Have brunch at home

The concept of an elaborate weekend meal combining breakfast and lunch has been around for a while. The word brunch made the Oxford English Dictionary all the way back in 1896. It became popular in the United States in the 1930s, possibly thanks to celebrities traveling by train. Hotels quickly jumped on the trend because restaurants were closed on Sundays in many places. Interest in brunch has waxed and waned over the decades, but there’s no question that HBO’s “Sex and the City” increased interest in a lavish, often boozy brunch on weekends. Sunday is still the most popular day, but Saturday is an option in many places.

Of course, that popularity means that it can be hard to get a table.  Instead of fighting the crowds on the weekend, make brunch at home! Make-ahead options that can sit in the fridge overnight and bake while the cocktails are mixed are the solution to cooking at home without getting up with the roosters. Make any (or all!) of these options the night before and chill. These dishes are all savory, but there are plenty of sweet options like baked French toast, bread puddings studded with berries and classic coffee cakes.  Add some mimosas, bloody Marys, a big bowl of fresh fruit (buy it!), pastries (buy them!) and a green salad and you’ve got a great brunch with minimal work and no waiting in line while your stomach growls!

Leek Quiche for brunch
Leek Quiche
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Leek Quiche
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Servings Prep Time Cook Time
8servings 30 50minutes
Servings Prep Time
8servings 30
Cook Time
50minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen 9” pie shell
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped leeks white and light green parts only
  • 11/2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 11/4 cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
  • 1 frozen 9” pie shell
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped leeks white and light green parts only
  • 11/2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 11/4 cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400.
  2. Thaw pie crust for 15 minutes. Prick all over with a fork and bake in hot oven for 15 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven to 325.
  4. Cut the tough green part of the leeks away and discard. Split leeks lengthwise, trim off the root end and wash thoroughly. They can have sand several inches up the stalk! Fan the layers out under running water until clean.
  5. Melt butter in a medium skillet. Add leeks, plus salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook over low heat until very soft, stirring occasionally. This should take about 15 minutes.
  6. While the leeks cook, whisk the eggs, cream, thyme, cayenne, ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Once those are combined, whisk in cheese.
  7. Spread cooked leeks over par-baked pie shell. If the shell has cracked, patch it with a paste of flour and water to avoid any of the bad kind of leaks.
  8. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Check for doneness after 40 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Quiche can be served hot, warm, room temperature and reheated from baked and chilled the day before a brunch. You can also cook the leeks, par-bake the shell and make the custard the night before, assemble and bake in the morning. Make sure to whisk the custard thoroughly before adding to the shell. If all the ingredients are fridge cold, baking may take a few extra minutes. To go crustless, butter a 9-inch pie pan on the bottom and sides. Sprinkle ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs across the bottom before adding the leeks and custard.

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Spinach and Cheese Strata
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Strata means layers, and this delicious casserole is made up of layers of bread, cheese, spinach and eggs. It’s a delightful vegetarian brunch dish. If desired, you could add cooked, crumbled bacon to the layers, but it’s absolutely not necessary.
Spinach and Cheese Strata
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Strata means layers, and this delicious casserole is made up of layers of bread, cheese, spinach and eggs. It’s a delightful vegetarian brunch dish. If desired, you could add cooked, crumbled bacon to the layers, but it’s absolutely not necessary.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
8servings 30minutes 60minutes 12 hours
Servings Prep Time
8servings 30minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
60minutes 12 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 bag frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups Chopped Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 8 pound cups cubed Italian or French bread about ¾
  • 1 cup Shredded Gruyere or Swiss Cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Gouda
  • 9 Large Eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups light cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
  • 1 bag frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups Chopped Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 8 pound cups cubed Italian or French bread about ¾
  • 1 cup Shredded Gruyere or Swiss Cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Gouda
  • 9 Large Eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups light cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. If possible, place frozen spinach in a strainer over a bowl and refrigerate overnight before assembling the strata. Press thawed spinach against the strainer to squeeze water out. Then wrap spinach in cheesecloth or paper towels to extract as much liquid as possible.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Saute onion until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and spinach and cook 5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Butter a 9x13 pan or other large casserole dish.
  5. Spread 1/3 of the bread cubes in the prepared pan. Top with 1/3 of the spinach. Sprinkle with 1/3 of cheese. Repeat twice so that cheese is on the top.
  6. Whisk eggs with cream, mustard and seasonings. Carefully pour over the layered ingredients.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Heat oven to 325. Bake, uncovered, about 75 minutes, until puffy and golden. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Start checking after 60 minutes, especially if the strata didn’t come straight from the refrigerator.
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Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole
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Sausage and Cheddar Breakfast Casserole
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Servings Prep Time Cook Time Passive Time
8servings 40minutes 60minutes 12 hours
Servings Prep Time
8servings 40minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
60minutes 12 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped
  • 1 large loaf sourdough bread cut into cubes (remove the crusts if you like)
  • 8 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded (mix white and yellow!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 2 cups half and half or light cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
Servings: servings
Units:
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped
  • 1 large loaf sourdough bread cut into cubes (remove the crusts if you like)
  • 8 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded (mix white and yellow!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 6 Large Eggs
  • 2 cups half and half or light cream
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Butter a 9x13 baking dish or other large casserole dish. Cooking spray works too.
  2. Melt one tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Brown the sausage, breaking up as necessary so that it’s fairly uniform in size. Remove from pan.
  3. Saute chopped onion in the pan drippings until soft and translucent.
  4. Combine bread cubes, cooked sausage and onions, chopped parsley and grated cheese in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Toss to combine and spread evenly in prepared pan.
  6. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half or cream, salt and peppers. Pour over the bread mixture in the casserole. At this stage, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Heat the oven to 350. Let the casserole stand at room temp while the oven heats. Bake for one hour. Start checking for doneness after 45 minutes – it will be puffy and golden brown. Serve immediately.
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