Brunch at Home: Monkey Bread, Cheesy Potato Breakfast Casserole and other goodies

We’ve been busy going out a lot and missing a few of our regular brunch buddies so we decided to change things up a little this week and host brunch at our place. Through the week we invited some friends, I looked up some recipe ideas and then on Saturday we power cleaned the house to prepare.

When the day finally came around we woke up bright and early then set about to work. Although this is the first day of spring and it was beautifully sunny outside, the weather wasn’t quite as warm as it had been earlier in the week. If it had been a bit more temperate we would have loved to have brunch outside on the deck. Alas, Mother Nature did not agree, so we set up our table inside with some good coffee and warm treats to keep us warm.

Our friends started to arrive mid morning as I was still finishing up most of the brunch dishes so I started the table setup with a simple little Cheese Plate of some brie, olives and figs. Sadly I hadn’t thought of bread or crackers so I had to use the Ritz crackers I keep around just incase and some cheesy pita chips, not ideal but doable in a pinch. I also like to add a little pepper jam to the party as it complements the brie well.

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Cheese Plate, crackers, coffee and mimosas
When thinking up our brunch menu I like to plan for somethings to be ready quickly so guests can snack as other dishes finish. I had some Puff Pastry in the freezer so I thought it might be good to throw together a little Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Basil Pesto Puff Pastry Tart. Although I didn’t follow the homemade almond pesto part of the recipe it gave me a good starting point, and as my guests gobbled them up I don’t think anyone minded that I used jarred pesto as a substitute. Using store bought puff pastry as the base of a tart is a great way to do a fancy feeling, though simple to assemble treat when entertaining.
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Tomato, Goat Cheese and Basil Pesto Puff Pastry Tart

I had roasted some beets earlier in the week and thought they might be nice and refreshing amongst the other heavier items. They would have been a little lonely without some goat cheese and vinegar, so I threw this and a couple other things together for a Roasted Beet Salad.

The roasting of the beets is pretty simple: just wash well, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, wrap the beets in foil and then roast until you can pierce them with a fork maybe 50-75 minutes. After the beets are roasted you let them rest for at least 15-20 minutes in the foil then can easily peel them by just rubbing off the skins. I sliced them up and put them in tupperware until I want to use them.

This morning I took out the slices and layered them with nice slices or goat cheese. I dressed them with a little good Balsamic Vinegar on the plate, but also made a quick dressing on the side. This dressing had about a tablespoon of grainy mustard, a half tablespoon of maple syrup, a tablespoon of white wine vinegar, a half tablespoon of olive oil and a bit more Balsamic to round it out. A little orange zest and/or juice would also be good, but it was a nice dressing all the same. Finally the pretty looking lettuces that take up half the plate are just a simple 50/50 Spring mix from the grocery. All in all a dish that fit its role.

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Roasted Beet Salad

Monkey Bread was one dish requested by our friends that is a general crowd pleaser, so I dug up a basic Pioneer Woman recipe on Pinterest that I could alter a little for my preferences. The last time we had everyone over I went a little crazy with the butter which made for a particularly messy (though tasty) version. This time I tried to follow the proportions more closely, but took the biscuits down to two containers and the butter down to a half cup. I added about a half cup of combined chopped pecans and walnuts to the bottom of the bundt and sprinkled throughout the layers of cinnamon sugar coated biscuit segments. I also had a jar of honey layered with nuts, so I layered in a few tablespoons of that to add even more goodness.

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Monkey Bread with Chopped Nuts

All in all i was pretty pleased with the outcome as the cinnamon aroma permeated our home. I forgot to take a picture before everyone dug in, but it was pretty and wonderfully sweet and decadent. As you can see from the photo below some of our guests also greatly enjoyed the yummy Monkey Bread.

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One thing I really wanted to try was a little Cheesy Potato Breakfast Casserole I thought would be a great hearty and savory dish for the morning. I went ahead and cooked the hash browns before tossing them with the other ingredients to add a little texture contrast. It was an ooey gooey casserole with well-balanced flavor I couldn’t help but keep going back for.

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Cheesy Potato Breakfast Casserole

Our guests also pitched in a couple nice additions to the brunch. One brought amazing fixings for Mimosas; we are fans of the apricot juice versions and also added some raspberry-peach Grand Marnier. Our French friend brought a lovely Ham and Cheese Quiche which she is magnificent at preparing (she has brought one on multiple occasions). I don’t know what is in it, but she makes the crust herself and it is always a great treat to enjoy.

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Albane’s delicious Ham and Cheese Quiche

My final menu item was a simple Triple Berry Salad that comes together with some sliced up strawberries tossed with some other berries after a quick washing. To complement this I prepared some freshly Whipped Cream, easily assembled with some heavy whipping cream a little powdered sugar, vanilla and Cointreau. Nothing fancy, but berries always seem a good addition to brunch.

After our feast of a brunch we spent the afternoon enjoying some board games and each others’ company. Its nice to be able to take our time and not rush out of a busy restaurant sometimes.

Thanks for taking the time to read this little brunch post. Until next time keep eating and drinking well in good company.

Today’s featured brunch recipes and alterations:

Tomato, Goat Cheese, and Basil Pesto Puff Pastry Tart:

  • Jar pesto subbed for the almond pesto
  •  http://www.flourishingfoodie.com/2013/07/tomato-goat-cheese-and-basil-pesto-puff.html

Monkey Bread:

Cheesy Potato Breakfast Casserole:

 

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