My family is coming to Carrollton for Christmas this year. I will apologize in advance for the noise. My family doesn’t understand the term “inside voice.”
The first Christmas without my parents, who both passed away this year, my sisters and I have done our best to have a somewhat normal Thanksgiving and Christmas. We are in the process of making some new traditions after our lives were upended with the deaths of our parents. Although we are all in our 40s, it feels as if we are still children – floundering without our parents’ guidance.
This Thanksgiving, we went out to dinner, and I must say it was the most relaxing Thanksgiving we’ve ever had -- EVER. There was no fussing, no fighting, no kitchen-cleanup meltdowns. We had a very nice time, and we enjoyed sharing the fun memories of Thanksgivings past with my parents.
For Christmas, with Santa Clause visiting my five-year-old in Carrollton, my sisters are coming for a Santa-watch slumber party, complete with Christmas pajamas, junk food, cookie decorating, and a Christmas movie marathon. Dean is over the moon that his aunts are spending the night with him and has been planning the sleeping arrangements for several weeks. It is looking like one of them might be sleeping in the “Star Wars” sleeping bag. Bless them.
On Christmas Day, we are planning the traditional Christmas dinner with turkey and dressing and all the fixings. However, Christmas morning, I plan on having several “make ahead” dishes, with a special surprise for my chocohaulic sister and son – chocolate gravy over Momma’s homemade biscuits.
Christmas morning should be fun and relaxing, and no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen.
Here is the menu for Christmas breakfast:
French Toast Bake
1 loaf sourdough bread
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter cold, cut into pieces
Cut loaf into cubes and place evenly in a greased 9x13 pan. In a bowl, mix together eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover your pan with Saran Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with this mixture until crumbly and place in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight as well. Take pan and Ziploc out when ready to bake. Sprinkle crumbly mixture evenly over the bread. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on how soft you like it.
Bacon and Egg Casserole
4 bacon strips
18 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towel to drain.
In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add milk, cheese, sour cream, onions, salt and pepper.
Pour into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Crumble bacon and sprinkle on top. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand for five minutes.
Momma’s Homemade biscuits
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 c vegetable shortening
1 cup milk or buttermilk
Mix flour, shortening, and add 1/2 cup of milk to the mixture in a large bowl. Add more milk if needed
to get batter to a wet but solid consistency.
Place dough on floured waxed paper, and cover dough with a thin layer of flour to make it manageable. Pat out dough to about an inch thick and cut with a round biscuit cutter or hand form biscuits. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top begins to brown.
Southern Chocolate Gravy
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and salt. Pour in the milk and whisk until all the lumps are gone. Place the pan over medium heat and cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until the gravy just begins to boil and then thickens. Once thick, remove from the heat stir in the butter and vanilla. Stir until the butter has melted. Serve over hot, buttered biscuits.