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Continental Breakfast Challenge - so sick of Costco muffins & Yoplait.

j
Juliamay Feb 8, 2014 10:31 AM

I am tasked with organizing (from shopping, prep, set up & clean up) of our Jr. High Student of the Month Breakfasts. The challenges are: only 30 minutes of set up, only 30 minutes for entire function. It happens at 7:15am. Budget is somewhat limited but not horrible. This breakfast is for approximately 30 - 40 people. Thank you.

The last two times I have served yogurts, Costco muffins (halved), another pastry - Mini Cinnamon Rolls or halved Costco Strudel. Mini Bagels with cream cheese packets. Fruit - halved bananas, grape clusters and sliced oranges. Juice, Coffee & Hot Water (carafes) with tea & condiments.

I want to do something SPECIAL and not so BOOOOORRRING.

Any creative ideas are much welcome. This is an easy to please crowd, I had a tablecloth & tiered servers and you would have thought I brought a caterer in.

Thanks so much,
Julia in Woodinville, WA

  1. KarenDW Feb 9, 2014 05:59 PM

    Mini bagels, already sliced [leave a hinge]
    sliced cheese and ham or turkey
    cream cheese, butter, tahini, jam
    cut fresh fruit served in cups [pre-portion for grab and go], yogurt in cups
    breakfast burritos: scrambled eggs, diced cooked potatoes, salsa, cheese. Already made, and wrapped in a square of parchment. Hot sauce in a squeeze bottle
    IIRC, Costco also has frozen, ready to bake pastries, which are nice for a fresher option.

    1. meatnveg Feb 9, 2014 12:58 PM

      - Untoasted Ham & Cheese sandwiches on white bread (butter only)

      - Coffee, boiled eggs sandwiches (with black pepper and butter)

      - Tomato soup and bread rolls for cold mornings

      1. pinehurst Feb 9, 2014 12:14 PM

        Love the pinwheel idea by greygarious.

        How about spot with a few toasters where students can toast/top whole grain waffles? Have good butter, nut butter, chopped nuts, syrup, etc.

        Lots of mini water and milk bottles.

        Would the crowd rebel if you had a station with mini pitas and cold cuts and cheeses (hams, cheddars, etc)?

        1 Reply
        1. re: pinehurst
          j
          Juliamay Feb 9, 2014 12:46 PM

          I think my crowd (kids, parents & staff) would be open to anything. The toaster idea would work but I literally have 30 minutes from start to clean up. A couple minutes toasting time would cause a hold up. Everything needs to be grab & eat.

          Love the pitas, meats & cheeses.

        2. t
          tonifi Feb 9, 2014 11:50 AM

          So, they're okay with home-produced food? I wish our schools were, as well. When we did breakfasts at our (privately run!) preschool I did breakfast sandwiches and breakfast pizza. Both, just a riff on scrambled eggs/cheese/diced meat/tomatoes/onions, but one stuffed into hollowed out loaves of french bread, wrapped in foil and baked until melted through and then sliced into servings on-site, and a similarly themed pizza with homemade crusts, but you could just as easily buy store-bought pizza crusts. I think I used a sun-dried tomato cream cheese for the pizza 'sauce'...it's been a while...The pizzas were more of a hit with the preschool crowd, but the sandwiches were much easier to transport and to keep warm (I put the heated, foil-wrapped loaves in a cooler and packed a few dishtowels around them for the 30-minute trip and setup and they stayed nice and warm). I took a fruit salad with yogurt dressing on top both times, with some bowls and forks. Bless you for branching out of the muffin-rut.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tonifi
            j
            Juliamay Feb 9, 2014 12:00 PM

            Yes, we are fortunate that our school allows homemade products. (I do label everything I prepare that could be potentially an issue - nuts, eggs, etc.) The breakfast sandwiches sound awesome. very cool idea. Breakfast pizza would be easy to do as well. Thank you for your great ideas. :)

          2. j
            JudiAU Feb 9, 2014 07:44 AM

            Mix TJ vanilla organic yogurt with equal parts plain regular or plain Strauss. Have sliced strawberries and granola on the side. Have a couple of nondairy yogurts on the side. Bake some TJs mini crossants on the side or make some mini vegetable muffins.

