The Associated Press
What you want on Christmas morning — a house that effortlessly fills itself with joyous sounds and delicious aromas. What you usually get on Christmas morning — towers of wrapping paper, hermetically sealed toys that can be opened by no human, and a kitchen that demands way too much of your attention.
I can’t help you with the wrapping paper or packaging, but I can make your holiday breakfast a little easier. I’m a big believer that Christmas morning is meant to be spent under the tree, not at the stove. And yet I still want the house to fill itself with delicious aromas.
My solution? A do-ahead breakfast casserole that I can prep the night before, then just pop into the oven to bake unattended while gift insanity commences. So this year I created an indulgent dish that is equal parts casserole, hash browns, fruit crumble and French toast. Because.... why not? It’s Christmas.
This recipe makes plenty so it’s easy to feed a crowd, particularly if you have guests joining the fun closer to brunch. The leftovers are easily reheated. I like it served with a drizzle of maple syrup. But if you’d rather take this in a savory direction, add chopped ham when combining the potatoes and cheese.
FRENCH TOAST HASH CRUMBLE CASSEROLE
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (15 minutes active)
2/3 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 slices sandwich bread
4 cups (about 1 pound) frozen shredded potatoes
3 large apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 tablespoon cinnamon
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, thyme, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Coat a deep 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange 4 slices of the bread in an even layer over the bottom of the pan.