By: Amanda Palmer
Hosting brunch doesn’t have to be stressful. Keep the menu and recipes simple so you and your dear friends and family can slow down and catch up. Extend it over a 3-course meal with small plates to keep the conversation going for hours. Here’s how to get started:
Combining the first two meals of the day leaves you with options such as eggs, toast, pancakes, fruit, sausage, bacon, salad and sandwiches. Keep it light with little bites. Create small plates that will allow guests to eat without overfilling themselves. Leave a bowl of freshly cut fruits out during the entire meal.
Order your course like this:
- First course: small croissants and salads
- Second course: heavier and salty main course
- Third course: something sweet
1. First Course
Pick up pre-made croissants from the bakery the day before and warm them in the oven at 300 degrees for no more than 5 minutes. Wrap warm croissants in a clean towel and set aside. Toss a fresh salad with seasonal goodies, like spinach, strawberries and feta for summer or green apple slices and Gorgonzola for colder months.
2. Second Course
This is the best time to introduce sandwiches and small plates. Let the guests build their dish with a variety of options.
- Bite-sized pancakes: Simply pour pre-mixed pancake batter into a mini muffin dish and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Hash brown patties: Thaw frozen hash browns and mix with 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and as much grated cheese as you want. Using the mini muffin tray, bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Waffle paninis: Toast frozen waffles. Mix 2 tablespoons of coarse-ground mustard with 4 tablespoons of your favorite syrup, add sharp cheddar cheese (as much or little as you want) plus some thinly sliced apples. Cut a toasted waffle in half to create a sandwich. Lay the bottom half in a warm skillet, pour the mixture over it and top with the second half. Press down on it with a ceramic plate, four minutes each side.
- Quiche: In a bowl, mix 4 eggs, 2 cups of cream (half whole milk, half cream will do) and 2 cups cheese. Pour into an 8-inch pie dish and bake for 25 minutes until the edges brown.
3. Third Course
Set out a large bowl of Greek yogurt and a few small bowls of granola, fresh berries, honey, graham cracker crumbles and other sweetly satisfying toppings. Provide a few small bowls or ramekins to self-serve. Pair it with a scoop of homemade chocolate hazelnut spread in a pretty serving dish with small vanilla cookies for dipping.
Brunch Table Setting
The less work you have to do while your guests are there, the better. Going for a self-serving brunch also makes the guests feel more at home. Here are some basics to set your brunch up for success:
- Have the dishes stacked next to a pile of crisp napkins.
- Set out coffee mugs on a separate table with access to the coffee pot, creamer, sugar and stirring sticks.
- Have water glasses or small bottles of water easily available.
- Pre-make a drink mix of your choice or leave out orange juice. Three drink options should be sufficient.
- Pick up some pastries, like donuts, and offer them on a beautiful tiered stand.
- Add the final touch with fresh flowers.
Now let yourself enjoy it as much as your guests will! Have you had a brunch that your friends and family gushed over? Share your ideas and tips in the comments below!