            1. t
              treb Feb 9, 2014 06:58 AM

              Are you saying, you're willing to prep and bake. Sure you want to commit. If not, why not go the fresh fruit route or European with cheeses, meats, nuts, dried fruits and light pastries etc.

              1. m
                mscoffee1 Feb 9, 2014 04:13 AM

                Home made granola.

                1. Ttrockwood Feb 8, 2014 07:31 PM

                  +1 for yogurt parfait DIY idea, buy large plain lowfat yogurt and tall cups to make them in

                  Let the kids peel their own hard boiled eggs
                  Or make frittata "muffins" in muffin tins

                  This baked oatmeal is delicious and can be made ahead, just scale up the recipe
                  http://www.eatliverun.com/maple-nut-b...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Ttrockwood
                    j
                    Jeanne Feb 9, 2014 01:45 AM

                    I think frittata muffins is an excellent idea - or quiche muffins (crustless or not).

                    I wouldn't do hard boiled eggs for junior high students - I ate them when I was that age but not because I liked them. A fritatta or quiche would go over much better.

                    This and some cut up fruit - maybe juice too in my opinion would be perfect for that age.

                    1. re: Ttrockwood
                      j
                      Juliamay Feb 9, 2014 06:49 AM

                      This recipe looks great. Would you serve it like bar cookies or in bowls with a pitcher of milk as this blogger describes. (Come to think of it, maybe I could make large "breakfast cookies".)

                      Thanks for the great ideas. A quiche/muffin would be great.

                      1. re: Juliamay
                        Ttrockwood Feb 9, 2014 04:11 PM

                        I would just cut into small squares (on a buffet they will most likely choose several items, so half sized squares) and serve on a platter to be picked up and eaten like a brownie. Milk to drink a la carte.

                        This frittata muffin recipe looks similar to what i do, i just use whatever veggies are on hand:
                        http://www.joybauer.com/healthy-recip...

                    2. greygarious Feb 8, 2014 01:11 PM

                      Lavash pinwheels? Spread large rectangles of lavash with cream cheese, processed cheddar cheese spread, peanut butter, or nutella, as "glue".

                      For the nutella ones, slice the ends off peeled banana so you have uniform "logs" to line up running the length of the long side. Drizzle with agave or honey, roll up. Slice into 1" rolls but don't spread out until set-up, to slow the discoloration.

                      For the cream cheese, add thin slices of deli ham and a smear of honey mustard, roll up.

                      For the processed cheddar spread, drained canned diced tomato.

                      For the peanut butter, grape jelly and marshmallow fluff.

                      If you have a large skillet or griddle that would allow you to make scrambled eggs as flat as a crepe, you could use that as the filling for some of the cream cheese pinwheels. Adding finely-crumbled cooked bacon or sausage to the egg, even better. Room temp is fine for these.

                      You can use plain and multigrain lavash (sold at Costco)
                      and people will be able to pick and choose how many pieces and combos they want. Some grapes and other "finger-fruit" would be good accompaniments.

                      1. s
                        soccermom13 Feb 8, 2014 12:18 PM

                        I agree about the hard boiled eggs---people love them! And since peeling them is the hassle, bringing them still in the shell and letting the attendees peel them reduces your work load tremendously.

                        I love deviled eggs, but they are a lot of work.

                        We have served excellent hard rolls (made of baguette dough) with unsalted butter, a variety of jams and curds, and very thin slices of cheese, and that has been very well received. I have never baked Costco's baguettes, but I have heard they are good. You could bake them at home, let them cool, and then serve slices of baguette instead of hard rolls with the above additions.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: soccermom13
                          hotoynoodle Feb 9, 2014 07:20 AM

                          for easy deviled eggs, boil off what you need and chuck the lot in a big bowl of iced water. peel. scoop out the yolks and lay the whites, hollow side down, on towels to drain and dry. meanwhile put the yolk in your food pro with whatever is your go-to mix. whiz. place in ziploc bag. put dry whites in separate bag, being careful not to smoosh or break.

                          at event, line whites up on platters, snip the corner of yolk-mix ziploc and pipe out each egg. lightning-fast.

