French toast with maple syrup, sandwiches, eggs Benedict and spicy sausage links -- these foods are favorites all across the country for brunch, the meal that's a combination of breakfast and lunch. Brunch can be casual or formal, but unless you're a seasoned chef (and have lots of time to spare), you should avoid complicated recipes. Cook as many items as you can in advance, and don't forget the orange juice and Champagne to make mimosas!
Are you tired of serving the same casserole and donuts every time you host brunch? These fresh ideas will help you break out of a dull routine and host a weekend meal to remember.
Assemble Finger Sandwiches
Serve finger sandwiches, and cut them into small triangles -- usually without bread crust. Fill them with standard meats, pimento cheese, chicken salad or make a tasty triangle BLTs using bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. Assemble the sandwiches on platters before guests arrive, and make sure each variety is labeled so people can easily navigate the spread. Prepare hard-boiled eggs or potato salad for side dishes, and allow guests to serve themselves buffet-style.
Bake Breakfast Cups
Forget trying to prepare multiple different types of food a few hours before the guests arrive! Save some stress in the kitchen by combining a few favorites into a single meal that everyone will find appealing. Line cupcake tins with half an English muffin, biscuit or slice of bread. Fill cups with precooked bacon or sausage crumbles, and crack an egg over each one. Sprinkle the breakfast cups with the shredded cheese of your choice, and bake them in the oven. Serve with fresh fruit salad to make a well-rounded, hearty meal everyone will enjoy.
Host an Omelet-only Brunch
Buy plenty of eggs -- about three per guest -- cheese and breakfast meats to make omelets for brunch. For a healthy twist, add fresh vegetables like onions, mushrooms, broccoli and spinach into the mix. Have guests custom order their omelets however they'd like them prepared, and serve accordingly. Since omelets can only be cooked one at a time, this idea is best for small parties; too many orders might overwhelm the cook!
Buy a carton of eggs, and marry various ingredients -- usually a combination of meats and cheeses -- to make a decadent quiche for your next brunch gathering. This simple dish can be as rich as you choose, depending on whether you use heavy cream or skim milk, and it can be served with or without a crust. Add vegetables for a healthy twist, like spinach or broccoli, and include onion and garlic in the mixture for added flavor. Practically any way you slice it, quiche is a winning choice for a stress-free brunch. Prepare the dish the day before your event, refrigerate, and reheat it in the morning before guests arrive. Don't worry; no one will know the difference!
Pull out the Punch Bowl
A sure way to keep guests' glasses full at your next brunch is to set up a separate table as a self-serve juice bar. People can pour their own drinks, leaving you free to focus on cooking and serving brunch. Set fruit juices, liquors and sparkling wine on a buffet, and whip up a concoction made with grapefruit, cranberry or pineapple juice to fill a punch bowl. Include orange juice, Champagne and peach purée at the buffet for guests to make mimosas or Bellinis, and be sure to add pitchers of water and tea to the table, too. Finally, don't forget to brew fresh coffee, and have plenty of cream and sugar available throughout the meal.
For more tips on how to host a winning brunch, follow the links on the next page.
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- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. "Egg Allergy." (Jan. 20, 2012) http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=20&cont=523
- Bucher, Mary. "Sausage Breakfast Cups." Pillsbury. 2004. (Jan. 23, 2012) http://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/sausage-breakfast-cups/17b793f3-218a-494a-b079-9f1ce32cdeb1/#
- Clark, Melissa. "For Year's End, Decadent Quiche." The New York Times. Dec. 24, 2010. (Jan. 19, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/29/dining/29appe.html
- Gibson, Joanne. "The Bellini." Wine Magazine. May 25, 2010. (Jan. 19, 2012) http://www.winemag.co.za/article/the-bellini-2010-05-25