CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I really think that all the children who plan to make breakfast for their mothers on Mother's Day have good intentions. It seems like a great idea on Saturday, but then Sunday morning rolls around.
Mom's up long before the children. She's already eaten by the time they wander out of bed, and might even make their breakfast for them. Then, the day gets busy and everyone heads off to church or leisure activities. Mom and offspring find themselves at a crowded restaurant waiting in line for the buffet.
This column is for all the children (and an adult if the children are too young to cook) who are serious about serving Mom a nice breakfast or brunch at home. This year, make the food ahead of time, and pull it out on the big day, preferably before Mom gets up.
The standard sausage/cheese/egg/bread casseroles must be made a day ahead and allowed to set in the refrigerator overnight. There are countless variations of that casserole floating around, most of them heavy on the cheese and cream, so I've included a lighter version for health-conscious moms.
If you want to throw caution to the healthy winds, try the Ultimate Breakfast Casserole recipe. It's from a website for bed and breakfast inn owners, who probably know a thing or two about breakfast fare. Its base is hash brown potatoes instead of bread cubes, so it wouldn't have to be assembled the night before, but do it anyway. Follow the recipe just up to bacon addition, refrigerate, then add the bacon just before baking in the morning.
The Egg Muffins would be a good choice for moms who are watching their carbohydrate intake. They're meant to be served fresh out of the oven, but I think they could be baked and refrigerated the day before, then warmed to serve.
Moms with a sweet tooth might enjoy either Oatmeal Bake, Banana Pancakes or Sour Cream Coffeecake. The oatmeal is a lighter option, livened up with cranberries and pecans, while the sour cream coffeecake packs a decadent punch.
A friend tells me that she regularly refrigerates batches of pancake batter the evening before and makes the pancakes in the morning, but I think the bananas in this pancake recipe might discolor overnight. They could be made the day before and microwaved for a warm breakfast.
No brunch is complete without a colorful bowl of fruit salad. It can be as simple as mixed cut-up fruit or a bit fancier with a fresh fruit salad topped with honey vanilla yogurt.
Adult children might want to treat their moms to a Mother's Day brunch, while many teenagers also possess adequate cooking skills to pull these recipes off. That would be those same teenagers who tend to oversleep on Sunday mornings. For best results, moms might want to cut out desired recipes and tape to offspring's computer, cell phone or iPod.
Younger children can probably get by with toast, cereal and fruit. Maybe a granola bar. After all, it's the thought that counts.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
Lightened Sausage Egg Casserole
Yield: 12, 1-cup servings
12 ounces turkey breakfast sausage
2 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 cups egg substitute (or 8 large eggs, beaten)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 large eggs
16 1-ounce slices white bread
1 cup finely shredded reduced-fat extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon paprika
HEAT a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring and breaking sausage to crumble. Remove from heat; cool.
COMBINE milk and next 6 ingredients (through eggs) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
TRIM crusts from bread. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes. Add bread cubes, sausage, and cheddar cheese to milk mixture, stirring to combine. Pour bread mixture into a 13-by-9 baking or 3-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray, spreading egg mixture evenly in baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
HEAT oven to 350 degrees.
REMOVE casserole from refrigerator; let stand 30 minutes. Sprinkle casserole evenly with paprika.
BAKE at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes.
Nutritional information (for egg substitute version): calories 185, fat 6.8, iron 2.2 mg, cholesterol 76 mg, calcium 181 mg, carbs 14g, sodium 636mg, protein 15.9g, fiber .6 g.
Ultimate Breakfast Casserole
Vegetable cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped bell pepper
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup of Swiss cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 package (32 ounces) southern style hash brown potatoes (thawed)
5 large eggs, beaten
8 slices bacon
COAT a large saucepan with cooking spray: place over medium heat until hot. Add onion and bell pepper, and mushrooms; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add flour, mustard, and salt; stir well and cook an additional minute.
REMOVE from heat. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring until blended. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add cheese and pepper, stirring until cheese melts. Blend in sour cream.
COMBINE cheese mixture and potatoes, stir well. Spoon into a 13-by-9 baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour eggs evenly over top of mixture. Add crumbled bacon and paprika on top.
BAKE covered at 350 degrees for 35 to 50 minutes, then uncovered for 35 to 50 minutes.
6 slices deli ham
6 whole eggs
1 tomato, sliced
2 green onions, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 slices cheddar cheese
HEAT oven to 300 degrees.
GREASE each muffin cup in a 6-muffin tin.
PRESS 1 slice of ham into the bottom of each muffin cup. Crack an egg into each cup (don't worry about keeping the yolk intact).
TOP with a tomato slice, and then sprinkle some green onion into each one. Griund some black pepper into each one. Bake until clear egg whites become white.
REMOVE from oven and add some cheese onto the top of each one. Bake again until cheese has melted and eggs have risen slightly.
REMOVE each egg muffin carefully with a fork.