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  • Chef Marissa Menth

Christmas Brunch

CHRISTMAS BRUNCH (full episode)

Christmas is a very special time of the year, filled with family memories, decadent meals and celebration. This year let’s keep Christmas Day simple yet whimsical with a Make-ahead Brunch! Include your family and friends by rounding out your menu, by having them bring their favorite dish. Here are some of our sweet and savory recipes that will be sure to “WOW” your guests Keeping you out of the kitchen and with your guests on Christmas Day. At-home Brunch adds the bonus of being able to stay cozy in your jammies at home with your loved ones.


This easy to prepare Italian Strata will save you time in the kitchen on Christmas Day! You can make it the day before and allow to soak overnight and it is ready to bake at your convenience. It is sure to please all your guests who are protein lovers! The strata can also be prepared as a vegetarian option if preferred. I like to think of this recipe as a template, versatile and interchangeable, cater to your palettes desire.

Italian Strata

Prep: 30 min. Inactive: Soak overnight Cook: 350F 55 min.

Yield: 10 servings


1/2 cup Sund Dried Tomatoes, julienned

24 oz. Bacon, cooked and chopped

2 cups Ham, cooked and diced

2 cups Italian Sausage, cooked and diced

1/4 cup Olive Oil

1 lb. Spinach, cooked and chopped

1 bunch Lacinato Kale, cooked and chopped

1 lb. Button Mushrooms, sliced and cooked

1 lb. Crimini Mushrooms, sliced and cooked

4 cloves Garlic, minced

2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated

2 cups White Cheddar cheese, grated

12 Eggs

4 cups Heavy Cream

10 Croissants, sliced in half

Salt & Pepper to taste

8 tbsp. Butter, softened


1. Heat 2 tbsp. Oil in a saute pan, add chopped kale and spinach. Cook down until wilted about 3-5 minutes, then add 1 clove minced garlic, steam for 1 minute, the set aside to cool

2. Heat 2 tbsp. Oil in a saute pan, add button and crimini mushrooms, add 1 clove of minced garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water, cover and steam for 5-7 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook until liquid is evaporated. Set aside and let cool.

3. Rehydrate Sun-dried tomatoes by boiling 2 cups of water and cover the tomatoes with water for 5-10 minutes, until tomatoes are softened. Drain water and set aside to cool.

4. Dice cooked bacon, ham, and Italian sausages. Grate cheddar and gruyere cheese. Slice croissants in half lengthwise. Crack eggs in a bowl and whisk together with heavy cream, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

5. Begin assembling strata:

   Grease a 4 qt. Glass baking dish, place two pieces of

   croissants in a baking dish, sprinkle bacon, ham, sausage,

   cheddar cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach and

   kale, and Gruyere cheese. Repeat layering croissants and


6. Pour egg and cream mixture evenly over the strata. Chill

   strata overnight

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

8. Bake strata uncovered until golden brown, internal

   temperature of 155 degrees F, about 45 minutes. Let sit for

   10 minutes before serving.


This Winter Citrus salad only requires minimal time prepping and is a fabulous no cook addition to your menu. Citrus is in season beginning in October, which is a fresh and refreshing option for winter recipes. I also suggest substituting blood oranges or pomelos for the citrus if they are available in your area. Making the dressing ahead and doing the prep the day before makes this salad an easy throw together side dish for Christmas or any gathering.

Winter Citrus Salad

Prep: 20 minutes Yield: 10 servings


1 head Butter lettuce

1 head Radicchio, cored and chopped bite-size pieces

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped bite-size pieces

2 Grapefruits, peeled and segmented, reserve juice

2 Valencia Oranges, peeled and segmented, reserve juice

1/2 cup Pomegranate Seeds

6 oz. Goat Cheese, crumbled

4 oz. Micro Greens

4 oz. Chives, cut in thirds

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1 cup Pomegranate Juice

1/3 cup Olive Oil

2 tsp. Dijon Mustard

1 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Wash all lettuces, set aside a couple leaves of butter lettuce for garnish. Chop romaine and butter lettuce and mix together.

2. Cut radicchio head in half, remove core and chop into bite-sized pieces.

3. Peel and segment grapefruit and oranges, reserving liquid for Winter Sangria.

4. Place all ingredients for Pomegranate vinaigrette in mason

   Jar and shake vigorously until well incorporated.

