Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Is A Fancy Christmas Dinner Impossible This Year? Try A Lovely Brunch Instead

By Angela Tyler

There are many reasons why a family would plan a Christmas brunch instead of dinner. Perhaps they celebrate with several families at different locations and don't want to sit down for two big meals. Maybe brunch fits in perfectly with plans for church, or they will be traveling home and need to leave early during the day.

If you are considering your family's budget, big sit-down dinners tend to be more expensive than even the nicest brunch. The menu for a big dinner will normally include a large meat main course, numerous side dishes, and many fancy desserts and candies. The beverages served during a formal sit-down dinner in the evening will typically include fancy drinks, wine, and after dinner drinks. In other words, a big dinner can add up to a lot of money.

If your family needs to trim the Christmas budget, travel to more than one household for dinner, or leave early in the day for another location, celebrating together with a brunch instead of dinner may help solve your dilemma. Let's take a look at how we can host a brunch that is not only convenient, but fun, frugal, and delicious.

Brunch Casserole - Probably one of the most familiar and popular dishes for brunch, there are countless recipes from which to choose. Most begin with some sort of potato like hash browns, or bread. To that you add your layers of anything like sausage, ham, green pepper, cheese, and egg. This assemblage is refrigerated overnight, then baked in the morning and served hot. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you choose.

Skillet Dish - If you've ever had a Frittata then you know what a skillet meal is like. For brunch, you want to make the Frittata using a variety of breakfast-like foods. Starting with some hash browns or rice, you would fry that up with whatever sausage or ham you like, maybe some vegetables, then pour the egg over and let it set up. Cover it with some shredded cheddar cheese and you have a complete meal in a skillet.

Muffin Tin Meal - Make individual little pot pie style dishes by forming a crust in the muffin tin with some refrigerator biscuits. Mix up some egg, hash browns, cooked sausage or bacon, or any other breakfast foods you like, and fill the cups. Bake them and serve them warm. These are not only cute and delicious, but you can make a variety so everyone can have something a little different.

Omelets - This item on your menu won't work for you if you don't want to cook while you have guests in your house. If your kitchen is far removed from the area where your family and friends will be mingling, you probably wouldn't want to prepare omelets. However, if your house is set up with an open kitchen dining room area where you'll be gathering right around the cooking area, then you may find this fun. Be sure to get all your prep work done well in advance so that you are ready. Wash and chop all the veggies you are using in the omelets and get the assembly line well organized so you don't miss a beat.

A wide variety of food should be planned for your brunch in order for your guests to walk around and sample a little bit here, a little bit there. Brunches are meant to be casual with a lot of mingling and mixing. Don't forget to get the coffee started early. Have a choice of coffee and tea, as well as nice pitchers filled with milk, juice, and water on the table. You can forget about the fancy desserts, but a few cookies would certainly be nice.

You don't need to spend a lot of time or a lot of money on a nice Christmas get together. These simple ideas for planning a brunch can help get your family together for a nice meal, without all the fuss. Enjoy your Christmas celebration!

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