hostess with the mostess

for years growing up, i watched my mother chop, slice, and dice her way to her annual christmas brunch. she was definitely the hostess with the mostess when she opened the door to greet her guests that included family and friends (i grew up sitting at the children’s table). and one of her tried-and-true tricks for hosting a flawless bash was the timeless casserole. it is truly the perfect brunch dish as it can be made ahead of time, typically the night before, then popped into the oven an hour before brunch is served. this tactic freed my mother to enjoy her guests, freshen their drinks, and savor the festive atmosphere she worked hard to create. i’ve held on tight to a few recipes that i thought i would share today. one of our family traditions i’ve kept through the years is a christmas morning brunch in lieu of a lavish christmas dinner. it’s sooooo easy to prepare several casseroles that can easily feed a dozen, or more if your guest list suddenly expands at the last-minute. and if by chance you happen to be invited to brunch instead of hosting one don’t knock at the door empty-handed. let your hostess know she’s appreciated by showing up with a lovely gift. sometime it’s a bit challenging to select the perfect present so i’ve shared a few of my favorites.

hostess with the mostess

hostess with the mostess

hostess with the mostess

hostess with the mostess

hostess with the mostess

most of these recipes have been handed down to me through the years on recipe cards, but if i know where the recipe originated from the credit is given.

Breakfast Sausage and Egg casserole


1 pound bulk pork sausage, 8 eggs, 1 cup cheddar cheese, 2 1/2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground mustard, 6 slices white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in sausage. Cook and stir until sausage is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Drain and discard any excess grease.

Beat eggs in a large bowl; stir in milk, salt, and mustard. Fold bread cubes, Cheddar cheese, and sausage into egg mixture. Pour into a lightly greased 7×11-inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove casserole from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking

Bake in preheated oven until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Skiers French Toast


2 tablespoons light corn syrup, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1 (1 pound) loaf unsliced white bread, with crust trimmed, 5 eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt


Combine light corn syrup, butter and sugar in saucepan; simmer until syrup-like. Pour mixture over the bottom of a 9″x 13″ pan.

Slice bread into 12-16 slices; place over the syrup. Layer as needed.

Beat together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt. Pour over bread. Cover with saran wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Bake in a preheated oven 350 degree F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake – courtesy of Southern Living


1/2 cup butter, softened, 1 cup white sugar, 2 eggs, 1 cup sour cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13-inch pan.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and 1 cup of sugar. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Mix well.

Add the flour mixture and combine. Batter will be thick.

In a separate bowl, combine chocolate chips, 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Spread half of the cake batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the chocolate chip mixture over the batter. Repeat with the remaining batter, and then the remaining chocolate chip mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Ham, Cheese, and Broccoli Casserole


4 potatoes, peeled and cubed, 2 tablespoons butter, 1 head broccoli, cut into florets, 1 onion, chopped, 1 1/2 cups cooked ham, cubed, 8 eggs, beaten, 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes, until lightly brown. Layer in bottom of prepared pan.

Add butter to skillet and saute broccoli and onions until soft; spoon over potatoes. Spread ham on top of broccoli and onions.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs and cheese. Season with salt and pepper and pour over vegetables.

Bake in preheated oven until eggs are set and lightly brown on top, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Tri-Berry Muffins courtesy of Barefoot Contessa


3 cups flour, 1 tbsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 tbsp. ground cinnamon, 1 1/4 cups milk, 2 eggs, lightly beaten, 1 cup butter, melted, 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen diced strawberries, 1 1/2 cups sugar


Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in large bowl. In another bowl, combine milk, eggs and melted butter. Make a well in middle of dry ingredients; pour wet mixture into well and stir until just combined. There will be some lumps, but don’t overmix the batter!

Add the blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and sugar and stir gently to combine.

Spoon the batter into paper-lined muffin cups; fill to almost the top. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the tops are nicely browned.


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  1. nina_d wrote:

    Hi, Beth.

    The directions in the first recipe call for cheese but there is no cheese listed in the ingredients.

    Love the “vintage” photos!

    Posted 12.14.15
    • yikes! the recipe calls for 1 cup of cheddar cheese. I’m going to edit the post ASAP. thanks, for letting me know.
      xxoo beth

      Posted 12.14.15
  2. maja majic wrote:

    Great food! Will try some of it in the next days. Children table? We don’t have this in Europe. Kids should not eat separated. Inclusion. And learning hot to behave at the table. I can not even imagine not having all the kids with us.

    Posted 12.20.15
    • yup, there was a children’s table years ago. from the era that thought children should be seen and not heard. how times have changed! but i have fond memories of the children’s table because it was much more fun, and relaxed. once you graduated to the grown-up table you had to put on your best manners!
      xxoo beth

      Posted 12.21.15

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