Everybody is busy. I’m busy. You’re busy. Jordan is busy, but yet it’s always nice to do some entertaining in the midst of all that busy-ness. This past week-end was jam-packed with a concert, tailgating, church, a play, dog-sitting, company, and life. However, we still were able to entertain three friends by serving a nice brunch at 11:00 Sunday morning. If your Sunday mornings are filled with church (we’re Catholic and have the choice of several mass times), then you might want to consider serving a Saturday brunch. Whichever day you choose, there are many reasons to entertain with brunch.
1. Brunch can be as simple or as fancy as you want. It’s true. The day after Jordan’s wedding we served a big brunch to family and out-of-town guests, and there were a lot of people. So, I served brunch as a buffet rather than a sit-down meal. I set up small food stations around the kitchen, and everyone just helped themselves. There was an area for homemade granola and its toppings, another area with fruits, another for the main dishes (sausage casserole and sausage gravy), and an area for pastries. Since there were just five of us this past Sunday, we sat in the dining area of the great room, and I set a lovely fall-inspired table. It was casual, and we had a really good conversation while chomping down on some really great food.
2. Many foods can be made in advance. Lots of brunch foods can be prepared the night or afternoon before and popped into the oven an hour or so before everyone arrives. For instance, there’s a popular sausage casserole out there that is supposed to be made the night before. You can make granola and prepare its fixings early, and you can bake biscuits early and then warm them before serving time. There’s a French toast casserole that can also be made early and then baked the morning of the brunch. I have a standard list of brunch foods that I like to serve, but it can be mixed up easily. I always like to welcome our guests with either a bloody Mary or a mimosa. For the meal we always have a nice salad like a fall spinach salad with nuts, dried cranberries, and feta cheese made with a homemade balsamic dressing. For the main course, I’ll serve either a vegetable frittata, sausage gravy, a sausage casserole, or French toast casserole. Along with that there will always be a cheese grits side and a fruit salad. I often add seasonal muffins or homemade cinnamon rolls.
3. After brunch is over, you still have most of your day to do other things. We usually serve brunch at either 10 or 11 in the morning, and it lasts about two hours. After cleaning up there is still plenty of time in the day to go shopping, go to a movie or play, go for a hike or a bike ride, watch a game, read a new book, or take a nap. You get to choose how to spend that bonus time.
4. People like brunch foods. Most of us don’t make a big deal out of breakfast. We grab a bagel, a breakfast cookie, or wolf down a bowl of cereal before rushing out of the door. But I do think people really like breakfast foods – real breakfast foods. Brunch gives you the perfect excuse to eat and savor a stack of pancakes or an omelette along with a salad plus a gooey cinnamon roll. It’s the best of two worlds nicely put together. And remember that you don’t have to cook everything yourself. It’s easy to buy muffins and a prepared ham, some fruit that has already been cut up, and spinach that’s prepped, washed, and ready. You can even buy a bloody Mary mix. (I’ll be sharing my recipe this Friday.)
5. Entertaining with brunch is easy. If you are a newbie to entertaining or just lack confidence, then make brunch your thing. Invite just two people at first, and serve easy to prepare or store-bought foods. It can be as simple as scrambled eggs, bacon, a salad, and toast. Then once you get comfortable with that routine, invite a few more friends and try a few new dishes. Remember to enjoy your own party. If you’re not having fun, then your guests won’t have fun either.
I hope you feel inspired to invite some friends over this week-end. Just remember that there’s no better time to enjoy your home with friends than now.