Thursday, January 13, 2011

Good morning.

Christmas morning we hosted my mom, her husband and his daughter at our house for brunch and presents. Mom usually hosts, but this year, since I'm "becoming quite the little chef" as she puts it, it was my turn. On Christmas morning when I was a kid, we'd get up and bake those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and have them with hot cocoa.

Another holiday morning staple was a curried fruit compote that my mom makes. It's pretty much some cans of pineapple, peaches, cherries and pears cooked together with brown sugar, butter and curry. Serve warm and it's comforting, exotic and delicious. Mom agreed to bring that, along with some Chocovine to have in place of hot cocoa. We are adults, are we not?

What is Chocovine, you ask?

Okay - this is going to sound sort of weird, but it's a mixture of red wine and chocolate. It's thick and sweet and chocolaty and packs a punch. It's very decadent and a little goes a long way. Also - and my mom found this out the hard way - no matter what you do, DON'T mix Chocovine with other wine. The result is a separated mess that's really disgusting to look at, let alone drink. So enjoy your Chocovine on its own and you'll be a happy camper.

Back to Christmas morning. So we had Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, curried fruit compote and Chocovine. Not what you'd call healthy. We needed something more. Something that screamed BRUNCH but was also fairly healthy and filling.

Enter the breakfast strata.

A strata is like a casserole made with eggs, cheese and stale bread. To slim it down and make it healthier, we used whole-grain bread, fake eggs, reduced-fat cheese, turkey sausage and lots of veggies.
Easy Brunch StrataServings: about 4
Weight Watchers Points: 5 per serving

1 small onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 1/3 c. fake eggs
1 1/3 c. skim milk
5 ounces Italian bread, cubed
3/4 c. smoked turkey sausage, cooked and diced
3/4 c. shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp. Penzey's Arizona Dreaming seasoning

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray.

In a skillet over medium heat coated with cooking spray, sauté the onion and pepper until just soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and milk. Add the bread, sausage, onion and pepper mixture, half the cheese and Arizona Dreaming seasoning; stir until all of the bread is moistened.

Pour the mixture into the pan; sprinkle evenly with the remaining cheese. Bake until the top is golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Our Christmas morning meal was absolutely wonderful.

The menu my mom and I developed was right in line with my personal healthy philosophy - make changes where you can, but don't deprive yourself of those special treats. In this case, Christmas morning as a kid WAS Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. On any other day I wouldn't allow those in my house, but my Christmas morning menu just wouldn't have been right without them. So I had one and a half, and a big helping of strata and fruit.

Great food, great company and great memories. That's what the holidays are all about. Heck, that's what every day is all about.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I know this was some time ago, but I have a quick question. By the way, the strata looks delicious! I will try that since I just started weight watchers. But do you happen to know how many points is the chocovine? My mother and I have some and don't know how to count it, thanks so much!