5 Make-Ahead Breakfasts and a Ham and Cheese Souffle Casserole

by heidi on December 21, 2011

My family isn’t steeped too deeply in family traditions.

As kids, we didn’t go to the same summer vacation spot year after year nor did we play the perennial party games at the annual family reunion.

FoodieCrush Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

But we did always gather as a group on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And that’s why it’s my favorite time of year. Memories of us all getting together to eat, share, arm wrestle—and beat—my boy cousins and watch TBS’s 24 hour A Christmas Story marathon.

Mommy’s little piggy: my all-time favorite scene:

Every Christmas morning for each of my 29 ‘plus’ years, I’ve had this Breakfast Casserole—officially named Ham Souffle but really more of a strata—made the night before and then baked on Christmas morn in all of its gooey, cheesy, ground ham find me under the mistletoe union.

And it is special.

My mom found the recipe in the Ogden Junior League Cookbook under the section “Beautiful Brunches”—a rag tag binder copy that I still have—and would make it only on Christmas morning, for all of the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to covet and savor.

On Christmas Eve day, my sister and I would help my mom prep: tear the bread, mix the eggs, shred the cheese and start layering over the ham. We’d toss the filled casserole pans in the fridge to rest overnight, ready to be popped in the oven the next morning as we lounged in our PJs and took turns opening presents.

Once the family arrived, slipping off snow shoes and swapping stories of what Santa brought, we’d pull the bubbling casseroles from the oven, and serve buffet style with blueberry muffins and Angela’s Frosty Cranberry Mold, savoring every single bite. And the occasional serving of fudge.

The dish never dared make another appearance at any other time of the year because then it would be somehow tarnished, its sparkle dimmed just a touch.

Now that us kids have all gotten older, and are having kids of our own, we’ve all dispersed and no longer get together as a group on Christmas morning.

But the tradition lives on, with my sister, cousins and extended family sharing Breakfast Casserole with their own families.

Check out Reluctant Entertainer’s Pear and Vanilla French Toast on page 32 of FoodieCrush magazine and see Sandy’s 5 tips for a stress-free Christmas morning.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Souffle Casserole

Yield: serves 8-10

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Souffle Casserole


1 1/2 loaves white bread
2 pounds ground ham
1 pound medium cheddar cheese, grated
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon parsley


  1. Prepare 9 X 13 pan with softened butter. Tear slices of bread into 1 inch pieces and cover bottom of pan with bread, fitting tightly.
  2. Layer half of the ground ham over bread, and then layer half of the cheese over ham.
  3. Add another layer of bread slices, then ham and then cheese. Finish with a final layer of bread.
  4. In a 1 quart measuring cup, mix together eggs and milk. In a small bowl, take 1 tablespoon of egg and milk mixture and mix in mustard until smooth. Add into quart measuring cup and mix well. Add parsley and pour over casserole, evenly distributing wet ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until eggs are set. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

makes 9 X 13 casserole pan allow time for casserole to sit in refrigerator overnight


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FoodieCrush Magazine The Faux Martha Baked French Toast

With a little bit of healthy—thanks to whole wheat bread—and a little bit of sweet—with a touch of turbinado—Melissa’s created just the right balance to bring some jingle to your jangle on Christmas morning with The Faux Martha’s Baked French Toast.

FoodieCrush Magazine Food People Want Gravlax

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Thanks for reading. Keep in touch, please subscribe to FoodieCrush and follow me on twitterFacebook and Pinterest


Posted in: breakfast and brunch,recipes

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn December 21, 2011 at 2:26 am

Oh what a perfect Christmas morning breakfast! Although I think I’d struggle to save this delight for just once a year…


heidi December 21, 2011 at 5:33 pm

It is not an easy task, I assure you. the best part of doing this post was making it Pre-Xmas.


Bev Weidner December 21, 2011 at 6:05 am

Any and all breakfast casseroles can take permanent residence in my belly. These. look. off. the. charts.


heidi December 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Do you have any breakfast eats like this on your site? Would love to see.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga December 21, 2011 at 6:34 am

Martha’s french toast and Lauren’s bread pudding have had me salivating for days now.

Love this roundup!


Maria December 21, 2011 at 7:25 am

Great ideas for Christmas morning!


sarah December 21, 2011 at 7:32 am

Yum. Those all look amazing. And perfect timing – we are trying to figure out a menu for our Christmas Day brunch.


Melissa // thefauxmartha December 21, 2011 at 8:19 am

Well this just made my day Heidi! Thanks for including me in the make-ahead round up. And now I’m laughing out loud at my desk after watching that clip. It’s one of my faves too. My dad watches it non stop at Christmas. He turns into a little boy watching that movie.


heidi December 21, 2011 at 5:37 pm

My only trouble putting together roundups is to not feature you in every post. Your peppermint series has me
In fits, lovely.


Heavenly Housewife December 21, 2011 at 8:23 am

Thank you so much for including me in this delicious round up. I think that baked french toast has my name on it :D
*kisses* HH


heidi December 21, 2011 at 5:37 pm

You are oh so welcome, would live to catch up with you and learn more about you and your blog.


