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Call me insane! Menu help please.

I think I must have been drunk when I offered to have my husband’s family over this Friday and then offering to host a friends/family brunch on Sunday. I work full time, its budget time and I am working really long hours this week. What was I thinking??

Anyway I have Friday night covered. Going very simple-grilled steak, baked taters, salad. They are bringing wine/dessert. Done! and clean up should be breeze. Phew!

Sunday is my challenge, Looks like we will be a total of 18-12 adults, two teens and four 12 year olds. No allergies, no pickiness, no dietary restrictions. I am definitely going the buffet route! Here is the menu so far. Is it enough? Too much?

Signature cocktail: Cranberry Bog. Cranberry vodka (my own), cointreau, white cranberry juice. There will also be mimosa, full bar and soft drinks.

2 kinds of frittatas- one meat based , one veggie based

“Honey of a Ham” with sides of biscuits, mayo and mustard

Mixed green salad

Bagels w/ sides of cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, chopped onion and sliced kumatos (unless I can find good regular tomatoes)

Cinnamon rolls (my friends “famous” ones) so so good!

Desserts will be platters of Christmas cookies and the same friends blueberry pie.

I was thinking I needed a winter fruit salad- oranges, apples, pears, etc. Thoughts?

Any other ideas, criticisms, etc welcome!

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  1. I think that is MORE than enough for a brunch.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Njchicaa

      What would you take off the menu?

      1. re: foodieX2

        Nothing. I think it is great as it is! You have plenty of food and lots of different things for everyone. My instinct would be to do a fruit salad too but, honestly, what you have listed already is plenty.

    2. Agree on fruit salad.
      Instead of 2 frittatas, how about making one non-meat frittata and serve breakfast meat separately, and do a make-ahead French toast casserole that you prep the night before and pop in the oven day of.
      My thought is that the frittatas are hands-on, and this way, you'll only have to tend to one frittata, while the french toast cooks away in the oven unattended.
      Or- you could nix the frittata all together and opt for an egg bake in the oven.
      Nothing would need a la minute direct prep!

      1. I agree the frittatas might be too last minute? A meat quiche and a vegetable quiche might be a better route? Otherwise, it sounds like a lovely menu!

        5 Replies
        1. re: gourmanda

          Hmmm. Your both probably right about the last minute impact of frittatas, especially if the guests stagger in at different times. I just love a good frittata, LOL

          Maybe a traditional Quiche Lorraine (to get the bacon in!) and then I could do a veggie strata?

          I had forgotten about a french toast bake. The kids would love that and I can assemble the night before and then pop in the oven with the strata. Is it too much since I have cinnamon rolls too?

          1. re: foodieX2

            I would keep the cinnamon rolls for the kids.
            Love the idea of a quiche and a baked French toast.
            It may be last minute and insane, but you've got a great plan.
            Good luck!

            1. re: monavano

              Thanks! I am feeling more relaxed all ready. I love you guys.

            2. re: foodieX2

              It is a brunch party!!!! There is no such thing as too many home made goodies!!!!!! Bring it on:) With all of those growing kids there it will all be wiped out very quickly I am sure.

            3. re: gourmanda

              Fritatta can easily be made ahead. Tortilla de patatas is many times served room temperature.

              Egg casserole is simple too.

              I did one:

              In a 9 x 13 dump one box seasoned croutons.
              Beat 10 eggs with 3 cups whole milk, and a tsp of dry mustard powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour over croutons. Sprinkled with two cups shredded cheddar cheese, make sure cheese gets submerged but is throughout (original says to mix cheese with egg then pour but I think this does not incorporate well). Top with cooked bacon pieces (1/2 lb. cooked broken in 1 inch pieces). Bake at 325 for 45- 50 minutes. (could be a little longer, temp might be 350 but I think I recall correctly). Always a huge hit. Not greasy at all.

            4. Plenty of variety and probably quantity, too. Are the teens boys (huge appetites - consider adding an oven hashbrown potato 9 x13) or girls (more often salad eaters - make a big one)?

