The Art of Food – Art’s Day-After-Christmas-Brunch
By Art Conn
Being a bachelor, I don’t do much cooking for myself much less entertaining with my clever ideas for dinner. This could be the reason I go out to restaurants so much.
There is one day a year that I set aside for finding out what the kitchen is all about and endeavor to feed my friends things I think they will enjoy.
For the past 5 or 6 years it’s been a tradition that I serve brunch on the day after Christmas. Most of my friends are well over the ham and turkey feast that have been put before them and welcome something different.
The first year, I took two of my mother’s favorite breakfast recipes and made them for my guests. They all seemed to love it or pretended to so I’ve kept it up each year. Each year I know what I’m making and each year my friends know what to expect.
I’m going to give you the recipes at the end of this. My mother left these recipes in her recipe box that I inherited but I’m sure they’re not original and you probably have ones of your own. But I wanted to share them with you anyway.
I also wanted to share with you the way I pull this whole entertaining thing off.
Since I only have two dishes that I make and by themselves it wouldn’t be a complete meal, I always answer the question, “what can I bring?”, with a list of things they can bring to make the “brunch” complete.
My two dishes are an egg and sausage casserole and a hash brown casserole. I make sure to let my friends bring something that will compliment these. Usually someone brings fruit, orange juice, biscuits or something else.
This way if you’re on a budget, you only have to buy ingredients for two casseroles and you’ve got leftovers for the week.
I try to make the dining room as festive as possible to make the meal seem more expensive and worth the trip to my house for my guests. I keep the Christmas tree and holiday decorations up and then throw a red tablecloth and green napkins on my hand-me-down dining table. It’s a wonder what a cheap red cloth can do for a dining room.
I also inherited a set of REAL silverware and use it on this one special day. That makes a nice impression.
Okay, so the table is set, the friends come and bring food and I serve up my casseroles and take the credit for a glorious After Christmas Brunch.
Here are the two recipes… enjoy!
Dottie’s Egg and Sausage Casserole
1 lb. sausage (fried and crumbled)
6 slices of toasted bread, cubed
1 medium bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
(save some to put on top*)
1 ½ cups of milk
salt and pepper
Mix ingredients in bowl.
Pour into greased shallow baking dish
* sprinkle top with saved cheese
Bake @ 350 degrees for 45 minutes
Serve HOT out of the oven.
Dottie’s Hash brown Casserole
2 lbs hash browns – thawed
1 stick of melted butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
2 tbsp dry onion
salt, pepper, parsley
Mix these together and pour into 9 x 13 dish
Top with 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups crushed corn flakes
drizzle 2 tbsp of the melted butter over the top
Bake @ 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Note: both of these dishes call for 45 minutes at 350 degrees so it’s easy to bake both at the same time and both will come out just right. Trust me.
Have a Happy Holiday!