If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then why not make it extra special during the holidays? Many of our Regions family had wonderful breakfast recipes to share, and even sweeter memories behind them.
For example, when Madison Kemper makes her Cinnamon Rolls, her mind travels back to when she was so small, she needed to stand on a kitchen chair to help her Mimi drop dollops of butter on the dough. (That recipe originates with her great-great-grandmother!) “It’s a bunch of buttery, fluffy buns of goodness,” she says.
Elizabeth George went in search of the Mocha Espresso Con Panna recipe she remembers tasting when her family traveled to Switzerland and, after some trial and error, came up with the decadent Mocha Espresso con Panna and Homemade Whipped Cream recipe. “It’s a perfect drink for a cold winter night, special occasion or lazy Sunday morning,” she says.
Then there’s Melanie Morgan’s Tomato Grits, which she calls a “modified Southern staple.” It’s praised by her non-grit-loving husband (crazy, right?) and her tomato-loving father. As for Kim Justice’s Hash Brown Casserole, she has no choice but to make it several times a year. “When we have dinner at church or with the family, this is always requested,” she says. “If I bring something else or alter it, I get in big trouble.”
My husband likes it so much, I now make it for our Christmas breakfast. –Carla Rainey
- 1 pound pork sausage, fried and crumbled
- 4 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
- 4 cups hash browns
- 6 scrambled eggs, cooked
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- ½ cup milk
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon minced onion
Preheat over to 375. Grease 9X13-inch baking dish. Layer dish with potatoes and sausage followed by bacon and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together soup, milk, pepper, and onion. Pour over layered mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
Cinnamon Rolls (Hot Rolls)
This recipe was my great-great-grandmother’s, passed down to me by my Mimi, my maternal grandmother. She taught me how to make these cinnamon rolls when I was little. I was small enough to have to stand on a kitchen chair to reach the counter while she showed me how to knead the dough. In my late teens we learned that she had a brain tumor that was affecting her memory, but she still wanted to make her famous Cinnamon Rolls for the holidays. Because we made them from memory, I would make them when I came home from college for the holidays while she watched me. I eventually memorized the process, but asked her to write down the recipe while she still could. She passed suddenly a few years ago but I still make these every Christmas in her memory. They are also becoming a highly requested item at holiday gatherings and I have recently passed the recipe on to friends and coworkers. –Madison Kemper
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 2 packages instant dry yeast
- 2/3 cup shortening (Crisco, but also can use butter or margarine)
- 6 sticks of butter, cold
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 7 cups flour + more for rolling out dough
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 room temperature eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar + more for dough (can use white or brown, depends on preference
- Powdered Sugar (measure with your heart)
- ½ stick butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9×13 pan (can be glass or dark).
Put the lukewarm water in a large bowl. Dissolve yeast in water for 5 minutes, stir gently to dissolve all yeast. Add sugar, salt, eggs to yeast and stir until incorporated (we always just use our hands!). Once this is mixed, add flour one cup at a time, mixing gently to not overwork dough.
Sprinkle a handful of flour on flat surface such as a counter. Once dough is sticky, scrape from bowl and lay on floured, flat surface. Gently knead dough until no longer sticky (2-3 minutes).
Oil large bowl and transfer dough to bowl, cover with hand towel or foil or clear wrap and set bowl on back of preheating oven to rise. Leave dough until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Once doubled, remove from bowl and lay back on floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough in a rectangle shape about ½-inch thick.
Take cinnamon and sprinkle over dough, then take sugar and sprinkle over dough. Then thinly slice chilled butter/margarine into small pats and lay all over dough. (We typically use two sticks for this part.) Once dough is all dolled up, take a longer side and tuck and roll dough, stretching length as needed. You will have to tuck butter pats as they like to escape the roll!
Once rolled, cut log into 1-inch-thick slices and lay in greased pan. Rolls can be touching, but don’t overcrowd, we can usually fit three rolls across and four/five down. Lay one more pat of butter on each roll and sprinkle more cinnamon and sugar on the tops.
Put in oven for 25-35 minutes, until tops turn light brown and a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.
In a separate bowl, prepare icing by mixing together butter and vanilla. Add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached, should resemble pancake batter, we usually use half a bag or so. We like to put this icing on while rolls are still warm, but not hot, to let it get in all the cracks and crevices!
*It is also fun to swap the vanilla out for maple, orange or almond! I have also added pecans to the dough/icing before and that is super yummy!
