Brunch Party Game Plan

Host a fabulous midmorning fete with these brunch dish and beverage recipes (plus a plan for getting them ready without skimping on shuteye).

Rise and shine! Planning a brunch buffet party shouldn't mean waking up before sunrise to prepare all of your food. Use our game plan to get your dishes ready or partially prepared in advance, so you can rest easy — and maybe even sleep in.

Everyone loves eggs in the morning — especially on a weekend. Make a giant batch by cooking an egg strata; it can be assembled the night before and baked in the morning.

If your strata is heavy on the bread and you're still looking for an egg entree, a frittata is easy to make for a crowd. Prepare all of your non-egg ingredients the night before and your cooking time in the morning will be minimal. If you cook your frittata early the morning-of, just keep it warm in a low-temperature oven or serve it at room temperature.

While your eggs are baking, you'll find yourself with some time to focus on another breakfast-time favorite: meats! Instead of tending to bacon, ham and sausage on the stovetop, just lay them out on a baking sheet and slip into the oven along with your egg dish.

Next, fire up your griddle or waffle iron, and mix the batter while your appliance is heating — the hotter, the better. Keep waffles or pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet on top of the warm oven until ready to serve.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©Â 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, Â 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

If you'd prefer to skip the pancakes and waffles, baking muffins the night before will give you a shorter to-do list when morning arrives. You can serve them at room temperature, or briefly toast or reheat them in the oven. Either way, lay out some butter and jam on the side.

For a light no-cook accompaniment, cut up some fruit salad at the last minute, or ask a friend to come over a little early and ask him or her to handle the fruit-cutting. Pick something as simple as sliced bananas and strawberries, or go with something more elaborate to make it a main attraction on your buffet. 

Last, but certainly not least: some much-deserved weekend-morning beverages. Fruit juice-based drinks such as mimosas and Bellinis are easy for guests to make themselves. If your guests are Bloody Mary devotees, set up a DIY station with olives, celery, horseradish and all.

A brunch party means your guests will most likely want coffee and tea — and lots of it. If you're having a large crowd, borrow a large thermal coffee dispenser so you don't have to keep making a fresh pot from your regular coffee maker. Keep the drinks separate from the food so everyone doesn't jam up in one area. 

Even if your party is an informal sit-where-you-like gathering, some sunny flowers on your buffet table will be a welcome sight first thing in the morning.

Grab a plate of eggs, a few pancakes and a tall mimosa — and enjoy! And then after cleanup, maybe get back into bed.

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