There's a lot to love about brunch. Eggs, carbs, meat, cheese, and booze collide into one marvelous meal that doesn't require waking up too early. Brunch is the perfect meal for a special occasion, a birthday celebration, an out of town visitor, a date, a girl's day out — the list goes on. But going out to a restaurant for brunch can be a disaster. There is always a long wait, no matter where you go, it's crowded, and there is always that one friend of yours who shows up 20 minutes late, keeping you from being served because you can't be seated until your entire party arrives, as the hostess has explained three times. Not to mention that hot flash of panic you get when you see the bill at the end of the meal and realize you should have stayed home and eaten that stale cereal instead of spending your rent money on Eggs Benedict, no matter how delicious it all was.
Instead of trying to organize a group brunch date out on the town, you can always throw your own gathering. It's true that hosting a meal can be a bit of a headache between the expense, the prep time, and the dishes. But if you do want to throw a brunch at your home, there are plenty of ways to keep the costs down, the preparation easy, the cleanup minimal, and most importantly, the guests impressed. The key to throwing a great brunch that doesn't overwhelm you is keeping it simple without losing out on quality or flavor.
Whether you need to impress your boyfriend's parents who are visiting for the weekend, or host a gathering for your roommate's birthday, these easily customized recipes will impress all of your house guests. Don't forget the mimosas!
1. Rice Krispies French Toast
No brunch is complete without a heaping pile of French toast. Challah bread is old news, so spice up your brunch buffet with this crunchy twist on a timeless breakfast staple.
- 8 slices of bread (brioche, challah, or white bread is preferable)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tbs. sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- butter for pan
- In a medium bowl, lightly crush Rice Krispies and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla extract, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Dip bread in egg mixture so it is fully coated, but let any excess drip off. Then, cover both sides of the bread in the crushed cereal. Fry two pieces at a time in the buttered pan until lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Serve with butter and syrup.
2. Vanilla Honey Butter
Move over brunch condiments, because there is a new boss on the table. This spread adds a sweet and creamy touch to breakfast breads, waffles, pancakes, and French toast (like the one above).
- 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), softened
- 1 tbs. honey
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- dash of nutmeg
- In a medium bowl, mix together butter, honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg with an electric mixer until creamy and blended.
- Serve at room temperature.
3. Mini Spinach Quiche Cupcakes
Eggs are a must have on every brunch menu, and there are a million different ways to make them, but you can't go wrong with quiche. Spend less time in the kitchen and more time on the couch with your guests sipping mimosas by making these quiche cups ahead of time, and bake them day-of for a warm, eggy treat.
- 1 sheet of Pepperidge Farms frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 5 large eggs
- 1/4 cup of milk
- 1/3 cup of cheddar jack cheese
- 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
- 1 large pinch of garlic salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Spray a 6-cup muffin tin with baking spray. Unfold the thawed pastry sheet and cut it into 6 equal sections. Press each piece into the muffin cups, and fold over any excess dough to form an even rim.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cheese, spinach, and garlic salt. Pour mixture into muffin cups, filling them nearly to the top. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until eggs are set and pastry is golden brown. Cool and serve.
4. Truffle Parmesan Breakfast Potatoes
Breakfast's greasy guilty pleasure just got a whole lot fancier. Make fried food seem elegant by kicking your home fries game up a notch.
- 3-4 large red potatoes
- 3 tbs. olive oil
- 2 tbs. truffle oil
- 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- Rinse potatoes in cold water. Cut them into small cubes.
- In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Stir in potatoes until they are completely coated in oil. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove cover and add salt and pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through and crispy.
- Carefully remove potatoes from the skillet onto a pan covered in paper towels. Once slightly cooled, toss potatoes in truffle oil and cheese. Add salt and pepper. Serve with an extra pinch of Parmesan cheese on top.
5. Stuffed Crescent Rolls
Make the Pillsbury Doughboy your sous chef for the day with these no mess stuffed croissants.You can fill them with anything from fruit and cream cheese to spinach and bacon. Mix up sweet and savory to please the entire crowd.
- 1 package of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 breakfast sausage links, cooked
- 4 generous tablespoons of Nutella
- 1 banana
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Carefully separate each triangle of dough. On four of the pieces, scoop one generous tablespoon of Nutella and spread it out. Add 3 to 4 thin slices of banana. Roll each piece, and place on a non-stick cookie sheet.
- On the four remaining pieces of dough, sprinkle the shredded cheese. Place one sausage on the short end of each piece, and fold the two edges over. Roll the dough around the sausage. Place on the cookie sheet, and sprinkle a little cheese on top of each one.
- Bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Cool and serve.
Images: Sadie Trombetta