Mocha Espresso con Panna
My mother used to make homemade whipped cream for special occasions, but I never liked it as a child. Her whipped topping tasted more like fluffy milk than the sweet topping that I would get out of a can. Over the years I started to appreciate the thick texture of her whipped cream, but it never seemed sweet enough. At first, I started to use twice the amount of sugar. It tasted better, but something was still missing. After years of using Mexican vanilla extract in my baked goods, I finally found a recipe that used vanilla as an ingredient. I tried the whipped cream recipe from The Food Network and never went back!
I came up with the Mocha Espresso Con Panna recipe from a childhood memory. When I was 3 years old my parents took my brother and me to Switzerland. My mother ordered my brother and me hot cocoa. It was a very thick chocolate mixture that was more of a sipping chocolate drink. My mother took a few spoonsful of it and put it in her coffee. This memory came back to me when I stumbled upon Trader Joe’s sipping chocolate. When I made it for myself, I found it to very rich and thick … almost too rich! It brought me back to the stories that my mother shared with me in Switzerland.
“I wonder,” I thought to myself as I put a spoonful of the sipping chocolate in my coffee. The coffee tasted very rich with the chocolate. It was good, but I knew it could be better. I whipped up some cream from my refrigerator and spooned it on top of the coffee. I love how the whipped cream slowly melts into the coffee to create the perfect balance where the bitterness of the coffee, richness and the chocolate, and sweetness of the whipped cream live in harmony. –Elizabeth George
- 1 cup espresso or coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon Trader Joe’s Sipping Chocolate
- 2 dollops of Homemade Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
- Optional: shaved chocolate
Pour a small amount of coffee in cup.
Whisk in ½ teaspoon of sipping chocolate
Top off with coffee, leaving room for whipped cream (About an inch from rim)
Add two spoonsful of whipped cream.
For extra credit: dust sipping chocolate on top of Homemade Whipped Cream (recipe follows) or sprinkle with shaved chocolate
Homemade Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Chill mixer bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer or refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
Once bowl is cold, combine sugar and cream in a bowl. Whip mixture on high setting.
After sugar has dissolved stop mixer and add vanilla extract.
Continue whipping mixture on high until whipped cream is thick.
Enjoy with your favorite pie, cake, ice cream dessert, or on Mocha Espresso con Panna.
Hash Brown Casserole
When we have dinner at church or with the family, this is always requested. If I bring something else, or alter it, I get in big time trouble! –Kim L. Justice
- 1 bag frozen shredded hash browns
- 1 stick butter, sliced (divided)
- 1 can of cream of potato soup
- 1 8-ounce container sour cream
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I prefer Sargento)
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
Preheat oven to 360. Combine onion with two tablespoons butter and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir, microwave 2 more minute. Set aside.
In large bowl mix all ingredients together, leave out ¼ bag of cheese for later. Pour into a 9X13-inch pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir. Then add remaining shredded cheese on top and bake 30 more minutes. If you like brown on top, broil for a couple mins.
* You can add chopped ham, powdered ranch dressing, salsa, cooked ground sausage, or other veggies based on your meal & mood. Just cook in with it!
This Tomato Grits recipe came to me a few years ago from a longtime friend – a bridesmaid in my wedding 30 years ago. It is a favorite for brunch in our family. It is a great side to a breakfast casserole. People (like my husband) who don’t really like grits (crazy, right?) love it. My Dad, who loves tomatoes in any form, requests it. My new daughter-in-law loves grits so I get requests to make it more often than the holidays now. We have added cooked shrimp for modified shrimp and grits, and we will also add cooked Conecuh sausage for dinner on a cold night. It even tastes “pretty good” when your Rotel with Green Chiles turns in to Rotel Chili Mixings on the way home from the store (yikes!). It’s easy and versatile and if there are any leftovers it’s good warmed up the next day. By some weird miracle they don’t turn into grits “plaster!” –Melanie Morgan
- 1¼ cups milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup quick cooking grits
- 1 stick of butter + 1 tablespoon of butter
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 10-ounce can Rotel with Green Chilies, mild or medium
Mix water and milk and bring to boil in a large pot. Add salt, slowly stir in grits and return to a boil stirring constantly for one minute. Reduce heat, cover and cook for three minutes. Add the stick of butter and stir until melted. Cover and cook until thick and creamy. Remove from heat. Set aside. (If grits are too thick, add a little extra milk.)
Melt one tablespoon of butter in a small skillet. Add onions and sauté one minute. Stir into the grit mixture. Add tomatoes, garlic powder and cheese to the grits. Stir until the cheese is melted. Put in crockpot on high until hot then turn to low to keep warm. Serves 8.