Make-Ahead Easter Brunch Menu by Maria Russo in Family, Holidays, March 30th, 2013
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It’s Easter morning, your kids have just finished opening their baskets and guests should be arriving for brunch in a few hours. What comes next is the mad holiday dash that inevitably involves tidying the house, setting the table and quickly prepping, cooking and serving a meal, all while attempting to enjoy the morning with your family. Sounds like Easter Sunday at your home, right?
This year, instead of settling for a hectic holiday, look to already made dishes to pull off a stress-free celebration. The secret to easy entertaining is doing as much of the prep work as possible before the day of the event so you can enjoy the party like a guest and not as a frenzied host. That means tonight is when to begin preparations for tomorrow’s brunch. Before you go to sleep, put together a few ready-to-go classics, then look forward to waking up to only the very last steps of cooking to complete. Check out Food Network’s favorite brunch standbys below to find crowd-pleasing recipes from Alton, Paula and Giada that can be made well in advance of tomorrow’s meal.
A deliciously gooey treat that kids and kids at heart will enjoy, Alton’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (pictured above) are a top-rated treat bursting with indulgent sweetness. After making a soft, moist dough from scratch, he wraps it around a center of buttery cinnamon sugar, then slices it into a dozen plump rolls. Let them chill in the refrigerator overnight, then bake them in the morning before finishing them with a thick spread of rich cream cheese icing. Watch this video to see Alton make them.
With a five-star rating and more than 2,300 user reviews, Paula’s French Toast Casserole (pictured right) is an easy, no-fail pick that delivers the traditional taste of skillet French toast but the simplicity of an all-in-one oven dish. Paula soaks French bread in a vanilla-scented custard overnight, then tops it with a mixture of butter-pecan topping and bakes it until cooked through. Just like traditional French toast, a slice of this casserole is best served with maple syrup for added sweetness and timeless flavor.
For a savory take on Easter brunch, try Giada’s Spinach and Pancetta Strata, a hearty bread-based bake featuring Italian bacon, garlic and timesaving frozen spinach. The key to making Giada’s recipe is giving the bread ample time to absorb the egg-milk mixture and become soft, which is why it’s best if you can prep the casserole at night and let it chill for up to 12 hours before baking. After just 40 minutes in the oven, the filling of nutty Parmesan cheese will have melted and the bread slightly expanded with a warm golden-brown hue.
Visit Food Network’s Easter headquarters for more last-minute recipe ideas and entertaining tips.