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Take the effort out of holiday brunches

This time of the year, brunches are popular holiday menu choices.

It's convenient to have a stash of recipes that can be tossed together quickly making the meal look like a truly gourmet effort, when in essence producing it was actually an extremely easy affair.

Start out with a basic egg dish accented by your favorite ingredients. Pair it was deliciously gooey Monkey Bread or make-ahead overnight coffee cake; and round it out with a big pitcher of chilled orange juice, or even better yet, a creamy fruit salad and you have everything you need to please a small group or a crowd. You'll just have to make sure to adjust size and amounts so you don't stand the chance of running short.

The following three egg bakes are sure to be hits with any guests' tastes. The Cheesy O'Brien Egg Scramble is a snap to prepare. It's perfect for a brunch buffet or when out-of-town guests stay the night. Full of bacon, cheese, hash browns and eggs, the all-in-one-dish is a hearty crowd pleaser.

Guaranteed to disappear quickly, the Ham and Egg Pizza is fun to prepare when children are part of your brunch audience.

The Easy Egg Dish is also very simple and good, and one featured in the West Fargo Community Presbyterian 2006 Cookbook. I prepared this for guests over the weekend and it was excellent. I didn't add meat to the recipe because I served ham slices on the side.

The Egg and Hash Brown Recipe is equally as good, and a little more filling with the hash browns mixed right in.

The Embden Centennial Cookbook, published in 2000, has been an excellent source of recipes for me and one that I turn to often when I'm looking for excellent, down-home recipes, including the Monkey Bread and the Overnight Coffee Cake.

The Fruit Salad is also quick and awesome and can be prepared at the drop of a dime because the recipe calls for canned fruit. Cream cheese and yogurt are combined in a light dressing that coats this delicious fruit medley, with the miniature marshmallows adding the right touch of sweetness.

Serve a combination of any of these to your brunch crowd and you'll have them clamoring for more.

Until next time, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking!

Cheesy O'Brien Egg Scramble

1 package (28 ounces) frozen O'Brien hash brown potatoes

½ tsp. garlic salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 can (10 ¾ ounces) condensed Cheddar cheese soup, undiluted

1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled

12 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp. butter

2 cups (8 ozs.) shredded Cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, prepare hash browns according to package directions. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Transfer to a greased 2 ½ quart baking dish. Top with soup. Set aside half the bacon, sprinkle remaining bacon over the soup.

In another skillet scramble the eggs in butter until nearly set. Spoon over bacon. Sprinkle with cheese and reserved bacon. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until cheese is melted. Yield 10 servings.

Ham and Egg Pizza

1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls

3 eggs

2 tbsp. milk

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 cups fine chopped, fully cooked ham

1 cup frozen shredded hash brown potatoes

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Unroll crescent roll dough and place on ungreased 12-inch pizza pan. Press onto bottom and ¼ inch up the sides, sealing seams and perforations. Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, beat eggs, milk and pepper. Sprinkle ham, hash browns, and Cheddar cheese over crust. Carefully pour egg mixture over cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until eggs are completely set. Serves 8.

Easy Egg Bake

2 tbsp. butter (melted in 9x13 inch pan)

1 ½ dozen eggs

1 cup sour cream

1 cup milk

½ cup green onion, chopped fine

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup Cheddar cheese

½ cup cubed ham, bacon or sausage optional

Melt butter in 9x13 pan. Whisk eggs. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until set and knife inserted in middle comes out clean. Serves eight or ten.

Egg and Hash Brown Casserole

6 eggs, well beaten

1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

1 pkg. (30 oz.) frozen shredded hash brown potatoes

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 medium onion, chopped fine

1 small green pepper, chopped fine

1 cup diced ham, or any other kind of meat (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9 inch baking dish. Beat eggs in large bowl until well blended. Stir in milk, salt and pepper. Add potatoes, cheese, onion, bell pepper and ham. Mix well. Pour into dish and bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until set. Serves ten easily.

Fruit Salad

1 can mandarin oranges, drained

1 can (8 ¼ ounces) sliced peaches, drained

1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks, drained

1 cup miniature marshmallows

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup plain yogurt

¼ cup sugar

In a bowl, combine fruit and marshmallows. In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, yogurt and sugar until smooth; pour over fruit and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. 4 servings.

Monkey Bread

3 pkgs. Buttermilk refrigerator biscuits

Cut each circle into four pieces. Put in greased 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle over ¼ cup white sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon mixed together.

Melt in microwave:

½ cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup butter or margarine

½ cup vanilla ice cream

Pour above mixture over and bake 20-30 minutes in 350 degree oven. Tip pan over on tin foil right after they are baked.

Overnight Coffee Cake


¾ cup white sugar

2/3 cup margarine

2 cups flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking powder

½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. soda

1 cup buttermilk


¼ cup brown sugar

½ cup nuts

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

Cream sugars and margarine in bowl. Add eggs and beat. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add to the sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 inch pan. Mix together the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle over batter. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.