(Family Features) – Gathering friends and family doesn’t need to be fancy. With its prime positioning between breakfast and lunch, brunch is a more casual and lighter alternative to the typical dinner party.
When charged with hosting a mid-day gathering, a little pre-planning can go a long way toward ensuring your brunch get-together is as simple as it is scrumptious.
Get creative with decor. When prepping your tablescape, think outside the box. Opt for unexpected serving dishes such as tartlet tins and vases, and transfer syrups and jams from their everyday containers to glass bowls or creamers. Fresh flowers and produce can add natural pops of color to the table and a bowl of fruit can make for an eye-catching centerpiece.
Plan a variety of dishes. Make sure you have a mix of both sweet and savory dishes on the menu that can please a wide variety of palates. Earmarking some recipes that can be made ahead, like pastries and casseroles, can be a simple way to avoid waking up extra early to prepare. Save the morning of your event for dishes that are best served fresh, like this Herbed Spanish Omelet, which features potatoes; fresh, spring herbs; and red onions, and packs protein, B-vitamins and cancer-protective phytochemicals.
Serve it buffet-style. Setting your spread out on the counter and allowing guests to help themselves not only makes it easier for the host to mingle, but it allows guests to customize their meals as they wish and gives the gathering a more casual vibe. Try themed stations, such as a coffee bar, parfait bar or bread bar, in addition to more traditional dishes to let guests take the customization to the next level.
For more brunch ideas and recipes, visit Culinary.net.
Herbed Spanish Omelet
Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced or shredded
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 large whole eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Salt, to taste (optional)
Fresh herb sprigs, for garnish (optional)
Place potatoes in large pan. Cover with water. Bring to boil and cook, uncovered, 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain well.
In deep, 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes and cook 5 minutes.
Combine whole eggs and egg whites. Stir in parsley, basil and chives. Season with salt, to taste, if desired. Pour mixture over potatoes in hot skillet. Reduce heat and cook, uncovered, about 10 minutes, or until bottom of omelet is golden.
If desired, brown top under toaster oven. Garnish with fresh herb sprigs, if desired.
Nutritional information per serving: 260 calories; 12 g total fat (2 g saturated fat); 28 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 2 g dietary fiber; 106 mg sodium.