Tis the season to entertain! It's actually one of my favorite things to do, yet seeing that this month lands in my busiest season for Anchored Press, I'm usually not spending too much time in the kitchen. I tend to "go-to" the same recipes over and over again, much like every week of the year. I have to say though there is something about "go-to" recipes, they are tried and true and fool proof after you've made them over and over again, for several years. I wanted to reach out to this sweet community and share a few of your "go-to" recipes alongside my own, in case you are in a little "go-to" rut and want to mix it up this Christmas. 

I host Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brunch in my house. Our favorite Christmas Eve meal is my mother-in-law's Stuffed Meatloaf. I hope I didn't lose you at meatloaf. I'm actually not a meatloaf lover at all and might even go out on a limb and say, I hate meatloaf, but this one is different! I also eat very little red meat, so I often substitute this recipe with ground turkey. As far as Christmas brunch goes, I cook two egg casseroles and my husband makes his great Aunt's Coffee Cake (the entire family goes crazy over this one). 

We received so many great recipes from all of you, yet decided not to overwhelm you and chose one more dinner recipe and an additional breakfast recipe to share. My meatloaf recipe is not an easy one, so we chose a little easier dinner recipe and gave you a more unique option for brunch. We are sharing Jenny Madison's Meaty Baked Ziti and Bonnie McCawley's Creme Brulee French Toast! Both Jenny and Bonnie will receive a 2018 Anchored Press Devotional Planner of their choice. Congrats ladies and thank you for sharing your "go-to" Christmas recipes with us!

Jenny Madison's Meaty Baked Ziti
1 lb. Fresh Italian Sausage
1 lb. ziti, penne (uncooked)
1 bunch fresh basil (chopped)
1 small sweet yellow onion (diced)
1 24 oz. Prego Meat Flavored Sauce
1 14.5 ounce Hunt's Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic & Oregano
1 8 oz. Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese (cubed)
1 8 oz. KRAFT Mozzarella Shredded Cheese w/ Philadelphia

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In an extra large pot: add sauce, chopped basil, tomatoes (with juice) and cream cheese; cook on medium low heat approx. 10 min. or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring occasionally. Fold in the noodles & sausage once they're done; mix well. (May need to use a mixing bowl if your pot is small)

Brown Italian sausage with chopped onions, drain & add to sauce.

Cook pasta in large saucepan as directed on package & drain. Add warm noodles to your sauce if the cream cheese has fully melted.

Meanwhile grate Parmesan & combine in a bowl with Mozzarella (to save on dishes, grate parmesan into the bag); set aside.

Pour ½ of the pasta mixture into a 13 X 9 pan & sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Add remaining pasta mixture & cover with remaining cheese.

Bake 20 to 30 min. or until cheese is slightly browned & fully melted. Serve with side salad and enjoy!

Deana's (well really, my mother-in-law, Sandy Uhrig's)

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Medium Red Onion, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
8 oz. Mushrooms, chopped
1 ¾ Cups Fresh Sourdough Breadcrumbs (2 to 3 slices or buy already crumbed)
1 ½ Pounds Lean Ground Beef (or substitute for Turkey)
¾ Pound Mild (or sweet) Italian Sausage, casings removed
2 Large Eggs
1/3 Cup Fresh Parsley, minced
¾ Cup Parmesan, finely grated
1 teaspoon minced Thyme (optional in my opinion)
Ground black pepper and salt to taste

