could put it in the oven and crawl back in bed for another hour. We put it into the oven and then watched the kids open their gifts. Once it came out of the oven, it was a great gift to the adults.

This casserole is fluffy and cheesy. It is really delicious and perfect if you had a bit too much to drink the night before. It is not low fat, that is for certain. It includes several cups of cheese, lots of milk and cream, 12 eggs, and bread. However, it could be your last hurrah before that diet starts, if you are thinking about dieting. I don't recommend it... dieting, that is.

I have been thinking about New Year's resolutions. For me, I would like to get to my yoga class more often, take more long walks with Claud and the kids, stress less, read more, take more bubble baths, be a good mother and wife and friend and boss. I want to think less about money and weight and concentrate more on love, laughing, and time with family. Finally, I want to learn how to make so much more delicious food to share with everyone I love.

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I recommend waking up on New Year's Day, putting this casserole into the oven, placing the "Love Actually "DVD into your DVD player. Then, watch "Love Actually" while eating this casserole in bed. This would definitely start your year off right. Happy New Year!



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