Christmas Treats + Menu

There are a few dishes I make every year for Christmas. I guess you could say they have become traditions for us now. Ever since our first married Christmas, I have been making these. Along with these casseroles comes all the cookies that the kids and I make. They love to bake with me now and even though it can be a little hectic with three young kids (5 years old, almost 3 years old, and 3 months old), I love it. Honestly, they like to crack the eggs, pour any and everything in, steal my chocolate, and lick the spoon the most.

Santa pictures 2020

For us, we will start having family gatherings on Wednesday so I don’t need a whole lot of meals for this week. I know that chili makes enough for us to eat on for a few days, so I am going to make that. The chili that I have is very good on the macros, so I won’t be overeating this week even with a serving or two of breakfast casserole. If we run out of chili we will have hamburgers. There is no sense in buying a bunch of food since we will be running around the majority of the week. White chicken chili is another great option if you want a low-calorie dish to balance out the treats.

Thomas (2 months)

I am going to link the casseroles that I love to make and a few other Christmas favorites, along with a new cookie recipe we are going to attempt. Anderson loves to leave out his Nanny and Nana’s Christmas cookies for Santa, but we still bake our own. I have never tried to make the pretty iced sugar cookies, maybe we will this week…but doubtful since I still need to decorate all the presents.

Scarlett (2 years old)

Baking is really my first love, but it isn’t great on the physique so I stick to macro cooking January – November. Once Thanksgiving, well really Halloween comes around “baking-season” begins around here. I keep the meals healthy, but the treats are plentiful. “Fluffy season” as Josh likes to refer to it, only comes around once a year. This doesn’t mean that I neglect cooking healthy meals. The meals I cook really help to balance out any treats that we have. Just because I have a cookie or four, doesn’t mean that I can’t track that and make it work. I notice that a lot of people give up completely and overeat instead of tracking and making their sweets work in their macros. The whole point of counting macros is to stay within those macros, which allows you to have the flexibility of eating a few cookies while maintaining your goals. It does not have to be one or the other. You can have the cake (guilt-free) if you track your food and plan for it.

Anderson (5 years old)

M E N U

Breakfast Casserole

Banana French Toast Casserole

Chocolate Christmas Crinkle Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jolly Santa Cookies


Breakfast Casserole

I have made two different casseroles every year for Christmas morning since Anderson was born. I guess you can say it is now a tradition for me. I started out making two different casseroles because I could not decide which one I wanted to make. They both sounded delicious and were both so different.

What I love is that I can put it all together the night before and throw it in the oven while we open gifts. It all smells amazing cooking and is ready to eat by the time we get through unwrapping and assembling all the toys.

It is super simple and so good! Obviously, I am not counting my macros Christmas day, so don’t look for any adjustments to these recipes. Just enjoy!

Ingredients:  
1/2 – 1 pound sausage
1 package crescent rolls
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 Tsp oregano or rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper 

Banana French Toast Casserole

This is the second casserole I make for Christmas morning. It is completely opposite of the breakfast casserole but man it is so good. It takes a lot more prework than the breakfast casserole but is worth the time and effort. It doesn’t really need any extra toppings like syrup or whipped cream, ut is plenty sweet on its own.

These casseroles are both large enough to take to a family gathering or to eat for several days. I would cut the ingredients in half if you are just planning on a few people eating on it for one day. You will throw away more than you want to if not.

Ingredients:
Brown sugar banana filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar packed
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
pinch salt
3 ripe-firm bananas peeled and sliced
French toast:
8 large eggs
1 cup milk preferably whole or 2%
*non fat milk
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
One 15 oz loaf French bread cut into large cubes (preferably a day or two old)
Topping:
1/3 cup light brown sugar packed
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
To serve: maple syrup, caramel sauce, sliced bananas, chopped nuts, and/or whipped cream
*omit toppings

Chocolate Christmas Crinkle Cookies

I am a chocolate lover, especially dark chocolate. I could eat these year round, every day. They are great without any sprinkles and can be for Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St. Patricks Day…the holidays are endless, just change your color of sprinkles or no sprinkles. These cookies remind me of a brownie cookie if you don’t let them overcook. I like to make sure my edges are crisp but the center stays soft.

Ingredients: 
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted to remove lumps
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup butter, softened
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Christmas sprinkles, to decorate 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

THESE have been my go-to cookies for the past few years anytime I need to bake a batch for someone or for Anderson and Scarlett’s class parties. I stumbled upon these because Josh LOVES the Double-Tree chocolate chip cookies. There was a bad storm coming one year and we were expected to be without power for a long time. Who doesn’t want cookies when you know the power is going to be out for a long time?

Every now and then you can find copycat recipes online or the exact recipe to some chain restaurants, stores, etc. and this is the one I picked to try out. It’s not exactly like the Double-Tree cookies, but it sure is close and we love them! The only thing I leave out is the walnuts.

Ingredietns:
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter (two sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 large eggs
3 cups semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips (you can use regular-sized chocolate chips instead)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 
*omit walnuts

Jolly Santa Cookies

These cookies are new for me and might just be one big Pinterest fail, the super cute things usually are. I have got to give these a try though, they just look so fun and I know the kids will love trying to put a few together. If it is a flop, at least it’ll be a good memory and give the kids something to do.

Ingredients:
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-2 teaspoons red food coloring
mini chocolate chips (for eyes and buttons)
mini holiday M + M s (for Santa's nose)
CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powder sugar

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