Christmas morning is most meaningful when family traditions are observed.

Some families say a special blessing. Others remember seasons past or significant events of the year. Some toast the holiday with champagne or sparkling cider. Your family may have a Christmas tradition all its own. Whatever it is, bring out the crystal, spread the table with food — and celebrate! Merry Christmas!

Southern Gentleman’s Breakfast Casserole

4 English muffins, halved
1 pound sausage, cooked and drained
3 eggs
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1-1/2 cups milk
1-1/4 cup (5 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese, divided

Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with halved English muffins. Add sausage. Mix eggs,
soup, and milk together with one cup of the cheese and pour over sausage. Sprinkle
with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. Cover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for
20 minutes or until warmed through. Serves 8.

Brown Sugar Bacon

1 pound sliced bacon, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat each bacon slice in brown sugar, coating well. Place
individual slices on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until bacon is
cooked. Remove bacon and drain on baking racks. Do not drain on paper towels.
Bacon will become crispy as it cools. Serves 4 to 6.

Baked Pecan French Toast with Orange Syrup

For the Orange Syrup:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate (1/2 of a 6-ounce can)

Combine all ingredients; cook and stir over low heat until butter melts. Do not boil.
Remove from heat and cool slightly. Whisk until slightly thickened. Serve warm.

For the French Toast:
4 eggs
2/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 (1/2-inch thick ) slices French bread
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Beat eggs, juice, milk, sugar, vanilla, and nutmeg until combined. In a 9×13-inch baking
dish, arrange bread in a single layer. Pour egg mixture over bread. Cover and
refrigerate 2 to 24 hours. Pour melted butter in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread butter
over bottom. Place bread slices in a single layer on top of melted butter. Bake for 20
minutes. Sprinkle with pecans and bake an additional 10 minutes until nuts are toasted
and toast is golden. Serve with Orange Syrup. Serves 6.

Palmetto Cheese Grits

4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking grits
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 large eggs, slightly beaten

Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan; stir in grits. Return to a boil. Cover,
reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add
cheese and next 4 ingredients; stirring until cheese and butter melt. Add eggs; stir well.
Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole; sprinkle with paprika. Bake,
uncovered, at 350* for 1 hour or until thoroughly heated and lightly browned. Let
stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Maple Coffee

3 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup maple syrup
4 cups freshly brewed coffee
Sweetened whipped cream

Combine half-and-half and syrup in saucepan over medium heat; stirring constantly,
until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Stir in coffee; serve with sweetened whipped
cream. Serves 8.

The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of the cookbook, Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi’s website address is She may be reached at 525-0350 or by email at