(This Christmas Morning Wifesaver recipe was updated on Nov. 29, 2023.)
I have an old, stained photocopy of my mother’s “Christmas Morning Wifesaver” recipe — that she made every Christmas for us — in my terribly curated recipe book.
And while she’s never been one to stray too far from a recipe, we’ve played with it over the years and tried several variations that put the original to shame. (Sorry, Mom.) This one I’ve shared below is the best yet. Oh, and you need not celebrate Christmas to enjoy a Wifesaver. Nor must you be a wife to cook it, as my husband can attest. This is great any time of year — if you have a New Year’s Day brunch coming up, it’s the perfect excuse to give this recipe a try.
Your friends or loved ones may call this a cheese soufflé (like my friend Emma Waverman‘s family does), a Christmas Morning Casserole or Homemaker’s Surprise, but they all follow the same concept: it’s breakfast lasagne. And it’s frickin’ delish.
If you’re looking for the original Christmas Morning Wifesaver recipe, here it is straight from my mother’s recipe files:
We’ve tried this with sourdough bread, leftover baguettes, French and Italian loaves. We used to follow the recipe and remove the crusts but we don’t bother anymore. We usually use spiral-cut ham or peameal bacon but this year we also tried regular bacon. (It seems any pork by-product will work; this is definitely not a vegetarian-friendly dish!)
You can also use just about any cheese you like, or a mixture of your favourites. It works with and without the Worcestershire sauce, and whether or not you sautee the onions and green peppers.
There’s truly no limit to Wifesaver creativity.
But I finally decided to write about the best holiday recipe of all time because we have finally knocked it out of the park. (Pat, pat.)
What you’ll need for your Christmas Morning Wifesaver
- A skillet, deep casserole dish or roasting pan (this year, we doubled the recipe and used our HUGE skillet)
- One day of prep (you have to assemble this dish and let it sit overnight)
- An oven (there’s no microwaving this baby), preferably with convection to bake the Wifesaver evenly
- Stale bread (we usually buy it two days ahead of time, slice it and leave it out overnight)
The 2.0 ingredients
- One loaf of stale brioche, sliced about 1-1.5cm thick
- Two packages of PC Naturally Smoked Peppercorn-Crusted Hickory Smoked Thick Cut Bacon, baked on cookie trays in the oven (here’s how)
- Two-year-old Balderson cheddar cheese, grated
- Half a medium onion, diced and sauteed
- Half a green pepper, diced and sauteed
- Six large or extra-large eggs
- 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- A good dash or two of dry red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cups homo (whole) milk
- 1/2 cup of margarine or butter
- A handful or two of crushed Corn Flakes
How to assemble your Christmas Morning Wifesaver
Making a Christmas Morning Wifesaver is hella easy, but you have to remember the most crucial step: DO IT THE NIGHT BEFORE YOU WANT TO EAT IT. It needs time to, well, marinate, if you will.
OK, let’s do this. (Don’t worry — I’m not about to make you scroll forever to get to the directions. I’ma just give it to you all with no strings attached.)
1. Bake your bacon in the oven.
2. Sautee onions + peppers.
3. Grate the cheese.
4. Make your milk + egg mixture.
5. Start layering.
6. Pour the milk + egg mixture over the whole thing.
7. Cover with cling film (Saran Wrap) + refrigerate.
8. Heat oven + add the final ingredients.
9. Bake + rest according to original instructions: 350 degrees F for one hour, then let stand 20 minutes.
10. Enjoy your Christmas Morning Wifesaver!
We’ve also discovered — through challenging trial and error — that the Christmas Morning Wifesaver pairs very well with a Bailey’s or Rumchata Coffee… Don’t say you weren’t warned.
DISCLAIMER: Not a single bit of this is sponsored; I’m just delighted to share my family’s long tradition with you.