Start 2023 right with a hearty New Year’s Day breakfast

December 30, 2022

Since most of us will toast the stroke of midnight Dec. 31 with a glass of bubbly or other adult beverage, a delicious breakfast on New Year’s Day is a good idea. Whether you fell asleep on the couch in front of the television waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square or stood outside to watch the anchor drop at the Lightship Overfalls in Lewes, the first meal of the new year needs to be quick, easy and satisfying.

When there’s a crowd at the house (college kids home from school, visiting relatives in for the holidays), one easy choice is a breakfast casserole or strata (referring to the multiple layers in the dish). The typical list of ingredients includes meat, bread cubes, cheese, milk and eggs. You can put it all together the night before, store it in the refrigerator while you go out for the evening and then bake it in the morning.

Two of the most common combinations are sausage with mushrooms and ham or bacon with broccoli. The bread cubes are layered with the other ingredients in a casserole dish, then topped with a rich combination of eggs and milk. One key to success is to use a somewhat shallow baking dish so the center has the chance to cook completely. To satisfy anyone who may need a gluten-free option, substitute pre-packaged potato cubes or shredded potato for the bread.

When the morning meal is just for the two of you, consider baked eggs. Also called shirred eggs, these are cooked in individual ramekins on the top rack of the oven. Simple additions of heavy cream, melted butter and a sprinkle of salt are all that’s needed for this delicious dish. Be sure not to overcook them; just make sure the whites are set and the yolk remains soft.

One other option for a treat on a bleary-eyed morning is to turn to a baking mix, like the one used for the colorful scones in the photo. The Sticky Fingers brand offers a wide variety of sweet and savory muffin and scone mixes, including gluten-free options. This particular one was advertised as a cross between a scone and a donut, hence the sprinkles and chocolate glaze (which we didn’t use). The texture was tender and the flavor quite sweet, perfect to accompany the mimosa cocktails.

After breakfast and perhaps a nap, you can prepare the evening meal according to the food traditions you follow. Almost every culture has a set of foods that they hope will being prosperity in the year ahead. Most are based on the color or shape of the ingredients. For example, beans and peas are believed to symbolize coins because of their round shape. Greens are chosen to represent paper money and pork because pigs root moving forward, unlike chickens, which scratch in a backward direction.

Our menu typically features a fresh or smoked ham, smothered collard greens, black-eyed peas and golden cornbread. Dessert echoes another tradition with round fruit. Fill a bowl with grapes (if there are any left after everyone eats 12 at the stroke of midnight), oranges, clementines and pomegranate to enjoy as a healthy and lucky mouthful of sweetness after your evening meal.

No matter how you celebrate the new year, here’s wishing you and yours peace and good health in the days ahead. Be sure to find time to break bread with friends and family as you make plans for new adventures in 2023. Happy New Year!

Sausage Strata

1 1/2 lbs bulk breakfast sausage
1 T butter
8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
8 oz sliced white mushrooms
2 minced shallots
6 C cubed Italian bread
3 C shredded cheddar cheese
2 C milk
1/2 C half & half
5 eggs
1 T vermouth

Coat the inside of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. In a large skillet, brown the sausage, crumbling into small chunks. Remove the sausage to a paper-towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon. Discard all but 1 T of the rendered fat in the pan. Add mushrooms and shallots; cook, stirring often until the mushroom liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes. Place half the bread cubes in the prepared baking pan in an even layer. Cover bread with sausage and then layer with mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with 2 C cheese. Spread remaining bread cubes and top with remaining 1 C cheese; set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together milk, half & half, eggs and vermouth. Pour the egg mixture over the bread layers; press down with a spatula to ensure the bread is moistened completely. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Remove pan from refrigerator about 1 hour before baking. Cook at 350 F until puffy and browned, about 1 hour. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Shirred Eggs

1 egg
1 t heavy cream
1 t melted butter
Freshly ground pepper
snipped chives (optional)

Place the top oven rack in the highest position. Preheat oven to 375 F. Coat the inside of a ramekin with nonstick cooking spray. Crack egg into the ramekin. Sprinkle with salt, and top with cream and butter. Bake until the white is cooked through and the yolk is not quite set, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper and chives (if using). Serve with toast or English muffins. Yield: 1 serving.

Confetti Cranberry Scones

2/3 C buttermilk
1 egg
3 C flour
4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
8 T butter
1 C cranberries
1/3 C multi-colored sprinkles
1/2 C sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in a small bowl; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut butter into chunks and add to dry ingredients; cut in with a pastry blender to form fine granules. Stir in cranberries, sprinkles and sugar. Add buttermilk mixture and stir with a fork to form a soft dough. Turn out dough and knead into a ball, then flatten. Separate dough into eight pieces, forming each into a ball. Place balls onto prepared baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter