Healthy Holiday Brunch

— Written By and last updated by

Celebrate the Holiday season with a special leisurely brunch featuring classic and seasonal dishes. Pick the perfect recipes to share with your family and friends. Most of these have been made lighter, and any feature a local favorite, sweet potatoes! Enjoy!

Mushroom, Bacon and Swiss Breakfast Bake
12 ounces French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 7 cups)
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped onion
2 (8-ounce) packages pre-sliced mushrooms
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese
8 center-cut bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 1/2 cups egg substitute
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
Thyme sprigs (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange bread in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until toasted. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until liquid evaporates and vegetables are tender. Add onion mixture to bread; toss well to combine. Arrange half of bread mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half of cheese and half of bacon; top with remaining bread mixture, cheese, and bacon.
Combine milk and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk. Pour milk mixture over bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°. Remove strata from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.
Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 313, Fat 10.4 g, Protein 21.7 g, Carbohydrate 35.5 g,
Fiber 2.7 g, Cholesterol 25 mg, Sodium 737 mg, Calcium 318 mg.

Italian Brunch Casserole
1 ¼ pounds mild or hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 (14-ounce) cans diced no-salt-added tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano, drained
3 cups fat-free seasoned croutons
5 egg whites
2 eggs
1 ½ cups 2% reduced-fat milk
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups shredded part skim, low-fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Crumble sausage and place in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until no longer pink, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Add bell pepper and onion; cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms, garlic and oregano; cook until mushrooms are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in croutons; mix well. Spread sausage mixture in pan.

Combine egg whites, eggs, milk and black pepper. Whisk until well blended and pour evenly over sausage mixture. Sprinkle evenly with cheese.

Loosely cover with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Serves 10, each serving contains: Calories 240, Fat 11 g., Cholesterol 85 mg., Carbohydrates 14 g., Fiber 1 g., Protein 20 g.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Hot Dish
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. hot paprika
Cooking spray
8 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 ounces reduced-fat white cheddar cheese, grated (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 pound turkey or chicken breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss sweet potatoes and onion with oil and Aleppo pepper; spread into an even layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until tender.
Place potatoes and onions in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and black pepper. Pour egg mixture over potato mixture; fold in cheese and sausage. Coat a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray; pour in egg mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until set and browned on top. Cool slightly before serving. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon yogurt.
Serves 8, each serving contains; Calories 340, Fat 19.9 g, Protein 18 g, Carbohydrate 23 g,
Fiber 3 g, Cholesterol 241 mg, Iron 2 mg Sodium 626 mg, Calcium 197 mg, Sugars 7 g.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
¼ c. sweet white onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves [minced]
1½ Tbsp. olive oil
¼ c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
olive oil for frying

Wash and peel sweet potatoes, then shred them, (you can spiralize and chop). Using a colander, rinse the sweet potatoes until the water runs mostly clear. Squeeze the rinsed potatoes to remove excess water and empty them into a medium bowl.

Add onion, flour, garlic, salt, pepper, and 1½ tablespoons of olive oil to the sweet potatoes and mix everything well. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a cast iron or regular skillet and heat on medium-high. Test the pan by tossing in a couple of sweet potato shreds — if it crackles, the pan is ready. Use a ¼ cup to measure the sweet potato into the pan and then use a spatula to flatten them out.

Cook for 3 minutes, then flip and cook for 2 more. You may need to vary the cooking time depending on your skillet and stove. Golden to medium brown and crispy is what you’re going for. As you finish the patties, remove them from the skillet and allow them to cool for a few minutes on a paper towel-lined plate.

Healthy Stuffed French Toast
Eight slices of bread
8 ripe strawberries, thinly sliced
2 medium bananas, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
1 cup nondairy milk like soy or almond
¼ cup whole wheat flour (or all purpose)
1 tbsp. chia seeds, powdered in a food processor or spice grinder
1 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup walnuts, crushed to a fairly fine consistency. Some bigger pieces are okay.
Oil spray to coat the pan

Make the eggless wash by whisking together in a shallow dish the nondairy milk, powdered chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and flour.

Spread some peanut butter on one side of each slice. Then arrange the sliced strawberries and bananas on the buttered side. Place the second side, buttered side down, on top and press down firmly.

Dredge the stuffed toast in the eggless wash, coating the top and bottom sides thoroughly. Then dredge it in the powdered walnuts.

Heat a cast-iron or nonstick griddle or skillet and spray with oil. Place the French Toast on the griddle and toast each side until it’s golden-brown. This should take 3-4 minutes per side on medium heat. Serve hot. Serves 8.

 Muffins
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 medium ripe bananas (or 1 cup mashed)
2 large eggs
2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned or quick)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips, mini or regular
Preheat oven to 400F and prepare a muffin pan by spraying the cavities with cooking spray or lining them with paper liners. Set aside.
Add all the ingredients except for the chocolate chips to a blender or food processor and process on high until the oats are broken down and batter is smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
Pour batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each cavity until it is about 3/4 full. Optional: sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the top of each muffin.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops of your muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for ~10 minutes before removing. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week. Yields 12 muffins.
Low Fat Oatmeal Banana Apple Breakfast Muffins
1½ cups large rolled oats
1 cup 60% whole wheat flour ( you can use all-purpose flour if you prefer)
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 eggs
4 tbsp. vegetable oil
6 tbsp. sugar
⅔ cup milk
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 cup grated unpeeled apple (approximately one large apple)

Mix together the oatmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. Beat together the eggs. oil and sugar until fluffy. Blend in the milk.

Fold in the dry ingredients and when the flour is almost incorporated fold in the mashed banana and grated apple. Do not over mix. Fold in only until the fruit is mixed through the batter.
Spoon into greased or paper lined muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Best served warm. Yields 10-12.