              To reduce your prep time, leave the fruit whole, pile in a large bowl, and encourage folks to take a piece or two. Add a bowl of red/green grape clusters if you like those (since there will be leftovers).

              4 Replies
              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                Good point about teen boys, I know my 12 year old can put away a lot of food. The teens are one of each.

                I had thought about adding a potato dish but then it seemed too heavy with the bagels and other carbs. I do love those heart attack worthy monkey bar potatos.....

                1. re: foodieX2

                  Nix the potatoes, you've got a great plan and bases covered.
                  Plus, potatoes should be served hot, and then there's worrying about them being greasy if you're distracted etc...

                2. re: MidwesternerTT

                  From my own personal experience saving the time on prep by leaving fruit whole for a get together tends to leave one with an abundance of uneaten whole fruit.
                  To get around this I don't make vast amounts of fruit salad, and I chose varieties that cook well and cook well together avoiding overly dressing the salad or using things like whipped cream or dairy as a dressing (Serve it on the side so people can add their own if your recipe calls for it.) When the party is done I pop the left overs juice and all into a pot and cook it down slowly and carefully into a sauce, or farther into a fruit butter. Flavor as desired. It freezes well, and is yummy slathered warm on toast, even if just a sauce consistency. I tend to not use citrus fruit if the chances are high I will need to do this sticking to apples pears and stone fruits.

                  1. re: Alurna

                    The fruit sauce could even be prepared in advance and served warm or room temp at the brunch in place of fruit salad. A little unusual, and nice if the weather is chilly.

                3. I think your menu looks great and a lovely variety. The french toast bake you mention in one of the replies would be very kid friendly. My ex-husbands family was very meat and potatoes people so no brunch was complete with out a massive hash brown casserole.
                  One thing on the drinks part of your menu though, you may want to add a decent coffee blend to the list if any of the guests are fond of their java. I prefer tea so I usually added a small tea selection to brunch as well, but it was not as widely indulged in.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Alurna

                    Yes, I should have mentioned coffee! That is most definetly on the menu!

                    1. re: foodieX2

                      :D I figured it was, and I felt like a bit of a fool adding it to the end there but then I remember how often details like that have escaped me in the past.

                  2. Please forgive my over posting comments but I just remembered an easy dish that was always a huge hit. Sweet potato and sausage hash. I use a three to one ratio.
                    1 measure of sausage for every three of sweet potatoes. One medium onion for each approx. pound of sweet potatoes. Spuds should be peeled and diced/chunked to personal size preference)
                    Brown the sausage (Breakfast sausage works well, links cut or uncased sausage. I prefer spicy italian sausage for it though. Take sausage from the pan drain off most of the grease but keep some in pan for flavor. Add sweet potatoes and onions and cook till brown soft and yummy over med to medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, I like to add a bit of garlic as well but just a little . When spuds are done add sausage and toss to combine, serve hot. I like it with a drizzle of maple syrup. Crock pot can be used but I recommend browning the sausage and onions before adding to pot for better flavor. Cooking time varies quite a bit depending on amount being cooked and the sweet potatoes, I've found they can be stubborn at times taking a long time to soften get done, other times they do it in a jiff.
                    Sorry the recipe is a bit vague, I tend to eyeball it and adjust amounts depending on how many people I am serving. In the crock pot I start it the night before. The potatoes don't always hold up the best resulting in a tasty mash not a hash.

                    1. Your menu sounds hearty and delicious. Fruit skewers are easy to prepare and might be a nice addition.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MamasCooking

                        Fruit skewers! Def a good solution to fruit salad dilemmas, will personally keep that in mind for next time I need to whip up a fruit dish:) Never occurred to me to do those:)

                      2. i never think you need a green salad at brunch, but that's just me. :) leaves also take up lots of real estate on a buffet plate.

                        agree with the others about going with quiche or strata instead of frittata. they're better made ahead anyway. technically not "quiche", but i prefer them without a crust.

                        if you want to bake double the amount of potatoes on friday, leave over some for sunday to make home fries -- if you have a chafing dish these keep very well.

