Cozy at Home

For Cozy Breakfasts With Little Effort, Do These 5 Things

Oh yes, there's bacon involved.

November 15, 2018
Photo by Julia Gartland

The tea's a-brewing and the fireplace's a-crackling. We're getting Cozy at Home with warm-and-cuddly ideas for cooking, decorating, and more—so grab your fuzzy slippers and join us.

Hot take: The best part of holiday meal-planning is mapping out your morning-after breakfasts. Some of my favorite Thanksgiving memories are stumbling from whatever lair I've holed up in at my parents' house, shocked to find that I do already have an appetite back and that it's screaming, "Find the source of that bacon scent and steal it all. All of it!" (Then, it laughs shrilly and evilly, and I go find the bacon.)

But warming, snuggly morning-after-holiday breakfasts do require a little foresight. After all, who wants to make an entire meal from scratch so soon after the big event? The good news is you've already done most of the legwork for the prior day's festivities. Just remember a few quick things, and you'll have a cozy, festive breakfast on the table in a flash:

1. Hang onto those bread rolls.

Stale bread cubes are make-ahead breakfast's best friend. Ever heard of a strata? It's a giant, cheesy, breakfast casserole. You can prep the whole thing days in advance, then just pop it in to bake when you're ready for breakfast. And it's a "kitchen sink" dish: There's very little you couldn't toss in, along with stale bread, eggs, milk, and some cream or broth. (Hi there, greens/alliums/any and all cheese/bacon/shredded turkey/sausage crumbles, et cetera.)

The good news is, extra bread is to big festive dinners as wine stains are to Thanksgiving tablecloths. Which is to say, very abundant.

2. Remember when you went mise-crazy yesterday? Today, you rule.

There's no better way to zhush up a make-ahead breakfast than to break out that leftover mise en place. Got extra diced onions you can fry up? A few tablespoons of chopped chives, or toasted pepitas, and a dollop of (slowly deflating) whipped cream? You'll be doing salt bae impressions as you garnish a skillet strata, or gussy up a toasted slice of last night's cake (respectively; no chives on the cake, please).

Accordingly, keep a few small and medium containers on hand to save extra chopped herbs or alliums, or crushed up nuts, or the dregs of a killer salad dressing.

3. Get ready to perform Frankenstein-like procedures with those 12 random leftover egg whites (or yolks!).

Is a frittata or a giant omelette technically a make-ahead breakfast? Well, no. But if you're using all pre-prepared components (remember that extra mise?) to throw it together, you just need the random egg parts leftover from whatever custard or buttercream or meringue adventures you got up to the day prior. Then give everything a good scramble, and let 'er rip.

To make this happen, the day before, lean on the side of extra when you're cooking for the main event. Over-chop your veg, over-toast your seeds and nuts, over-grate your cheese—you get the idea. (If you're feeling a quiche, double down on your pie dough, and save a disk in the fridge!)

If you've only got egg whites leftover, great news, you've got an egg white frittata and you get to brag about how virtuously protein-y you were, for the rest of the day. If you've only got yolks, crack a few extra whites in there as well before attempting an eggy main. (If you've literally only got yolks left, no full eggs, take this as a sign that you're halfway to an egg wash, and make some cinnamon rolls.)

4. There's no holiday breakfast party like a pantry party!

You can and should call in your pantry for the assist. Keep a few cans of whole tomatoes or tomato puree on hand, and you're most of the way to shakshuka.

Or throw together flour, sugar, leavening agents, a pinch of salt and spices, and you've got a big batch of pancake or waffle mix on your hands. Pull it out of the pantry when you're in the mood for a big, syrupy stack, minus the full effort.

5. Re-Use Those Fancy Platters and Glasses from Last Night.

Taking out all of the fancy serving platters, wine glasses, and plates you reserve for the holidays is a special kind of annoying. But, since they're already out—probably drying dramatically on a dish rack because you can never remember if they're dishwasher-safe—you might as well use them to make your breakfast spread extra festive. A few of our current favorites:

If you’re looking for more ways to spend time with loved ones over the holidays, head over to our Magical Mini Guide for Cozy Weekends.

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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a contributing writer and the Absolute Best Tests columnist at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner. She also develops recipes for Food52, and has a soft spot for all pasta, anything spicy, and salty chocolate things.