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Plan ahead and ask for help to have great holiday breakfasts

I have learned that we can’t really celebrate any kind of holiday without food, and I know for sure the Christmas holiday is no exception. With some planning and a willingness to ask for help, no one should have to spend the entire holiday in the kitchen while everyone else is having a good time.

When it comes to breakfast, as the host or hostess you have the challenge of guests or family members rising at different times — with some who like to eat right away and others who prefer a later breakfast. Then there is the issue of some of your guests liking a big breakfast and others only wanting a light one.

With the added stress of the holidays and guests, you might consider some of the following ideas to try when it comes breakfasts.

The easiest option might be to set up a breakfast buffet with an assortment of plates, silverware, glasses and cups. You can ask family members and guests to help you set it up the night before. You can also ask for help from the early risers by asking them to warm beverages or put food in the oven.

For serving hot foods, rely on overnight breakfast casseroles. Your cookbooks and the Internet are filled with recipes. When you are selecting recipes, think about the food ingredients that you already have and or the planned-overs that other recipes you prepare will create.

There are so many casseroles including hash brown, egg and cheese; overnight French toast; and, of course, the egg and ham ones. Overnight coffeecakes are delicious too. Probably one of the favorites would be overnight cinnamon rolls or anything that is yeast bread.

To me, winter means hot beverages and choices are a bonus. You can set out an assortment of beverages such as hot chocolate, tea (both regular and herbal) and coffee. An extra bonus is the yummy flavored creamers. I really like them in hot cocoa.

Your coffee maker might already have a timer built into it, but if not, you could plug the appliance into a timer. Whatever way the beverage gets made, the early risers will appreciate being able to enjoy a cup as soon as they are up.

If you want to provide several hot beverage choices, you can keep water hot in a crock pot or other container such as a teapot. Try not to use a coffee pot for hot water, as even the water heated in it will have a coffee taste and so will the beverages that are prepared with this hot water.

If family members like cold cereal, you can set out several boxes of different cereals so people can help themselves to their favorite. Make sure to have the raisins, dried cranberries, sugar and some fresh fruit such as bananas and oranges nearby. Remember to ask for help getting this organized the night before.

Another idea is to have a variety of breads and bagels by your toaster. Keep these items covered or in their containers so they stay fresh. Make sure to have a knife and cutting board on a tray or towel to collect the crumbs for easier cleanup. Don’t forget to set the peanut butter and spreads nearby, too.

I cannot encourage you enough to plan ahead and please ask others to help. You should be a hostess who enjoys your family and friends, not a short-order cook. Enjoying your family and friends is what the season is all about and the food should really come second.

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