Thursday, December 04, 2008

Keeping Creative Kitchens #8

One of my very favorite ways to entertain is to serve brunch. It's delicious, easy, and beautiful! I have a standby egg casserole recipe that can be made ahead and tailored to any event - more on that below. Brunch is also great because you can easily buy donuts, bagels, croissants, or muffins to accompany it or you can make any kind of coffee cake or other bread items. I usually choose a couple of different breads and serve a fruit salad or platter as well as a vegetable dish. Depending on the season, I like asparagus & tomato salad or something like a hashbrown casserole or spinach casserole. Beverages are also simple - hot drinks (coffee, tea, and maybe hot chocolate) and cold drinks (1-2 juices and water).

A simple centerpiece of fresh cut flowers and/or candles dress up the table. And you can serve your brunch fare on china or any other pretty dishes - they don't have to match. I was given some beautiful glass plates with an area for the glass cup to sit. They are perfect for hosting brunch bridal showers. Pretty napkins or tea cups are other ways to add a little extra touch. The picture below is of a brunch shower my sisters and I threw for our sister-in-law this summer - 2 kinds of egg casserole, 2 coffeecakes, fruit salad, asparagus & tomato salad, and drinks. I made the juice into a punch by just adding some ginger ale.

Here are a few of my favorite brunch recipes:
Tomato & Asparagus Salad - great for summer brunches!
1 bunch asparagus, blanched and cut in 1/2 in. pieces
2 c. tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces (cherry, yellow, roma - whatever you have)

2 oz. olive oil
1 oz. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine asparagus & tomatoes in bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together and pour over vegetables. Gently toss and allow to marinate 1-2 hours before serving.
Serves 4-6

Egg Casserole - this is a very versatile casserole and I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like this. It's so easy that I often make two variations if we are having several people.
6 eggs
1 lb. sausage, bacon, OR ham
3 c. milk
8 oz. cheese
1 1/3 c. crushed crackers
1 tsp. mustard
pepper & salt*

Combine all ingredients. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes - 1 hour until golden brown.
*May not need salt if using a salty meat.
**May be made night before and refrigerated.
Variations: You can add spinach, mushrooms, onion, asparagus, peppers or whatever vegetables you like. One of my favorites is bacon, swiss, and spinach.

2 Cheese Spinach Casserole - this is easy and delicious
1 c. flour
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/2 sm. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tb. parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 c. monterey jack or cheddar cheese
1 - 10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach chopped, squeezed and dried

Saute butter, onion, and garlic. Combine all ingredients and transfer to a greased 8x8 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 min. uncovered.

I have many favorite muffin, bread, and coffee cake recipes, too. You can find a few of them on my recipe blog.

So next time you are planning a weekend event, think brunch. Nearly everyone loves breakfast and it's a simple way to share creative, beautiful food with little stress. And don't be afraid to take some help from the store with bagels and flavored cream cheese or whatever fits with your menu! Happy Brunching!


Happy Thursday, everyone! Thanks for stopping by Keeping Creative Kitchens! I'm looking forward to all your great ideas, recipes, and resources. Feel free to grab the button for your post - you don't have to know me to play along and you don't have to participate to comment or ask questions! :)

Here are just a few guidelines for participating in Keeping Creative Kitchens:
1) Leave a link to your post with Mr. Linky (I am fully aware that there will probably not be many - or any :) - participants but I think this will make participation easier!).
2) Your entry can include a new recipe (either your own creation or a new-to-you-recipe), favorite recipe, success, tablescape/centerpiece, short-cut, ingredient, tradition, book, magazine, tool or gadget, food photos, recipe website or any thing else that keeps you inspired in your kitchen.
3) Please link back here in your participating post.

Hope you have fun, meet new people, learn a few things, feel encouraged, and find inspiration as you prepare meals, care for your family, and entertain!


Heather L. said...

I love your asparagus salad!

stephanie said...

your entry is as always much more beautiful than mine, but I did participate! It's very uncreative, but I wanted to lend my support to your weekly venture.

Heather said...

ohhh - the asparagus salad sounds wonderful!