Saturday, February 24, 2018

Food

Brunches: Fun to plan, easy to prepare

Brunches are fun to plan and can be relatively easy to prepare. Many dishes can be made a day in advance or even weeks in advance and frozen until needed.

One of the easiest main dishes to start a brunch off with is an egg bake or an egg casserole. Most can be assembled the night before so they are ready to pop into the oven the next morning.

Egg casseroles feature everything from sausage to ham to every imaginable vegetable and cheese variety. Some use bread crumbs while others call for hash brown potatoes. Find one that will suit your family or adjust a recipe to make it just right for your special guests.

Another simple main dish is cooking a ham in the slow cooker. Simply place a 7- to 8-pound spiral cut ham (bone-in or boneless) fat side down in a slow cooker. Rub a cup of brown sugar on all sides and pour ½ cup of maple syrup and 2 cups of pineapple juice over the ham. Cook on low for four to five hours. Remove from slow cooker pot and let it rest for 15 minutes before serving. It really doesn’t get any easier or tastier than that.

The side possibilities are endless for a brunch menu. I love the idea of making a yogurt bar featuring a couple kinds of yogurt and an arrangement of add-ins such as granola, strawberries, raspberries, craisins, blueberries and bananas. Fruit skewers make a colorful presentation when a variety of fruit is threaded onto wooden kabob skewers. A bagel bar could include a variety of bagels along with spreads and toppings.

Homemade pastries are always a hit. The monkey bread and cranberry muffin recipes below are quick, easy ways to satisfy those with a sweet tooth first thing in the morning.

Don’t forget to offer a variety of beverages ranging from coffee to tea to juices and milk. You may even want to serve mimosas, sangrias, mojitos, spiked teas or other alcoholic drinks if appropriate.

Janelle Thomas can be reached at janellethomas@charter.net.


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