5. Assemble salad:

   Place butter lettuce leaves for garnish inside a large

   platter. Toss greens with pomegranate vinaigrette in a

   separate bowl, place on a platter. Top with radicchio,

   segmented citrus, chives, pomegranate seeds, crumbled

   goat cheese, and micro greens.


If you are looking for a festive mocktail to serve to your friends and family, this is a crowd pleaser. Though sangria is traditionally a summer drink, it is perfect for the winter time. The crisp flavors mixed with the bubbles is sure to be a staple for the holidays.

Winter Sangria

Prep: 10 minutes Yield: 10 servings


1 bottle Welch’s White Grape juice

1 Liter Tangerine Italian Soda

2 Mango Sorbet pops, diced

2 Anjou Pears, cored and diced

2 Granny Smith apples, cored and diced

6 leaves Mint, fresh, chiffonade

Citrus segments and juice leftover from Winter Citrus Salad


In a large pitcher or punch bowl, mix together white grape juice and Italian soda. Add apples, pears, citrus segments and juice. If making ahead of time allow flavors to blend. Add mint and mango sorbet just before serving to guests.


This Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake will be the talk of the party this season! It is purely divine and an answer to any chocolate cravings you may have! It’s smooth and creamy layers of mousse on top of a moist chocolate cake are quite the compliment. This cake is decadent and truly a celebration to this time of the year! I hope you enjoy preparing this cake as much as I did!

Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake

Prep: 2 hours Inactive: 1 hour Cook: 30 minutes

Yields: 12 servings


1 Gluten Free King Arthur’s Chocolate Cake Mix

16 oz. Milk Chocolate, finely chopped

16 oz. Dark Chocolate, Finley chopped

2 quarts. Heavy Cream

3 cups Powdered Sugar, sifted

4 tsp. Vanilla extract or substitute Peppermint extract

8 oz. Mascarpone Cheese, room temperature

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened


1. Pre bake gluten-free chocolate cake according to the directions on the box, in a springform pan. Allow to cool, can be made a day before.

2. Place milk chocolate in a heat proof bowl, heat 2 cups heavy cream and pour over chocolate. Whisk together and then allow to cool in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

3. In Kitchen Aid mixer with whip attachment, add cooled ganache and whip for 3-5 minutes, until fluffy. Spread the whipped ganache evenly over the chocolate cake and place in freezer to set, about 20 minutes.

4. Make whipped cream; add 1 qt. Heavy cream, 2 tsp. Vanilla extract and sifted powdered sugar in a mixer with whip attachment. Whip until fluffy and firm peaks form.

5. In Kitchen Aid mixer with a paddle attachment, combine mascarpone, cream cheese, and 2 tsp. vanilla extract mix until smooth and creamy. (You can also substitute Peppermint extract in place of the vanilla extract. As well as folding in peppermint dust: candy canes pulsed in a food processor until a fine dust is made.)

6. Fold in whipped cream to mascarpone filling, be gentle and be careful to avoid over mixing.

7. Spread the mascarpone whipped filling in an even layer on top of the milk chocolate ganache mousse. To make a smooth and level surface, have a glass of hot water for your offset spatula, to remove any excess cream when leveling out the top layer. Place in freezer to set for about 20 minutes.

8. Place dark chocolate in a heat proof bowl, heat 2 cups heavy cream and pour on top of chocolate. Whisk together until combined.

9. Remove springform pan mold and bottom base pan from mouse cake. Place a cooling rack on top of a sheet pan, then place your mousse cake on top of cooling rack.

10. Pour the ganache on top of the cake until it flows over the sides. Using an offset spatula spread the ganache so that it goes over the edges. Smooth out the edges and the top of the cake. Garnish with fresh berries, powdered sugar, and white chocolate snowflakes.

Our Christmas Brunch menu wouldn’t be complete without a delicious GF Waffle bar, a Maple glazed Ham, and Applewood Smoked bacon, those are just a couple suggestions for your menu. I hope you will try out these recipes for your Christmas Brunch! Please leave your comments below, I would love to hear from you! Thank you so much for joining us on Joy Holiday, Eats and Treats. I hope you enjoy this holiday with your family and friends and remember the reason for the season!

Merry Christmas!

Chef Marissa Menth

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