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Start new year off right with a tasty brunch

By Jennifer Durrant special To The Daily Herald - | Dec 29, 2020
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Nutella french toast
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Fruity mocktails are a fun family brunch choice to celebrate New Year's.

It’s finally time to say good riddance to 2020 and welcome 2021. Can we all just take a minute to shout a collective “Hallelujah”?!

While we all know this new year might not look much different from the last couple of months, we can certainly celebrate the conclusion of one of the craziest, most difficult years we have all endured. And, because we are all still in the middle of a pandemic, we might not welcome 2021 in our favorite party-filled ways. But, we can certainly enjoy a delicious New Year’s Day brunch.

A beautiful, food-filled brunch is a great way to start off the new year with your family or a small, socially distanced gathering of friends. And, a hearty-yet-elegant brunch is also a great way to polish off all the Christmas dinner leftovers. Here are some great options and recipes for a delicious breakfast feast, everything from savory casseroles to sweet treats to fruity mocktails.

For more ideas, visit out New Year, New You board on Pinterest.

Savory casseroles

One of the easiest entrees to cook up for a New Year’s brunch is a eggy, meat-filled breakfast casserole. Combining all your favorite parts of a breakfast — toast, eggs, sausage, bacon, ham and even healthy veggies — a casserole is an easy way to serve the entire family. Prepping the night before, too, makes morning cooking duties even easier. Use up all that extra Christmas ham in one of those dishes, too.

Try this Ham and Thyme Casserole. Whip together 10 eggs with 1 1/2 cups milk, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. In a greased 9×13 pan add 4 cups cubed French bread and top with 1/2 pound chopped ham and 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Pour over egg mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Garnish with more chopped thyme.

Sweet treats

When it comes to serving up something sweet for a New Year’s Day brunch there are many obvious choices. Belgian waffles topped with mounds of sliced fruit, whipped cream and syrups are always a favorite option. Pancakes loaded with bananas and chocolate chips, too, are a popular choice with many children. Frosted cinnamon rolls and caramel sticky buns are also great options to add some sweetness to your menu.

Try Nutella-Stuffed French Toast. Slice a loaf of French bread into 1 1/4-inch slices. Cut through the center of each slice keeping the end intact. Spread heaping tablespoon of Nutella inside each slice. Dip slices into a mixture of 1 cup milk, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 5 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon each of baking powder and cinnamon. Place on 375-degree, buttered griddle. Top with macerated strawberries.

Fruity mocktails

When it comes to brunch there are a few traditional alcoholic beverages that are pretty standard — the Bloody Mary and the Mimosa. If you’re looking for non-alcoholic versions, there are multiple options that are great, tasty alternatives. For instance, you can still enjoy a delicious strawberry mimosa. Simply mix 3 cups of orange juice, 1 cup frozen strawberries and 3 cans of lemon-lime soda. Stir to combine and pour into champagne flutes. Garnish with fresh strawberries.

Try this Sparkling Ginger Cranberry Mocktail. On a small plate, combine 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon orange zest. Slice the orange and cut into a wedge to run along the rim of a cocktail glass. Dip the glass rim in the sugar mixture. Into the glass, combine 2 ounces unsweetened cranberry juice with 4 ounces ginger beer. Garnish with fresh cranberries.

– Jennifer Durrant

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