I'm a little too distracted this week to pull together a proper meal plan yet, because via text messages with my sister-in-laws I sort of accidentally volunteered to host Easter brunch this Sunday. And by accidentally I mean, I offered to host. One sister-in-law is in the midst of a kitchen remodel and the other has business travel late Sunday afternoon, so neither was up for hosting. On a whim, I invited our new neighbors who just relocated from Michigan to join us too. The more the merrier, right?
Now, on the eve of Easter I need an easy Easter brunch menu to serve 15, both adults and kids, that still gives me time to hang out with my own family on Easter morning too. Here's my menu, plus my strategies for an easy last-minute brunch.
Here's the what my last-minute Easter menu requires: The ingredients must be readily available at my grocery store because I'm only braving one supermarket on the Saturday before a holiday. The recipes should either be hands-off or make-ahead, and they have to be tasty enough to impress the neighbors but ordinary enough not to scare off my father in-law.
When I host brunches or dinners I tend to stick with a "more of less" philosophy that has never failed me, so instead of serving eight or 10 dishes, I pick five or six and make larger quantities of them. Also, some store-bought shortcuts will fill out the menu.
I admit that deviled eggs aren't one of my favorite appetizers, but we have a boatload of eggs for dyeing anyway, so why not devil a few? I plan on peeling and halving the eggs the night before, making the filling and storing the filling in a zip-top bag that I can use to fill the eggs the next day.
Read more: Deviled Eggs: The Make-Ahead Game Plan
I'm considering this to be my kid-friendly snack before we eat. I'm expecting my nieces and nephews to arrive on the tail-end of a jelly bean-induced sugar high and don't expect them all to be up for devouring deviled eggs. These can be made a day in advance.
Pitcher cocktails are my best friend because I don't have to mix individual cocktails, and guests can also help themselves. This one is make-ahead and relatively low-alcohol. My sister-in-law is bringing sweet tea and lemonade for the kids.
I cannot overstate how much I love this recipe. No need to heat up the whole house warming a ham, and the store-bought ham improves considerably in flavor and texture in the slow cooker. I also plan on making a tray of mustards and pickles so folks can build ham biscuit sandwiches.
A bread roll or biscuit just always seems to round out a menu, but in this case biscuits are a vehicle for ham, pickles, and mustard while we run around collecting eggs. I'm actually going to try mixing up the biscuits and freezing the dough a few days in advance, and then I'll put them in the oven just after everyone arrives.
Roasting asparagus is the easiest way to cook asparagus for a crowd. This recipe is amazing, as the lemon and pepper and olive oil make you feel like you are eating hollandaise without actually making any.
Don't be fooled by it's fancy name — these breakfast polenta squares are a breakfast casserole at its finest. Make-ahead casseroles are great for hosting. Assemble this one the night before and bake it off the next morning. It can be served warm, but also tastes great at room temperature.
I fell in love with this no-filler-fruit mango and papaya fruit salad as soon as Hali shared it. I'm not counting on finding papaya at my local grocery chain, but I love the idea of choosing two fruits — fingers crossed for mangos and strawberries on sale this weekend — and dressing them with honey and citrus juice. I'm already buying limes for the breakfast sangria anyway.
Okay, I'm going to be honest and tell you that I fully intend to buy a few cake layers from the bakery at my supermarket and turn them into a bunny cake. You know the one — bunny face with the big ears and bow-tie. My mom always made this cake for us growing up and I want to share that tradition with my own children, but with all the other preparations for brunch, I'm buying dessert. If I had time, though, this one-bowl yogurt cake dressed with strawberries would be just the thing to serve.
Still need a regular meal plan for the week ahead? Here are a few past meal plans to inspire you.