I know, I know. This holiday is already all about food, and you’re going to gorge yourself on turkey anyway – who needs breakfast?
You do. Everyone does. Bad decisions happen when you skip breakfast, and the last thing you need is a dozen allegedly helpful family members trying to hurry your holiday dinner along because they’re peckish (or two dozen iffy doughnuts and less money in your pocket). Dinner is never on time, whether it’s the twenty-minute search for the gravy boat or the belated realization that 15 minutes per pound is only a suggestion. Whatever the reason, you’ll save your self some headaches by providing a food diversion for your guests while you focus on the main event. Here are a few of our tried-and-true “Get the hell out of the kitchen or no turkey for you” recipes:
Make-Ahead Blueberry Muffins
My mom’s recipe card lets the cat out of the bag – this “Old Family Recipe” comes from McCall’s Magazine, August 1976. Whip these up right before bed tonight, then put them in the oven in the morning and pretend you’ve been up for hours. Then demand a foot rub.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 milk
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Cream butter together with sugar, eggs, and vanilla at high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. At low speed, add flour, salt, and baking powder alternately with milk. Beat just until smooth, then fold in blueberries. Line muffin cups or grease them well and fill cups 2/3 full. In the morning: Preheat oven to 350° and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes about 18 muffins.
Wendy and I each have a scone recipe – scones are wonderful breakfast when you’re busy because they reward lazy baking – the dough should be barely combined, with chunks of butter poking out all over. Overmixed scones are flat and dry, so don’t be a hero; as soon as the dough sticks together to form a ball stop mixing and throw them in the oven.
Cinnamon Raisin Scones
I like this recipe because Scooter looooves raisins, and I can whip it up in less than ten minutes with the help of my trusty Cuisinart. I stockpile butter when it’s on sale, so I almost always have some frozen already, but if I don’t I put it in the freezer for an hour before I make these. The frozen butter holds its shape better and makes lighter, fluffier scones.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
- 1 cup raisins or other dried fruit
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 400°. Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor equipped with a cutting blade and pulse them a few times to mix them. Cut the frozen butter into several pieces and scatter them on top of the dry ingredients. Pulse the ingredients a few more times until the big pieces are gone – the mixture should look a little coarse. Add the raisins, sour cream, and egg and pulse just until the mixture forms a ball. Dump the dough onto a very lightly floured surface and press into a circle about an inch thick. Sprinkle the top of the circle with sugar, then cut it into eight wedges and place them an inch or so apart on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
If you bake pumpkin pie using canned pumpkin puree, you’re probably familiar with the quandary of what to do with the rest of that can you had to open for that additional half-cup of pumpkin. Other than hurriedly throwing some plastic wrap over the open can and discovering its completely desiccated remains a month later and feeling ashamed that a perfectly good cup of pumpkin went to waste. Again.
This recipe comes from my friend Ruth’s high school home ec textbook, Day to Day Cookery. Ruth is from Australia, where pumpkin scones are apparently a national institution, though canned pumpkin puree is not readily available there. I salute the dedication of Australian pumpkin scone-making cooks while I simultaneously celebrate the end of wasted pumpkin in my kitchen!
These scones are softer and more biscuit-like than scones I’ve had before, and could even stand in for dinner rolls if left unglazed.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup mashed/canned pureed pumpkin
- 2 cups self-rising flour OR 2 cups all-purpose flour plus 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt, plus flour for kneading surface
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup milk, plus additional milk to brush tops before baking
Preheat the oven to 425°. Cream butter and sugar using a pastry cutter or fork. Add the egg and beat well. Add the pumpkin and mix well. Sift together the flour and salt (or flour, salt, and baking powder if using self-rising flour) and add alternately with the milk, mixing thoroughly after each addition. The dough will be moist and sticky. Turn it out on a generously floured surface – I’ve used a parchment-lined baking sheet with success – and knead lightly a few times until it is not quite so tacky. Roll or pat the dough out to 1″ thickness, move it to your baking pan (either lined with parchment or lightly floured) and score or cut the scones into squares, rectangles, or whatever rhomboidesque shape may strike your fancy. The sides of the dough should touch during baking, so don’t worry about separating your handiwork. Brush the tops with milk and bake for 12-15 minutes. Wrap in a tea towel to cool. If you like, glaze them when cool with the glaze of your choice. Store in an airtight container overnight.
Universal Walkable Breakfast
If you need something savory and portable that can double as a light lunch, choose something from column A and as many things as you like from columns B and C. Many – if not all – of these combinations can be made in advance, wrapped in foil, refrigerated overnight, and reheated (still wrapped) in a warm oven the next morning. If you’re a parade-goer, throw an assortment of these in an insulated bag and you won’t regret it as you save some cash and avoid the inevitable lines for pre-parade food – if anyone is even open to serve breakfast.
|A: Wrappers||B: Fillings||C: Etcetera|
Seven Layer Dip
Want a savory snack that doesn’t even need a recipe? Whip up a seven layer dip! In a large bowl, layer the following:
- chopped lettuce (iceburg is fine)
- refried beans
- sliced olives
- shredded cheddar cheese
- sour cream
You can leave this as is, or garnish it with more shredded cheese and olives and some sliced tomatoes. Set it next to a big bowl of tortilla chips and you’re done! No cooking required.
And when everyone’s gone home and you’re staring at the what’s left of your turkey, wondering what to do with the leftovers – put them in the fridge and leave them alone. Monday’s post is all about how to deal with turkey leftovers and turkey fatigue.