Breakfast is probably the easiest meal to serve to a large group of people, partially because most people eat less at breakfast than at other meals, and also because you can get away with using fewer ingredients. Choose one central component that is quick and easy to prepare, then supplement it with a few simple side dishes to round out the meal.
When you need breakfast in a hurry, scramble a lot of eggs. You can cook a couple dozen eggs in less than 15 minutes if you have a very large pan. Plan to prepare about one egg per child and two eggs per teen or adult. Mix in salt, pepper and a little bit of milk to make the eggs fluffier. Add a handful of cheese just before the eggs set for additional flavor.
Putting together an egg casserole does not take much time; assemble casseroles the night before the breakfast to make the morning even easier. Casseroles usually take 40 to 60 minutes to bake, allowing you time to mingle with guests or get side dishes ready. Use a recipe that includes eggs, vegetables, a little cheese and either bread or flour to give it more substance. Season the casserole with fresh or dried herbs, or sprinkle a salad dressing mix into the eggs before cooking.
Serve oatmeal, farina or grits as the central component of an easy meal. Quick-cooking varieties should take no more than 10 minutes to prepare from start to finish. As the cereal cooks, put a variety of toppings in bowls. Ideas include nuts, dried fruit, chopped fresh fruit, brown sugar, cinnamon and milk.
Omelets to Order
Making omelets to order might seem impossible with a crowd, but it is not hard if you get your guests to do some of the work. The night before, chop fillings and put them in bowls. Include spinach, bell peppers, ham, cheese, fresh herbs and mushrooms. Instruct each of the guests to fill a quart-sized storage or freezer-quality zippered bag with up to 1/2 cup of desired fillings and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of beaten egg. Label the bags with their names using a permanent marker. To cook the omelets, immerse the sealed bags in simmering water for five to eight minutes, or until the eggs have set.
Put your oven to use preparing hot side dishes to serve alongside the main course of your breakfast. Rather than trying to toast enough bread for everyone in a two-slice or four-slice toaster, pull out an oven rack and lay slices directly on it. This method fits 20 slices or more in the oven at once. Breakfast meats also cook well in the oven, so you do not have to worry about cooking them in a pan on the stove. Set them on racks over baking sheets to catch any fat that drips off as they cook. Round out the meal with an assortment of whole fresh fruits and breakfast breads, such as bagels, muffins and croissants.
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- Food Network; Omelette for a Crowd; Paula Deen; 2007
- "Joy of Cooking"; Irma S. Rombauer; 2006
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images