Let's face it - not all of us are night owls. While much of America will indulge in late-night revelry and await the midnight drop of the Times Square glitter ball, morning people will be dressed in jammies and snoring beneath a comforter by 9. For early morning people, a late night means catching the first five minutes of the 10 pm news.
Being a morning person doesn't mean foregoing a New Year's celebration, however. 2013 can open with a breakfast menu that almost makes you look forward to shoveling the new snow that fell overnight.
It starts with a toast - nonalcoholic, of course. Greet the new year with either a mock mimosa or a fuzzy slushie. The mimosa substitutes sparkling white grape juice for champagne. If it's possible, try to find a sparkling juice that was manufactured by a winery, such as St. Julian's. This will be a drier grape juice that has no sugar or corn syrup added.
The main course is a breakfast casserole that can be assembled the night before and popped into the oven first thing in the morning. The casserole, developed by Kraft Foods, is a new twist on quiche, and includes meat, cheese and stuffing mix with the eggs.
Of course, the addition of something sweet tops off the menu, and these rich muffins are a real treat. The recipe makes 2 dozen, and any extra muffins can be stored in freezer bags, frozen and reheated in the microwave.
Finally, the new year deserves to begin with a great cup of coffee. Eight O'Clock brand has whole bean or ground coffee in seasonal flavors such as Chocolate Mint; they now offer their coffees in K-cups as well as the traditional recloseable bag.
For each mimosa, combine 1 tbsp. frozen unsweetened orange juice concentrate and 6 to 8 oz. sparkling white grape juice. Stir gently to dissolve concentrate.
2 tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 c. frozen peaches, slightly thawed
Using a blender or stick blender, combine orange juice concentrate and peaches. Pour into a tall serving glass, add club soda and top with a maraschino cherry.
Stuffed Breakfast Casserole
2 c. Stove Top stuffing mix for chicken
2 c. milk
1 pkg. (8 oz.) bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in large bowl.
Spoon mixture into greased 13 x 9 pan or casserole dish. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until center is set.
Substitute 1 1/2 c. cubed cooked ham or turkey for bacon, or 8 oz. of cooked ground breakfast sausage. For a meatless meal, use soy burger and sauteed mushrooms.
Add 1 c. chopped leftover boiled peeled potatoes to stuffing mixture before spooning into casserole dish.
Include chopped red and green peppers for extra color and flavor.
Berry Good Muffins
4 c. all purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 c. frozen raspberries or blackberries
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. sour cream
1 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together. Add berries and toss gently.
In a second bowl, mix together eggs, sour cream, oil and vanilla until combined. Gently stir in dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
Line two muffin pans with cupcake liners. Fill each liner 2/3rds full with batter. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
Substitute fresh, frozen or dried cranberries, blueberries or blackberries for raspberries.
Replace 2 c. of white flour with 2 c. of whole wheat flour and sprinkle muffin tops with 1 tsp. of wheat germ. Muffins will have a nuttier, sweet wheat flavor.
Batter can be baked in a greased and parchment-lined loaf pan. Adjust cooking time up approximately 10 - 15 minutes for 9 x 5 loaves.
This menu also makes an excellent brunch for the late nighters who crawl out of bed around noon but aren't in the mood for sandwiches.