Sue T. December 21, 2011 at 8:34 am

Wow, that Ham and Cheese Casserole looks wonderful. I am so going to make that for us to have on Christmas morning. Thanks for posting the recipe and having such a mouth watering picture!


Susan December 21, 2011 at 8:34 am

I love doing things ahead of time, but would have to substitute…maybe mushrooms for the ham since we’re vegetarians. Happy Holidays! XOXO


heidi December 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Definitely mushroom worthy. I have another recipe to post in Feb for a mushroom, spinach, gruyere strata. It’s in the Cooks Illustrated ‘The New Best Recipe’ cookbook and is delicious. Do you have that cookbook?


kate December 21, 2011 at 9:31 am

So many good choices for breakfast!


Lynn December 21, 2011 at 9:50 am

Isn’t it wonderful to relax while breakfast is making itself on Holiday Mornings? Thanks for the inspirations!


heather nan December 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

YUMS! I am a total quiche girl on Christmas morning, but I think I am going to have to incorporate the baked french toast this year to mix it up!


heidi December 21, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Yum, would love any quiche recipes you have. I was at The Grand today and thought of you the whole time. XO


Perla December 21, 2011 at 10:36 am

Wow.. just.. wow! So much deliciousness I don’t know which to choose! Would it be wrong of me to want to make them all? Well maybe not make them all..but definitely eat them! :D


heidi December 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Now THAT would be a meal to remember.


Delishhh December 21, 2011 at 11:10 am

Great list – since i am Swedish we celebrate Christmas Eve and have lots of herring and gravlax which i make fresh. But for Christmas Day i always make Strata and love it has become such a tradition. God Jul!


heidi December 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm

What do you make for your Swedish breakfast?


Sandrine December 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm

for Ham & Cheese Breakfast Souffle Casserole, do I bake it cover or uncovered?
I have a similar recipe, after baking for 60 minutes, the eggs didn’t set, at 90 minutes still didn’t set. And finally at 120 minutes. Only difference is the recipe said to cover with foil to bake. Wondering if that is the culprit. I have 2 other girlfriends making the same recipe, same issue.

Please advise.



heidi December 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I baked this one uncovered for 50 minutes, and I bake it in a clear Pyrex pan do I can see it create bubbles on the side of the pan which signals its done. If its not getting done in the middle, check your egg and milk ratio. You may need more eggs to make itore of a souffle and less milk or cream. Some years we bake it with foil on and it might change the bake time a little, but an extra hour seems way off.


Sandrine December 22, 2011 at 8:28 am

I will try your recipe for our Christmas morning breakfast, will try it uncovered when baking it. Can’t wait to try it. The failed recipe, 10 people were waiting hungrily for an hour late breakfast.
Appreciate your tip.



Tiffany December 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm

delicious holiday foods here and i love the “non-traditional” tradition memories! my family is rooted in tradition and the holidays are such a special time to really ring them all in! merry Christmas heidi!


SEAS December 21, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Looks really good!


JoAnn Parrish December 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm

These recipes are all perfect for a cozy Christmas morning brunch! Thank you!


Holly December 22, 2011 at 8:10 am

Yum! My mouth is watering… Merry Christmas to you!


Sherice December 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

Ah, another favorite! I am so grateful to be an addition to your wonderful family~ and this breakfast dish is to die for! Happy Christmas to you and yours~ xo


Danielle December 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

We make a Peach Baked French Toast for Christmas only! I had to clarify for my daughter that I was going to make it but wanted to ADD another dish for our growing family. We’ve also started a Father’s Day breakfast that isn’t allowed to change either!


Whatever DeeDee Wants December 24, 2011 at 8:31 am

Baked french toast is my fave! I can’t wait to try out the ham and cheese souffle casserole.


Deborah December 28, 2011 at 8:05 am

I am in charge of breakfast one day at my family’s cabin getaway in a few days, and I’ve been trying to narrow down what I’m going to make. Any of these would be great for a crowd!!


Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious December 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm

So at the next conference, can you please go over how you take such perfect casserole pictures?! Each layer is so distinct, and so gorgeous.


ibe May 13, 2013 at 9:38 am

Ham and Cheese Souffle Casserole
This might sound dumb but I have to ask. Where/how do you get ground ham? Grind ham steak or thin sliced deli slices like for sandwiches? Thank you


Sarah November 4, 2013 at 6:53 pm

I was wondering the exact same thing about the ham. Does it come in a can or do you get it from the deli counter? Can you just use cubed ham?


Susan December 8, 2013 at 11:03 am

Lol, I read every single comment in this thread looking for the same answer! Perhaps she is using Spam? That is the only “ground ham” I can think of. Thanks!


Christena Umsted April 15, 2014 at 9:14 am

Grind leftover baked ham or ham steak in your blender.


Motivational app September 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Hey there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?

I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having
problems finding one? Thanks a lot!


Sue December 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm

This will be easy to skinnysize. Ground canadian bacon, 1% cheese and part egg substitute. Eh gads I hate dieting but it’s my own fault for enjoying these wonderful types of things too much for too long-LOL


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