Over the past few months, I have shared some of my go-to dishes that really help me out on holiday mornings. My biggest challenge is Christmas morning, and this make ahead dish saves me every year. I assemble it the day before, cover and refrigerate until the next morning when I pop it into the oven for 50 minutes.
When my kids were younger, Christmas morning was a hectic scramble of toy assembly and battery installation. J and I were lucky to be able to finish a cup of coffee let alone eat breakfast. That quickly changed that when I found this recipe.
Now as my children are hitting their tween years, this recipe still continues to deliver. Our Christmas mornings are not nearly as hectic, but we have drop in visitors and with this dish and a few others I am guaranteed a brunch-like spread with hardly any effort.
The only cooking part involved in the preparation is to saute mushrooms. I used plain white mushrooms and sauteed them in about 1 tablespoon of butter.
While the mushrooms saute, grate 2 cups each of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese. I prefer to grate my own cheese rather than use the packaged, grated stuff which is coated with something that keeps the shreds from sticking together. I’ve used the packaged, shredded cheese before with no problems. It’s your choice.
Into a 9×13-inch baking dish place buttered Sheepherder bread with the buttered side facing the baking dish and sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese.
Layer thinly sliced ham over the cheese. I used a reduced sodium ham. Between the cheeses, the ham and the seasonings, this dish can get salty very quickly. If you can’t find low sodium ham, just eliminate the sodium in the dry seasonings. I have adjusted the overall level of added salt down to 1/2 teaspoon because I found the dish to be too salty for my tastes now.
Add the sauteed mushrooms and spread evenly across the ham.
Drain and layer a 7-ounce can of Ortgea chiles over the mushrooms spreading as evenly as possible.
Add the Monterey Jack cheese over all of the layers.
Into a medium-sized bowl, add 6 eggs.
The seasonings consist of pepper, paprika, salt, dried basil, onion powder, and dry mustard.
Beat the eggs and add the milk. I used non-fat because that’s what I had, and I’m really trying to stay in my jeans this holiday season!
Add the dried spices to the milk and eggs.
Mix and pour over the layers. Once all of the liquid is in, gently rock the baking dish from side to side to make sure the liquid has been evenly distributed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the next morning.
When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap and place baking dish into a 325 degree F preheated oven for 50 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Cut into squares and serve. I usually sprinkle the top with some thinly sliced scallions, but I didn’t have any on hand.
Christmas mornings have never been easier and this dish never disappoints.
Overnight Ham and Cheese Bake
Recipe adapted from California Sizzles
6 slices Sheepherder bread
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
3/4 pound ham, thinly sliced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced and sauteed in butter
1 7-ounce can diced green chiles
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Butter 6 slices of bread and place buttered side down in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with 2 cups Cheddar cheese. Pace ham on top of cheese and then layer with mushrooms and chiles. Top with Monterey Jack cheese. In a bowl, beat eggs and add milk, salt, paprika, basil, onion powder, pepper, and dry mustard. Pour ingredients in dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Uncover casserole and bake for 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes to set before serving.