Brunch is a special and satisfying way to start a cabin day with family and friends! Here are some delicious brunch recipes for the cabin.By Lisa Readie Mayer Sometimes it’s perfectly acceptable to line up the cereal boxes, plunk down a jug of milk, and call it breakfast. But occasionally – especially when you’re entertaining guests at the cabin – it’s nice to put some extra effort into the most important meal of the day. Stratas are a brunch staple, and for good reason. These egg-and-bread-based casseroles can be prepped the night before and baked in the morning, beckoning sleepyheads with their yummy aromas. They can be sweet, such as a fruit-studded, one-pan version of French toast, or savory when combined with veggies, cheese and/or breakfast meats.
Spinach and Cheese StrataThis Spinach and Cheese Strata pairs frozen spinach with rich Gruyère cheese, but can be upgraded by adding leftover chopped veggies, cubed ham or crumbled sausage. Serves 6 to 8 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of all excess liquid 1 ½ cups finely chopped onion (1 large) 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 8 cups French or Italian bread, cut in 1-inch cubes (1/2 lb.) 6 ounces coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (2 cups) 2 ounces finely grated parmesan (1 cup) 2 ¾ cups milk 9 large eggs 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Melt butter and sauté onion in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and nutmeg and continue cooking for one minute. Stir in spinach, remove from heat and set aside.
- Spread one third of the bread cubes in a well-buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other ceramic baking dish. Top with one-third of spinach mixture and one-third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice with remaining bread, spinach and cheese.
- Whisk eggs, milk, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Cover with plastic wrap and chill strata for at least 8 hours or up to a day.
- The next day, let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 350°F. Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Peanut Butter Overnight OatsOvernight oatmeal is another easy crowd-pleaser, with no cooking necessary. Simply combine equal parts old-fashioned oats and either milk, nut milk, or yogurt in one large bowl (or, fancy-up the presentation with single-serving mason jars!) and refrigerate it overnight. Berries, sliced banana, chopped apples, mango, shredded coconut, nuts, peanut butter, cinnamon, honey, maple syrup or other mix-ins can be added before refrigerating. Or, set out a fixin’s bar in the morning and let guests customize their own. Here oats, chia seeds, and milk get creamy sweetness from peanut butter, banana and honey. Serves 2 1 cup old-fashioned oats 1 cup low-fat milk 1 teaspoon chia seeds ½ teaspoon vanilla 1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ cup sliced banana ¼ cup creamy peanut butter 1 tablespoon honey
- Place oats in container of choice and pour in milk.
- Mix in vanilla, chia seeds and cinnamon. Add a layer of banana slices, top with peanut butter and drizzle with honey.
- Refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning.
Spicy Chocolate Chai TeaA pot of coffee or tea would accompany this menu just fine, but with a little extra effort you can pull together Spicy Chocolate Chai Tea. Spiced tea is blended with cocoa, sugar and milk for a chocolatey version of this classic aromatic drink. Starting the day in such a special and satisfying way might even get you off the hook for lunch! Serves 3 ¾ cup boiling water 6 spiced chai tea bags 1½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 2 tablespoons sugar 2 cups whole milk 3 cinnamon sticks Whipped cream, optional
- Pour boiling water over tea bags in a saucepan and let them steep 5 minutes.
- Remove tea bags and squeeze out excess tea from bags.
- Stir in cocoa and sugar and cook until dissolved or just until mixture comes to a boil.
- Stir in milk and continue to simmer until mixture is thoroughly heated.
- Pour into cups and garnish with cinnamon sticks and whipped cream, if desired.
Recipe & photo courtesy Bigelow Tea, bigelowtea.com