When the weather outside is frightful, a hands-off Christmas brunch sure is delightful. Here are the make-ahead (or mostly make-ahead) dishes we’d throw in the fridge to make even merrier in the early hours of December 25th.
Who among us (who has tried them) doesn’t love a Dutch baby? Sometimes called a “German pancake,” this beautiful concoction can poof up in a hot skillet. It’s much less work than pancakes, believe it or not, because no one has to stand by the griddle with a spatula in hand the whole time. Plus, you can make the batter in advance, then bake it up in a jiffy. Kids can (safely!) watch with the oven light on as the batter puffs and dances about just before you take it out.
The beauty of a frittata is that it’s built for leftovers. Got three bites of roast cauliflower and broccoli, three handfuls of fresh spinach, a quarter of a Boursin in its foil and a tablespoon of fresh basil? Welcome to frittata-ville, friend, and pull up a chair. Find your own new go-to right here.
Another MVP in the make-ahead category is quiche. With abundant pre-made pie shells out there, plus easy food processor doughs (as in this ham, leek and Gruyère number) available, quiche is so much simpler than you’d think. As is true of frittatas, yours can benefit from most anything you have kicking around in the fridge. (Think: Would the ingredients go together in a sandwich, salad or stir-fry? Then you’re golden.)
The double benefit of cinnamon rolls is that they act as scented candles… you can eat! The dough rises twice, and one of those times is overnight, so you can put them in the oven the morning after Mr. Claus visits, kick back, and watch the family come running. It’s the half cup of toasted, chopped hazelnuts that makes this recipe a total dreamboat.
The only work you do the morning of serving this decadent, deluxe make-ahead vanilla bean French toast? That’d be baking it, melting butter and syrup together (!) and dusting the result with a snowfall of confectioners sugar and berries. It’s so gorgeous, serves a pretty big crew, and there’s no fussy flipping or serving to order.
There will always be the protein fiend, so serve that person apple and sausage patties, and watch her delight in her day. Kids will happily help you throw these little guys together, since they can (depending on their age) safely grate and stir apples into the mix. Hands-on work time the morning you serve them? Fifteen minutes, same as the prep. Ahhh.
Got a big family or feeding a larger crew brunch outside? Breakfast strata with spinach and ham, which serves 12, to the rescue. Bank on a little extra cooking time– a full 80 minutes– but look how hearty and gorgeous this is. All you need is a good Dutch oven, stale leftover bread (or some you can toast), and a few pantry staples, and you’re off to the races.
Shouldn’t Christmas be this easy? You are worth it.