Make Christmas morning easy with this make ahead breakfast. This Monte Cristo Casserole Recipe can be assembled the night before, covered tightly and kept in the refrigerator until about an hour before you are ready to serve it. You don’t need much else to go with it — maybe some orange or grapefruit slices to brighten up the plate.
For this recipe you will need the following supplies: sandwich bread, peach butter, pecans, Swiss cheese, deli smoked turkey, deli black forest ham, eggs, milk, half and half, salt, Panko bread crumbs, cinnamon, sugar, powdered sugar, raspberry preserves, chipotle powder. You will also need a 9×9 pan (I use glass).
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It would be great if the whole family gathered around the table on Christmas morning, nibbling on sweet rolls before heading to the parlor to carefully unwrap the gifts that Santa brought. It would be a dream come true if Christmas morning played out like a Norman Rockwell painting but around here it’s more like a super-chaotic flurry of flying gift wrap and ribbon. I literally used to give my kids boxes of cereal wrapped in Christmas paper and put muffins in their stockings so that I knew they weren’t eating pecan fudge for breakfast.
Not that there is anything wrong with pecan fudge for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner for that matter.
This year all of my kids will be home for the first time in ten years. I know I’ve said it before but I have to keep reminding myself that it’s really happening! Kids, spouses, and grandkids will fill my house for a Christmas I will remember for the rest of my life.
And while I am excited about having 15 people at my table on Christmas I am also a little stressed over getting the house clean, the decorations up, and the menu done. I need things to be easy so I can enjoy Christmas without stressing about what everyone is going to eat. I can’t really do the boxes of cereal and muffin thing now that they are parents themselves…
Well I could…
Sometimes I make cinnamon rolls, and I may yet decide to add them to the menu but I’ve decided my main breakfast/brunch dish is going to be my favorite Monte Cristo Casserole. I make Monte Cristos a little differently than most and they are amazing. I wanted to translate that amazingness (totally a word) to a casserole and I was so happy when it worked.
It worked well. Really, really well.
I use peach butter and pecans to add a little more flavor to the casserole and it goes well with the raspberry chipotle drizzle that tops the finished brunch casserole. The casserole itself is made up of layers of bread, turkey, ham, and Swiss cheese. The crumbs on the top add a crispy crunch so that you have creamy, smoky, sweet, gooey, crispy goodness in every single bite. Best of all this easy brunch casserole can be assembled the night before (just leave the crumbs off until just before baking) and it feeds a crowd.
Just think, maybe this Monte Cristo Casserole will be the thing that turns your chaotic holiday into a scene from a Norman Rockwell painting. Even if it doesn’t it’s still dang awfully good. Don’t save this just for holidays. It is a fabulous brunch or light dinner anytime!
- 12 slices white sandwich bread
- 1/2 cup peach butter
- 1/2 cup chopped , toasted pecans
- 4 ounces sliced thinly sliced Swiss cheese
- 6 ounces thinly sliced deli smoked turkey
- 6 ounces thinly sliced deli black forest ham
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup half and half (light) cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- 1 cup raspberry preserves
- 1/4 teaspoon powdered chipotle
Prepare a 9-inch square baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Toast the bread and spread each slice with the peach butter.
Lay 4 slices of the toast with peach butter side up in the baking dish.
Sprinkle with 1/2 the pecans.
Cover with 1/2 of the cheese.
Cover the cheese with 1/2 the turkey and then cover that with 1/2 of the ham.
Repeat layers, ending with the last four pieces of toast – add them peach butter side down.
Whisk the eggs, milk, cream, and salt together until well blended.
Pour slowly over the casserole. (You can stop at this point, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.)
Mix the breadcrumbs, cinnamon, and sugar and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
Gently but firmly press the top down.
Bake at 375F for 50 minutes.
Let stand for 5 minutes.
Cut into squares, dust tops with powdered sugar, and drizzle with the raspberry chipotle sauce.
Mix the chipotle powder into the raspberry preserves.
Microwave on high for 1 minute, or until preserves are syrupy.
Stir to blend.
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