Thanksgiving Traditions (and the search for a casserole)

Every year, for many years, our Thanksgiving morning looks the same.  Mama is up first making cinnamon rolls and coffee.  I then turn on the parade and one by one the sleepy house awakes.  Sitting in bathrobes and slippers we enjoy the sweet pastries and dark coffee and enjoy the floats, wave at the balloons on the screen, and anticipate the feast now wafting through the house.

Maryjane's hand print

Maryjane’s hand print

I always make the same meal served just after noon.  A traditional Thanksgiving feast with the mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes and marshmallows, stuffing, green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, and Tofurky.  We eat at noon and then head to a Christmas movie to start off our season.  An apple pie, pumpkin pie and eggnog greet us when we arrive back home after the film.

Thankful for Bret, Emily, and Maryjane

Thankful for Bret, Emily, and Maryjane

That night we go to the shop and decorate it so that Friday morning we open with bright and shiny window displays, an enchanted store filled with great sales.  The next day the tree comes up, the children put their ornaments on, and we create a winter wonderland throughout the house.

Thankful for Andrew and Megan

Thankful for Andrew and Megan

Traditions ground us.  They give us comfort and something to be excited for, something to count on.  But life changes, sometimes drastically, and part of life is going with the flow, making changes when necessary or deemed proper, and perhaps new traditions will unfold even more fun than the prior.

Thankful for Shyanne

Thankful for Shyanne

This year Andrew will be going to his girlfriend, Megan’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, Emily to Bret’s mom’s, and Shyanne, newly broken up, doesn’t know where she is going.  So, for us, I needed to accommodate rather than demand that they all be at my house.  So, I am doing Thanksgiving breakfast.  Then we can all go our own ways, Doug and I attending the movie by ourselves this year.  No shop to decorate.  The trees will go up before Thanksgiving and while I have everyone in the house at the same time Thanksgiving morning I will have them put their decorations on the tree.  Doug and I will decorate the house ourselves the rest of the weekend.  We were invited to go to Bret’s mom’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  New traditions will unfold this year, hopefully bringing blessings and good memories.

Thankful for Doug

Thankful for Doug

Now, question to all of you out there.  I need a fool proof, easy, delicious, breakfast casserole to make Thanksgiving morning.  Somehow, I have none in my artillery.  So, kindly sound off and share your Thanksgiving traditions as well as your favorite breakfast casserole.

Thankful for Maryjane

Thankful for Maryjane

Thankfully yours, Katie

6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Traditions (and the search for a casserole)

  1. Yes, our children grow and those traditions long celebrated begin to change. But change can be very good. Last year my son, his girlfriend and her 4 kids joined us on Christmas. I can’t express enough how wonderful it was to begin a new tradition in our home and one that included more kids.

    I have several breakfast casserole recipes that I have yet to try. The pumpkin French toast bake sounds particularly yummy and appropriate this time of the year. Or the Chile Tortilla Egg bake which sounds good any time of the year. I also have a spinach egg bake casserole, a broccoli and cheese egg casserole, as well as a cinnamon roll casserole I have yet to make. So many recipes just sitting there waiting for me to give them a try.

    If you would like me to share any of these recipes with you, just let me know.

      • Here you go:

        6 flour tortillas, soft-taco size (fewer if the tortillas are larger)
        3-4 small cans of chopped green chiles, drained and rinsed in a sieve
        1 pound grated cheese
        5 eggs, beaten
        2 cups milk (2% or whole, but not skim)
        1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)

        Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

        Cover the bottom of the dish with tortillas, overlapping as little as possible. You will use 2 tortillas per layer: Tear them in half, and by the time you get all the flat sides pressed up against the edges of the baking dish, it’s pretty much all set. Now sprinkle the tortillas with 1/2 of the chiles and 1/3 of the cheese, then add another layer of tortillas and top it with the rest of the chiles and another 1/3 of the cheese. Add the final layer of tortillas, sprinkle it with the remaining cheese, and then whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt in a bowl, and pour this over the whole casserole.

        Cover and refrigerate overnight.

        In the morning, heat the oven to 350 and get the casserole out of the fridge. Let come to room temperature. Bake for 35 minutes. When done it will be gloriously browned around the edges, and it will jiggle not at all.

        Let it sit 5 or 10 minutes before cutting it, so that it has time to set up. If you cut into it, and it’s very obviously not cooked through (e.g. raw egg), then pop it back into the oven for 10 more minutes. But what is normal is for there to be a little bit of clear liquid that separates out as you slice it: this is from the chiles and is fine.

  2. Pumpkin Spice French Toast

    Ingredients
    1lb loaf french bread, diced into 1-inch cubes
    8 eggs
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    2 1/2 cups pumpkin spice egg nog
    4 tablespoons brown sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    butter for greasing pan
    maple syrup

    Topping
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar (preferably dark brown sugar)
    1/4 cup white sugar
    2 tablespoons flour
    1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 tablespoons cold butter

    Instructions

    Butter sides and bottom of a 9×13 pan and set aside. Place bread cubes in a large mixing bowl.

    In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together and add pumpkin puree. Whisk until smooth. Mix in pumpkin spice egg nog. Add brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Pour mixture over bread cubes and very gently toss until covered. Let sit for 2-3 minutes and then toss again, making sure all bread cubes get covered in some of the egg mixture. Place entire mixture in prepared 9×13 inch pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

    In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, white sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon, Either grate butter with a large-hole cheese grater, or cut it into small chunks, and use fingers to crumble mixture together. Cover, and place crumb topping in fridge overnight.

    In the morning, take french toast pan out and set at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover pan and sprinkle crumb topping evenly over the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until puffed and golden all over. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes or so and then cut into squares.

    Garnish lightly with melted butter and maple syrup.

    Save any leftovers for me.

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