Monday, June 17, 2013

A how-to: 100% make-ahead brunch menu

We entertained some friends this past Saturday morning at 11:30 in the morning.  Would you believe that I hardly lifted a finger that morning, instead enjoying a very calm and stress-free morning before they arrived?

I used to not like putting on brunches because it meant a frenetic weekend morning – and who wants that?!  But no more!  I found three recipes that can all be made ahead of time, making for a lovely, stress-free entertaining day.

Here’s the menu:

Fruit parfaits (assembled the evening before and refrigerated until ready to serve):


Veggie and with-meat stradas (also assembled the day before and refrigerated overnight until ready to bake):


Break-apart cinnamon yeast rolls (easily assembled the evening before and left to rise overnight, then baked in the morning):


Unfortunately, I haven’t been back in the blogging mindset long enough to have taken photos as I put everything together. A year or two ago I would have taken photos of the entire process and blogged it immediately.  Be patient with me; I’m hobbling back slowly!

I’ll cheat and use a few links – just this once.  Here you go, the “recipe” for each item – and I use the term “recipe” lightly here!

The fruit parfaits are made with:

  • Assorted berries – fresh in the summer, frozen in the winter


  • Fit and Light Yogurt (or any vanilla yogurt)image
  • Granola


As you can see, all you need to do is layer the ingredients in parfait (or any clear) glasses, beginning with the granola, then followed by the yogurt, and topped with the berries.  I had set aside a gorgeous raspberry to put on top of a “spritz of spritz” (a dollop of whipped cream) at the last minute, but I totally forgot to do that… since I was so relaxed perhaps?!

I assembled the parfaits at about 10 PM the evening before.  You don’t want them “brewing” for too long.

For the strada, I just followed the basics of any strada recipe (here’s one), altering the ingredients to include the veggies I wanted to use (mushrooms, spinach, onions, red peppers).  I added cooked breakfast sausage to one so I could offer both a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian version. This took me about 30 – 40 minutes to prepare the afternoon before our get-together.  In a nutshell, you layer bread in a casserole, add some sautéed veggies, pour an egg/milk mixture over everything, cover it, and set it in the fridge overnight.

After you bake it the next morning, it looks something like this:

I posted all about the pull-apart rolls here.


About 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (actually, I "rollerpin" them in a sandwich bag)
About 15 frozen yeast dinner rolls
About 1/2 package (3.4 oz) butterscotch instant pudding mix
About 1/2 cup brown sugar
About 1/2 cup melted butter
About 2 t. cinnamon

For this, I have step-by-step pics!

"Chop" the nuts until they're just the right size for a coffee cake topping. As my mother would say, "Dass fuelt man." (One feels when it's right.)

Place the chopped nuts in the bottom of your greased bundt pan.

Place the frozen rolls over the nuts. I put down one row, then added a few more rolls on top of that.

Sprinkle the pudding mix evenly over the frozen rolls.

Melt the butter...

Add the brown sugar...

...and the cinnamon...

...and pour that gooey, luscious mixture over the rolls, trying to moisten the butterscotch powder.

Cover the whole thing with a towel and let sit overnight. (I put the pan in the bathroom. Why? I don't know; it's a tradition. Whenever we need yeast to rise, like on Thanksgiving, there's a towel-covered bundt pan in the bathroom. It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving around here without a towel-covered bundt pan in the bathroom.)
Get up in the morning and shuffle into the bathroom. You will be greeted by this:

Before you have coffee (but after you pee), stick the pan in a pre-heated 350 degree over and set the timer to 25 minutes.
When the timer goes off, you'll be greeted by this:

Let cool slightly, then turn upside-down onto a plate and observe with all your senses!

In the morning you’ll be greeted by stradas that are ready to bake, rolls that are ready to bake (you could probably bake them together, but I baked the rolls first and then the strada; budget about 1 1/2 to 2 hours for all the baking if you do it that way), and parfaits that are sitting in the fridge, ready to go.  I set the table outside in the morning…


…but if we had eaten inside I could have gotten that done in the morning, too.

Even the coffee can be pre-programmed to be ready in the morning! (Don’t forget to put out some Kahlua!)

The mimosas, though, will need to be made when you want them – and yes, before noon is acceptable!  Hey, a simple mixing of champagne and orange juice isn’t too much to do on the morning of your event, is it?

Have fun – and let me know how things turned out for you!

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1 comment:

Margaret said...

What a fantastic looking feast? I'm particularly interested in those cinnamon rolls and the strada. (no red peppers for me though) I'm not a fan of mimosas or Kahlua--just straight coffee for me!

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