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Brunch... Simple & Scrumptious Recipes!

Contributed by: Faith Heinauer

Rise and shine sleepyheads! It's time for brunch. Brunch is casual entertaining at its finest - flexible, leisurely and unfussy. This menu can be made ahead of time so there are few last minute details to think about. Set up a buffet table the night before. In the morning, brew a fresh pot of java, put the cd player on rotate, and get ready to welcome your guests to the best meal of the day.

Sunrise Mimosa

Your guests will love sipping on this champagne cocktail. It's a combination of fruity apricot nectar, a sunny splash of orange juice and is topped off with a little bubbly.

This sparkling concoction is adaptable. Vary the cocktail with pineapple, mango, strawberry or passion fruit juices.

  • 1 Tablespoon apricot nectar
  • 1 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/4 cup champagne or `mock' champagne

Pour the apricot nectar and orange juice into a champagne flute.

Slowly pour in the champagne.

Garnish, if desired, with an orange slice or two raspberries.

Serves 1 Banana Coconut Crunch Muffins

You'll go bananas for this moist muffin topped with brown sugar, coconut and pecans.

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 large bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Topping Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup coconut, shredded
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon cream

Preheat oven to 350.

Line 16 muffin cups with paper liners (or grease and flour 16 muffin cups).

In a small bowl, sift or stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter for one minute. Add sugar and mix for 30 seconds. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and bananas. Mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture. Mix until combined, making sure to scrape down sides of bowl.

Spoon the batter into 16 muffin cups.

Bake for 16 - 18 minutes, until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of a muffin.

While muffins are cooking, prepare topping. In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, coconut, pecans, butter and cream together. I mix the ingredients with my hands to make sure that the topping is an even consistency. A mixer works just as well.

Remove muffins. Keep oven on, and spread topping over hot muffins. Place muffins back in the oven for 3 minutes (to cook the topping).

Remove muffins, and with back of spoon, spread the topping to edges (if topping is not already at edges).

Let cool 30 minutes, giving the icing a chance to harden.

This recipe can be made ahead, and actually tastes just as good the third day as it did the first. But, sadly, it will never make it to day three - too yummy. Enjoy.

Serves 16

Cheddar Cheese Strata

Shred a little cheese, break a lotta eggs, make strata tonight. This egg-cellent dish is prepared the night before, so you can rise, shine and dine.

  • 1 pound ground sausage or 1 cup faux sausage
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups of whole milk
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 8-ounce package mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 8-ounce package frozen asparagus spears, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 8 cups sourdough or italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

Meat:

Cook sausage, drain and set aside to cool.

or

Vegetarian:

Cut sausage into small pieces and set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together: eggs, milk, flour, butter, mustard, salt, thyme and pepper.

Stir in sausage, mushrooms, asparagus, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese and bread.

Pour ingredients into an ungreased 9 x 13 pan (preferably glass). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The following morning, preheat oven to 350. Bake strata in middle of oven for one hour. Serves 8

Below are some alternative strata suggestions. Be creative, combine ingredients that are in the fridge, or are at the peak of the produce season.

White cheddar, garlic and sun dried tomatoes

Spinach, red pepper and feta cheese

Bacon, swiss and onion

Faith Heinauer is a chef, cookbook author, columnist, and the creative force behind her website, http://www.breakeggs.com. Sign up for tasty bi-weekly newsletter!


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