Dreaming of Brunch: Three Steps to the Perfect Brunch Menu

What better day to talk about brunch than a Monday?  Mondays are the worst, and this Monday is a little worse than normal because I had to wake up at 4 a.m. to get to O’Hare by 6:15 so I could fly to DC for work.  I’ll only be gone for three days, but grabbing a banana at the airport is a rough way to start the week.

It may be true that going to brunch is the old person’s version of going out, but I’m pretty comfortable with that.  I have a lot of grandmotherly habits that I also enjoy without shame.  Like falling asleep after one drink.  Always wanting to be home by 10 p.m.  Getting aches in my bones when the weather changes.  Spending my clothing budget on cardigans.  BUT anyway — I LOVE BRUNCH.  And I think you probably do too.  What’s not to love?

There’s really nothing better than an unscheduled morning and a delicious brunch.  If you invite me to brunch at your favorite restaurant, I will always say yes.  I just don’t say no to brunch.  But here’s the thing:  I would so rather cook for you than go out.  The best brunch places have lines a mile long, and sometimes you feel a lot of pressure to eat quickly and leave as soon as you can because of all the hungry brunch-wanting zombies staring at you from the waiting areas.  It’s never as relaxing as I imagine it to be.

But here’s the real reason I’d rather eat brunch at home:  I do not want an entire plate of pancakes.  I do not want three slices of french toast.  I want a few bites of sweet, a few bites of savory, a little saltiness, and something healthy.  And I don’t want to wait for coffee refills.  My ideal brunch menu is perfectly balanced and full of interesting bites.  I don’t want to feel stuffed when I leave, but I want to be full and happy.

The Formula for a Perfect At-Home Brunch

You may have to do the dishes, but making brunch in your own kitchen is the best way to relax.  If you need more coffee, just make a fresh pot!  You don’t even have to wear shoes!  Just choose three items from different categories:  1 sweet + 1 savory + 1 meat + 1 fruit.  Bonus points if you combine the categories, like a savory breakfast casserole that includes your breakfast meat or a warm fruit crisp that combines your sweet item and your fruit.

Here are some sample menus, which all sound delicious and provide me with that perfect balance of sweet, savory, salty (and give me enough fruit and protein to actually make it through the day):

  • Cranberry scones with peppered bacon (meat and savory) and mixed berries.
  • Pumpkin loaf (or banana bread or really any kind of loaf) with  baked apples, scrambled goat cheese eggs and turkey sausages.
  • Homemade biscuits with fancy jam, sausage patties, and fruit salad.
  • Homemade biscuits with sausage gravy and warm spiced peaches.
  • Blueberry crisp (fruit and sweet) with honey-vanilla Greek yogurt and turkey bacon.
  • Lemon-blueberry pancakes and turkey bacon.
  • And, our current personal favorite:  a dutch-baby pancake with goat-cheese frittata and sliced strawberries.

Are you a brunch maker or do you love going out for a weekend treat?  Or both?  There’s no shame in both!  If you have a favorite breakfast/brunch item to make at home, share in the comments!


This post is number 27 of my #write31days project 31 Days in the Pink-Briefcase Kitchen. You can follow along with the series each day in October. An archive of posts is available here, or just click on that big button on the right sidebar.



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