Filling (also in order of assembly):
            3 ounces sliced Proscuitto
            ½ pound sliced Havarti Cheese
            1 ¼ Cup fresh Basil Leaves, shredded
            1/3 cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes, drained and chopped
Heat butter and oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook on medium-high heat
until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms; cook until
mushrooms are softened and liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and
pepper. Set aside to cool at room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine crumbs, mushroom mixture, beef, sausage, eggs,
parsley, parmesan cheese, thyme, pepper and salt. Mix well (with hands).
On a large sheet of waxed paper, pat meat mixture into a 10 by 15 inch rectangle
(or long enough to fit your baking sheet, and use one that will not let drippings
fall into oven). Distribute filling to cover meat, leaving an inch on each side so
that when you roll it you can pinch the “seam” together. Using the wax paper to
help roll the meat, lift the long end nearest you over the filling and slowly roll
meat to form a cylinder. Pinch seams and pat (and patch if necessary).
Place a large jellyroll pan next to the roll, lengthwise. Using the wax paper to
help you scoot the pan under the log and roll it off (seam side down), removing all
the paper. Bake, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven for 65 minutes. Serves 8-10.

Bonnie McCawley's Creme Brulee French Toast
(from cooking.nytimes.com)

5 large eggs plus 2 yolks (or 6 whole eggs)
2 ¼ cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream (or use more milk)
3 tablespoons dark rum or orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 loaf challah bread, sliced 1 inch thick, preferably stale (about 1 pound)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


  1. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, rum, vanilla, nutmeg and salt. Spread bread out in 1 layer on a large rimmed baking sheet (about 11 by 17 inches). Pour custard over bread, cover with plastic wrap, and let soak in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Flip bread slices over once while they soak. This can be halfway through the soaking, or about an hour before baking, whichever is more convenient.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar and butter. Pour mixture onto another large rimmed baking sheet, using a spatula if necessary to spread into an even layer.
  3. Transfer soaked bread to sugared baking sheet, placing slices on top of the brown sugar mixture. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and sugar is bubbling.
  4. Serve immediately while still hot, with the crunchy brown sugar side up, spooning more of pan syrup over the top.

Deana's Tomato Basil Egg Casserole

I wish I could credit someone for this one, I got it from a brunch I attended many years ago and also note that a photo of this very festive dish is at the bottom of this post.

4 oz. butter
½ cup flour
10 eggs
1 cup milk
1 lb of jack cheese
3 oz cream cheese
2 cups cottage cheese
1 t salt
1 t sugar

4 Roma Tomatoes
½ bunch of Basil
1 cup parmasean cheese

Mix eggs and jack cheese, milk, butter, add dry ingredients (Flour/Salt/Sugar) in a large bowl. Melt Cottage cheese and Cream cheese together in microwave (or over stove), mix all ingredients together.

Cook in 13x9 casserole dish at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

YUM! Definitely not lowfat, however, I did use lowfat cream cheese and cottage cheese!

Deana's Sausage and Egg Casserole

This is actually a recipe I adapted from a Cooking Light cookbook right around the year we got married, in 2000!

1 pound of breakfast sausage (I use half maple sausage and half regular to give it a little sweetness)
3 cups (about 6 slices), cubed white bread
2 cups of milk
8-10 eggs (I usually do 8 eggs, 2 egg whites)
2 cups, shredded colby jack cheese
1-8 oz. can of diced green chiles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook sausage until browned and crumbled. I actually use the links and before I cook them, I slice them super small and then brown them. 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 


This is my husband's great aunt's recipe and a family favorite!

3 1/2 cups of flour
1 t of cream of tartar
2 cups of sugar
2 sticks of butter
2 eggs
1 cup of buttermilk
1 t of baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, cream of tartar, salt; add sugar, butter (do not melt the butter first) and mix like pie crust. Take out 1 cup of mixture and set aside for top of cake. Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to rest of mixture and eggs, buttermilk and baking soda. Mix well and pour into greased 9x13 inch casserole pan. Add the cup of mix to top of the cake and sprinkle more cinnamon, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

My husband is the one who makes this every year. And, do note, this if the ONLY thing he makes all year long. He has many gifts but one of them is not in the kitchen. So lighten your load, hand this recipe over to another family member and make them the hero on Christmas morning (other than Jesus, obviously)!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours (and Jenny and Bonnie's :-))

And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.