Celebrate Christmas morning with the ultimate Canadian breakfast casserole. Christmas Morning Wife Saver is made with layers of bread, ham, cheese and topped with an egg, milk and veggie mixture, and cereal topping. Make it the night before, pop it in the oven in the morning and serve with a fruit salad or holiday panettone.
The Holiday Season is more than adventuring the mall, knocking gifts off a list and opening perfectly wrapped presents under the tree. It’s a time where the magic of the season is honoured with traditions passed down through generations; special moments that we hold close, adding meaning to our celebrations.
For me and my family these traditions include Christmas morning brunch with tiny foods picked out by me and my sister including jalapeño poppers and mini quiches, and other traditions like my Dad’s pepper pot. And for Philip, his family holiday tradition comes by the little name of Christmas Morning Wife Saver.
Growing up with five siblings, Philip’s mom Patricia needed a Christmas morning dish that could feed a large group, was easy to prepare, and even easier to serve. Enter Christmas Morning Wife Saver courtesy of the Best of Bridge cookbook. A true wife or mom saver, Christmas Morning Wife Saver is a breakfast casserole made with layers of bread, ham, cheese, bread and topped with an egg, milk and veggie mixture, and a cereal topping.
Made the night before, soaked in the refrigerator overnight and popped in the oven for an hour, this Canadian classic was and still is the perfect Christmas morning meal to prepare for a family six children and guests served with fruit salad and holiday panettone.
Also known as a strata, Christmas Morning Wife Saver is rich and creamy, light and airy from the eggs, and cheesy and crispy from the corn cereal topping, almost like eating peameal bacon and french toast all at the same time. Putting a Chef Sous Chef spin on a 1980’s housewife secret, we passed on the traditional white bread of this dish for sourdough, swapped the ham for back bacon, added in jalapeños for flavour, skipped the “special” cereal for “real” corn cereal, and opted for an elevated duo of Canadian cheeses.
As part of our Cheese of the Month Club with Dairy Farmers of Canada, we swapped out the traditional cheddar for the two Canadian cheeses; the fruity taste of Boerenkaas from Comox Valley on Vancouver Island and the acidic and salty Baluchon cheese from Quebec. Two distinct cheeses from two distinct provinces elevates a rather basic pantry staple dish of bread, cheese, ham and cereal with notes of hazelnut, butter and clover; and what is a Lago family tradition has now been shared with me and my family served at our Christmas morning brunch alongside amaretti cookies, brussels sprout caesar salad, and chocolate rolls with cream cheese frosting.
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Christmas Morning Wife Saver
A Christmas Morning tradition in our household, Christmas Morning Wife Saver is a Canadian classic dish with peameal bacon and melty Canadian cheese layered between bread and soaked overnight in milk and eggs. We slightly altered the original recipe, created by Best of Bridge, adding jalapeños for additional spice and topped the casserole with honey cereal flakes to provide a sweet crunch.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
- Category: Food + Drink, Brunch, Main
- Cuisine: Canadian
- 90g Natural Pastures Boerenkaas Cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
- 90g Baluchon Organic Cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
- 12 large slices sourdough bread, crusts removed
- 8 slices peameal bacon
- 5 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and diced (about ¼ cup)
- ½ small onion, diced (about ¼ cup)
- 1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ tsp dry mustard
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 2 cups honey cereal flakes, crushed
No. 1 | Place 4 slices of bread on the based of a buttered 9” x 9” oven safe casserole dish. Use an additional 2 slices of bread to fill in any gaps in the base.
No. 2 | Layer the peameal bacon slices on top of the bread. Then sprinkle the grated cheese evenly on top of the bacon. Cover with the remaining bread to make a “casserole sandwich.”
No. 3 | In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, pepper, salt, jalapeño peppers, and onion. Pour the mixture over the entire casserole, cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight, or up to two days.
No. 4 | In the morning, preheat your oven to 350°. Pour the melted butter over the casserole then cover with the crushed cereal.
No. 5 | Bake, uncovered for 1 hour. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.