                        also agree whole fruits tend to not get eaten at buffets. offer clusters of grapes and maybe some kiwi wheels, blood orange segments and/or pineapple chunks.

                        have fun!

                        1. I think your menu sounds great. I would stick with frittata, strata or basically crust-less quiches. While not exactly the same, they don't really have to be made last minute in a skillet, just bake them in a casserole dish. You can pre-prep/pre-cook your ingredients in advance. Pour eggs mixed with milk in a buttered casserole or deep dish pie pan, add your other ingredients and cheese. When your guests start arriving bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until set.. Put under the broiler for a minute if the top needs to be browned. With all the other things you have going on, you don't really need the richness of a pie crust that you get with quiche and it is easier to make a "crust-less quiche".

                          With the cinnamon rolls, you don't really "need" the French toast casserole.

                          I think you should offer some kind of fruit, but it does not need to be a fruit salad. A fruit platter would be nice, and you can probably buy some fruits like pineapple and melon already cut. Strawberries, blueberries, grapes, black berries etc. don't need a lot of prep. Maybe some clementines and bananas left whole.

                          1. Save yourself some $ and just do the mimosas and cranberry cocktail. No one needs to get hammered at brunch!
                            The egg strata/savory bread pudding/baked casserole would make your life easier, just leave it meat free.

                            A simple fruit platter would be perfect- oranges in quarters, grapes, grapefruit halves, what you can find that looks good.
                            If you are making cinnamon rolls then i would skip the french toast casserole as well.

                            1. not a fan of frittatas myself so I'd pass that by, everything else looks good to me.

                              1. Your menu is primarily meat and bread with a salad & fruit; a lot of starch and little vegetables. And I'm counting the biscuits, bagels, cinnamon rolls and desserts as starch. You need a vegetable besides salad to round out a plate. It just seems lacking IMO.

                                A pan of mixed roasted vegetables, a Brussels sprouts hash with caramelized onions & garlic, or maybe roasted tomatoes drizzled with a little olive oil and seasoned with thyme or rosemary (people can add these to their ham biscuits) would give the plates something besides bread, meat and lettuce from a salad. As far as the salad, I'd just add fruit like clementines or other citrus to my salad and serve with a vinaigrette; skipping the fruit salad altogether.

                                I also think you should do either the ham/biscuits OR the bagel/salmon platter. And why not just stick with your signature drink, fruit juice and soft drinks? That's enough and you really don't need the expense of champagne for mimosas or a full bar; this is brunch not cocktail hour. You're making way more work than necessary for yourself on your limited time and finance constraints.

                                Hope your husband is helping out with the work....

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Cherylptw

                                  i don't often want hard liquor at brunch and would much prefer a mimosa. decent prosecco and cava can be had for short money.

                                  agree they don't need the ham/biscuits + salmon/bagels. i think the ham would be nicer.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    I'm with you on the ham; also makes a nice presentation. I would have voted for mimosas but OP talked about expenses so I thought since she had a bar, perhaps she already had the liquor for that signature drink.

                                    1. re: Cherylptw

                                      Actually I meat it was budget time at work which is why I am working long hours. Expenses are a non-issue. No we wont be having Dom or Cristal but there will be some good stuff.

                                      thanks for everyones advice/help!.

                                2. Brunch success! Thanks for all your help!!
                                  The menu landed as follows:

                                  Egg nog
                                  Full bar

                                  Ham, rolls w/ assorted mustards

                                  Bagels, lox, cream cheese

                                  Spinach, scallion and Swiss frittata

                                  Mixed green salad with apples and feta

                                  Cinnamon rolls

                                  Christmas cookies
                                  Blueberry pie
                                  Assorted chocolate

                                  Coffee and tea

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                    Looks like a magazine spread! Really beautiful and the setting is very pretty.

                                    1. re: monavano

                                      thank you!! It was great kick off to christmas week! :)

                                    2. re: foodieX2

                                      I would have loved to been at that brunch! Beautiful