Spring Break Breakfast Buffet & Entertaining Ideas

Through Easter Sunday on April 21st, schools are closing and people (families with young kids as well as college students) are traveling for Spring Break. If you’re lucky enough to play host to your grandkids, nieces and nephews or just good friends, you’re going to need some breakfast ideas.

I say this because it’s hard to get in the car and bring home donuts, when your driveway is blocked by Aunt Edna’s SUV. You may have to lay out a buffet for those in the group with other plans – like a family member who didn’t get time off and is on their way to work. Here’s a full proof menu for everyone – especially the adults who need to be well nourished before they head to Disney, the park, or the beach.

My Maple Hazelnut scones from Canvas and Cuisine are yummy. You can make them ahead and bake them in 20 minutes, so they are warm out of the oven.  The artichoke and fennel strata (same cookbook) is a perfect brunch dish, and it goes great with SUNDAY BEST candied bacon.

You can prep the bacon the day before. Dredge it in brown sugar. Put it on the oven rack and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or more, depending on thickness of bacon. Make a lot!

Flatbread breakfast bar

Lay out some flour tortillas and bowls of scrambled eggs and/or chopped veggies, herbs, sour cream and guac for a flat bread breakfast bar.

I recommend Bloody Marys for the drinks! Use Charleston Bloody Mary mix and pickled okra for garnish. You can find both the drink mix and jars of okra at most grocery stores.

An Idea for Grandparents with Kids Underfoot

On an idle day, when there’s not much planned and the little ones seem restless, work on rock painting together. You can pick up a rock painting kit with as many as 7 stones inside for a pittance at places like Target or Hobby Lobby. Have the kids paint up a storm, and then leave behind one of their personalized rocks at each place you tour or visit during their vacay! When they return next year, you can always check to see if it’s still there!

Maple Frosted Hazelnut Scones

makes 12 scones

30 minute cuisine

For Scones:

½ cup old-fashioned oats

½ cup hazelnuts

2 ¾ cups pastry flour

1/3 cup natural cane sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces

¾ cups heavy cream

1 large egg

For Frosting:

4 cups confectioners’ sugar

¼ cup milk

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 tablespoons maple extract

1 tablespoon brewed coffee

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the oats and hazelnuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to finely chop. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl. Pulse to combine. Add 1 cup butter pieces to the bowl. Pulse to form coarse crumbs. Whisk together the milk and egg. With the machine running, pour the liquid through the feed tube. The dough will come together around the blade.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board. The dough will be sticky and that’s okay! You can add a bit more flour to make the dough easier to handle while you use your hands to form the dough into a rectangle about ¾-inch thick and about 8-inches by 9-inches. Use a knife to cut the dough into 6 rectangles. Cut each rectangle into 2 triangles. Use a spatula to transfer each triangle onto 1 large or 2 smaller parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until the scones puff up and just begin to turn golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool scones on the baking sheet.

For the frosting, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, milk, melted butter and maple extract. You want the frosting to be thick but pourable. Drizzle the frosting on the scones. Store scones in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

 

Artichoke and Fennel Strata

serves 6 to 8

40 minute prep, at least 2 hours to chill, about an hour to bake

1 tablespoon olive oil

8 ounces mild Italian sausage (if you buy these in links, remove the casings)

1 small fennel bulb, tops trimmed, cored and chopped, about ¾ cup

1 (16-ounce) loaf brioche bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 (14-ounce can) marinated artichoke hearts, drained, squeeze dry and chopped

8 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated, about 1 cup

2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated, about ½ cup

4 to 5 green onions, thinly sliced, about ½ cup

1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage and fennel. Cook until the sausage is browned and crumbly and the fennel is soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Place half of the bread cubes into a large baking dish that has been coated with vegetable oil spray. Cover the bread with sausage and fennel. Top with artichokes. Place the remaining bread cubes over the top.

Whisk together the eggs and milk in a large bowl. Stir in the cheeses, green onion, mustard, parsley and herbes de Provence. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Pour this custard over the bread cubes. Push down the top bread so that all the ingredients are completely submerged in the liquid. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or as much as overnight; this will allow the bread to absorb all the liquid and the flavors to merge together.

When you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350°. Take the strata from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap. Cover the strata with aluminum foil. Bake until the strata begins to set around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the strata is puffy and golden, about 20 to 30 minutes more. Let the strata rest for 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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