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Christmas Traditions

December 23, 2009

by Elizabeth

For me, one of the best things about Christmas is the traditions. My family always hosts Christmas Eve dinner (but the menu always changes because my mom and I like to try new things – maybe not the smartest plan, but it always works out!), then we go to church, then we come home and snack on leftovers and drink Pennsylvania Dutch eggnog while we wait for Santa. Yes, Santa still comes to our house on Christmas morning – complete with unwrapped “Santa” gifts and full stockings. After we open gifts, we have a late breakfast. And breakfast is the same every year – breakfast casserole, coffee cake or orange rolls, and peppermint hot chocolate. Served on the Christmas china my mom thinks is too tacky for Christmas dinner now, but perfectly appropriate for brunch. And I love all of it.

My mom has been making this breakfast casserole for as long as I can remember, and it was the first thing I was able to cook without a recipe. When I was in college my little sister started helping me make it on Christmas Eve so it only had to bake the next morning while we opened gifts. Now at the ripe old age of 15 – she gets to be in charge of breakfast casserole. (Something to do with me living in a different house…whatever). There are hundreds of different breakfast casserole, or strata, or whatever you want to call it, recipes – but this is our family’s, so it’s clearly my favorite. We have it on holidays, birthdays, Mothers Day – we even had it the morning of my wedding.

This year my traditions are changing a little as husband and I are combining our family holidays and trying to start our own traditions as well. (Which is so exciting!) But Christmas morning and the breakfast casserole are sticking. In fact, my mom asked us to come over on Christmas morning in our pajamas. And she wasn’t kidding.

from Southern Living

Mom’s Breakfast Casserole

8 slices white bread, crusts removed

5 eggs

2 cups of milk

1 small can chopped green chiles

1 lb breakfast sausage (my family prefers venison breakfast sausage, but pork will work too)

1 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp salt

2 cups grated cheddar

Brown sausage in skillet, drain and set aside. Mix eggs, milk, chiles, and dry mustard, and salt – beat well.

Grease a large casserole dish, place bread in bottom, overlapping if needed. Spread cooked sausage over bread, then pour egg mixture over entire casserole. Top with grated cheese.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, until eggs are set and it is browned on top.

Yields: 6-8 servings

ps. First two images from this beautiful article on


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