I have an old, stained photocopy of my mother’s “Wifesaver” recipe — that she made every Christmas morning — 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. This year’s version may be the best yet.
Your friends or loved ones may call this a cheese souffle (like Emma Waverman‘s family does), Christmas Casserole or Homemaker’s Surprise, but they all follow the same concept: it’s breakfast lasagne.
Oh, and you need not celebrate Christmas to enjoy a Wifesaver. Nor must you be a wife to cook it. 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.
If you’re looking for the original Christmas Morning Wifesaver recipe, here it is:
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.)
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 knocked this year’s out of the park. (Pat, pat.)
What you’ll need for your Christmas 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)
Our Wifesaver 2.0 recipe
- 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 Wifesaver
Bake your bacon in the oven.
Sautee onions + peppers.
Make your milk + egg mixture.
Pour the milk + egg mixture over the whole thing.
Cover with cling film + refrigerate.
Heat oven + add the final ingredients.
Bake + rest according to original instructions.
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.