Food — Feeding A Crowd The Morning After

What is the breakfast  of champions? The one that doesn’t require too much work

By Amy Diaz 

You did it—you pulled off the ultimate holiday coup.

You convinced your visiting friends and family that the very best Thanksgiving dinner is the one nobody has to make or clean up after. And, even though it will mean a slightly smaller gift-giving allowance, it will also mean a year where everybody gets to enjoy a satisfying holiday meal without you having to mince anything.

There is, however, a trade off to all this bliss—breakfast. At some point this holiday season, you’ll be forced to serve an actual sit down hearty breakfast.

Nobody with relatives makes it to January without cooking at least one big meal.

The good news is that breakfast is one of the better meals to snag. Nobody’s looking to stuff themselves and side dishes—fruit, toast,yogurt with granola—help fill out the menu without adding a lot of extra prep time.

Luckily, breakfast allows for a variety of items which can be purchased months in advance and kept in the pantry just in case the need for a big morning meal suddenly appear (“what do you mean the snow will keep you from leaving this morning?”).

Breakfast items to keep on the shelf:

• Jam (blueberry, raspbarry or strawberry)

• Exotic sounding jam (raspberry peach Champagnejam from Stonewall Kitchen fits this description nicely but you can also try lemon marmalade or jams flavors spiced with giner).

• Granola

• Frozen blueberries

• Meatless sausages or breakfast patties

• One pot’s worth (often sold in single serving packs) of French roast coffee.

• Hot sauce (Tabasco or similar)

• Bran cereal (flakes or sticks)

In addition, if you think breakfast entertaining is imminent, be sure to have on hand:

• At least a dozen eggs

• Flour

• Sugar

• Cheese (something that melts well, such as cheddar, Montery jack or pepper jack)

• Honey

• tortillas

• Fruits (grapes plus maybe grapefruit and some kind of melon)

• Bread for toasting (wheat or rye slices or a French or Italian bread that will slice without tearing)

Jam and toast provide a good side dish and having two jam choices helps ensure that even finnicky eaters will have something to snack on.

Yogurt with honey and granola also provides a healhty, protien packed addition to breakfast that also serves as a non-doughnut-y dessert item for this morning meal.

Meatless sausages and patties, most of which are made of soy plus some combination of vegetables, can be relatively low in fat, high in protein, tasty enough for meat eaters but provide a meatless option for vegeterian guests. Also, they are usually frozen and keep for a while.

Along with cut up fruit, these side dishes can help bulk up a breakfast spread, thus limiting the time intensive dishes to only one or two.

Pancakes provide a nice homemade dish option. Through they require constant pouring and flipping, this is a task that can easily be pushed on an untrained relative. A fancier variation (yet one that requires less kitchen help) is the waffle. Because they can be left to cook for about five minutes on their own, they can actually be a handy food to prepare while you are chopping and slicing for another dish. Mix up the waffle section by diving the batter into thre portions.

Make one batch of plain waffles (especially if your guests are under 10, you will want to have waffles or pancakes free of additives). In one of the portions add about 1/3 cup of grated cheese to the batter and then cook. In the other, add frozen blueberrys. (Both the cheese and the blueberries are handy additions to breakfast foods—the blueberries to pancakes, waffles, muffins, scones and coffee cake; the cheese to scrambled eggs, omlets, fritatas and other dishes.)

If you’d rather go the eggy route, scrambled eggs are not only easy to make but provide a good base for more exotic sounding but not necessarily harder to prerpare dishes. Add grated cheese to nearly cookied scrambled eggs. Once cooked, serve eggsalong with warm tortillas, hot suace and sauteed onions and peppers so guests can prepare their own breakfast tacos.

Cooking for a really large crowd? Keep food warm in an oven set at 200 degrees or less. Keep in mind that bready dishes (pancakes, waffles) will last longer than egg-based ones (scrambled eggs, omlets) which will dry out easier).

Below are a few more dishes to feed your hungry morning guests.

- Amy Diaz

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