                          but just offering hard-boiled eggs, still in the shell, is still TOTES easier. :)

                        2. c
                          ceekskat Feb 8, 2014 11:25 AM

                          My high schooler has to take a mid-morning snack about 2 times a year for a group of 10...perennial favorites are croissants, nutella & strawberries; mini almond bear claws from Safeway; bagels with plain cream cheese & strawberry cream cheese.

                          DD says for some reason, the boys love the bear claws. And 3/4 kids like plain cream cheese & 1/4 like strawberry.

                          I'm sure homemade banana bread, cranberry bread, etc. would go over well too.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ceekskat
                            j
                            Juliamay Feb 8, 2014 01:24 PM

                            Great ideas - thank you! Funny about the cream cheese.

                          2. ttoommyy Feb 8, 2014 11:13 AM

                            Build your own breakfast parfaits with big bowls of vanilla and plain yogurt (kept on ice), granola, fresh fruit sald, toasted coconut, dried fruits and any other toppings you think people may like. Also, whenever we have something like this at work, there are usually hard boiled eggs. People go crazy over them. The night before, someone hard boils 2 or 3 dozen eggs, puts them back in the carton and in the fridge. Easy to transport to work the next day and you just set out the cartons when you get there.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ttoommyy
                              s
                              sedimental Feb 8, 2014 11:21 AM

                              Excellent idea about the hard boiled eggs! I have been served them before in this type of venue and really liked it. Don't forget the salt and pepper.

                              Also, you could make up a light egg salad for a spread on bagels.

                              1. re: ttoommyy
                                j
                                Juliamay Feb 8, 2014 12:25 PM

                                Dumb question - do I need to peel the eggs to serve them? That is totally a PITA to me. :) Great idea if they can DIY.

                                1. re: Juliamay
                                  t
                                  thimes Feb 9, 2014 03:30 AM

                                  Costco occasionally has pre-peeled hard boiled eggs in with their cheeses. They come in a big bag. I've seen them on occasion at grocery stores too. They aren't a regular item at Costco though. And who knew you could buy eggs like that - and they tasted great.

                                  1. re: thimes
                                    c
                                    Chatsworth Feb 9, 2014 05:08 PM

                                    Don't know if you have it, but I once saw peeled hard boiled eggs at Cash and Carry.

                                    Also, once I learnt a decent method of hard boiling, I've found peeling much easier. Put room temp eggs in cold water, bring to boil, once boiling turn off heat, leave 10 minutes. Drain pot, fill with cold water and as it's filling crack all the eggs (once). Leave for maybe ten minutes, then they should peel easily.

                                2. re: ttoommyy
                                  Ruthie789 Feb 9, 2014 09:11 AM

                                  I have served a buffet for that size of group and have brought hard boiled eggs which are an excellent protein for breakfast. However, some complained about the smell of them so I kept them in a covered dish. We always have some fresh fruit on our table, which always goes over well. My budget was $40 to $50 and we always managed to have a cheese, a plate of rolled ham, some pate and rolls.

                                3. s
                                  sedimental Feb 8, 2014 11:01 AM

                                  Oh Lord! I am soooo with you on the standard "conference" breakfast a la Costco! I always feel crappy from so much carbohydrate with caffeine.

                                  What about sliced ham and cheeses, non sugary rolls, bagels with a few spreads (one cream cheese type, one nut butter type) and some sliced fruit?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sedimental
                                    j
                                    Juliamay Feb 8, 2014 12:24 PM

                                    Yes! I do love the idea of sliced meat & cheese. I would love to eat that. I may be wrong, but that seems more "European" than what we typically do here in the Northwest.

                                    1. re: Juliamay
                                      h
                                      happybaker Feb 8, 2014 01:44 PM

                                      I think it sounds lovely too!

                                      Just call it a danish buffet, with things to make open faced sandwiches.

                                  2. h
                                    happybaker Feb 8, 2014 10:40 AM

                                    How many people are you serving?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: happybaker
                                      ttoommyy Feb 8, 2014 11:17 AM

                                      The OP states 30-40 people.

                                      1. re: ttoommyy
                                        h
                                        happybaker Feb 8, 2014 11:41 AM

                                        Dang! You are right!

                                        My apologies, this will teach me to never post before my second cup of coffee.

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