If you celebrate Christmas, you likely have a rushed morning. Whether there are children, grandchildren, grown children or relatives — or you simply want to embrace a morning of no emails or phone calls while delighting in Christmas music — adding cooking to the list can be the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. That’s why today, we’re showcasing two casseroles that pair perfectly together for a delicious, low-stress Christmas morning.
Both of these casseroles may be made a day ahead and placed in the oven an hour before you want to eat. Brew some coffee, pour some orange juice, turn the tunes up and give thanks.
Disclaimer: As I’ve said before, at StyleBlueprint we are very grateful to Kroger for sponsoring our recipe articles, and through this partnership I get to try many of their house brands among other things. Today, I’m highlighting the Private Selection California Roasted Garlic Powder in both recipes as I’ve recently discovered it and am adding it to all sorts of things. Enjoy!
Cheesy Grits Casserole
This grits casserole is so delicious, and you may be tempted to bypass cooking them in the oven as they taste so good even before that step, but keep going. You will love these even more after they cook for an additional hour.
- 1½ cups uncooked stone grits
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (I get the Kroger Private Selection brand "California Roasted Garlic Powder")
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons paprika, divided
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 jalapenos, deseeded and diced, if desired
- 4 large eggs
- Cook grits according to their directions (I cook mine with whole milk as opposed to water) and add salt, pepper, garlic while cooking.
- Note: Grits will bubble up in a bit of a messy/dangerous way. If you have a grease splatter screen, this is always good to use while cooking grits!)
- Sauté jalapenos for two minutes to soften in a warm sauté pan with olive oil.
- Once cooked through, add butter, cheese and jalapenos; stir thoroughly.
- Stir in Worcestershire sauce and paprika.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the four eggs. Add ¼ cups of the warm grits to the egg mixture to bring the temperature up as this will allow the mixture to be added to the large pot of grits without turning them to scrambled eggs!). Add another ¼ cup of grits, whisk and then slowly add the mixed eggs to the pot of cheesy grits, stirring the entire time.
- Pour grit mixture into a buttered 9x11 baking dish. Sprinkle the rest of the paprika across the top.
- Let cool on the counter for an hour. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. While doing that, let the grits sit out on the counter for 15 minutes from the refrigerator.
- Bake, uncovered, at 325 for about an hour.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Ham and Cheese Make-Ahead Breakfast Casserole
This next casserole is modified from this recipe found on The Kitchn. While we are all big fans of a down-home egg-cheddar-cheese-sausage breakfast casserole, this is a slightly more elegant dish that delivers big, satisfying taste.
- 6 cups (loosely packed) day-old challah or other egg-enriched bread broken into pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced into strips
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 8 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, diced
- 10 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder (I prefer the Private Selection brand "California Roasted Garlic Powder" found in the dried spice section at Kroger. I mentioned this same spice in the cheesy grits, and this way you get more bang for your buck if you buy some!)
- 3 teaspoons dried or fresh thyme leaves
- 1/s teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces) or good quality Swiss cheese
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, ½ teaspoon of the salt and sugar. Cook until lightly caramelized (a golden-brown color), about 15 minutes — stir occasionally so as not to burn.
- In another skillet, sauté the pancetta until it begins to crisp, about 8 - 10 minutes. Place on a paper towel to drain.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, dry mustard, nutmeg, garlic, thyme, remaining teaspoon of salt, and pepper together in a large bowl.
- Grease a 9 x13 baking dish and spread the cubed bread along the bottom.
- Place the pancetta over the bread cubes, then place the caramelized onions on top. Next, sprinkle on the cheese, and then pour the egg mixture over everything. Make sure all the bread cubes are soaked a bit with the egg mixture.
- Lastly, place the sliced tomatoes across the top.
- Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.
- While oven preheats to 350 degrees, take the casserole out of the refrigerator to warm up a bit on the counter (maybe 15 minutes).
- Bake until the edges are bubbling, 40 to 50 minutes. Check the middle with a knife; if it comes out clean the casserole is ready.
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