Savor the Weekend with These Great Brunch Ideas

If only we could enjoy the slow, relaxing pace of the weekend every day! But you can savor the weekend a little bit longer with a delicious brunch.

As we have shared before, breakfast quiches are always a savory option that can be created with leftover slices of gourmet cheese, eggs, spinach, and your favorite gourmet sausage.

Ham & Cheese Quiche

Photo via Food Network

Breakfast casseroles are also a favorite choice of many brunch hosts and hostesses because you can prepare all of the ingredients the night before and then pop it in the oven first thing the next morning! Try our Ham, Egg and Cheese Strata recipe filled with HoneyGold® Ham and Our Smoked Cheddar Blend and Jalapeno & Cheddar Blend Cheese. It makes an excellent main dish for a brunch.

Hickory Farms Ham, Egg and Cheese Strata

Fruit salads are a wonderful side for adding refreshing flavors and textures into your brunch menu. This Maple Citrus Coconut Salad sounds divine!

Maple Citrus Coconut Salad

Photo via Country Living

toast and jam

Photo via Daily Dream Decor

Toast and assorted jams, jellies, and preserves are a perfect addition to any brunch menu. Hickory Farms’ Orchard Preserves Sampler offers six deliciously sweet flavors that are sure to satisfy.

Hickory Farms Orchard Preserves Sampler

biscuits

Photo via Martha Stewart

Lightly buttered biscuits are also perfect with jams, jellies, and preserves, but ham is another delicious option. Leftover HoneyGold® Ham and biscuits make for a hearty brunch sandwich.

Hickory Farms HoneyGold Ham

Who says dessert can only be served after dinner? Our Crown Comice® Pear Bread Pudding recipe is the perfect sweet treat to complete your brunch. Juicy seasonal pears are cooked to perfection and topped with remaining pear slices, sprinkled with a cinnamon mix and topped off with caramel sauce. Yum!

Hickory Farms Crown Comice Pear Bread Pudding

Don’t forget your breakfast beverages! Rather than stopping at coffee and juice, consider making your brunch even more special with breakfast cocktails like mimosas and sangrias garnished with fruit.

brunch cocktails

Photo via Cooking Channel

What are your favorite savory brunch recipes? Share them with us in the comments below.

 

Ham, Egg & Cheese Strata Recipe:

-          6 cups French bread (1” cubes)

-          3 cups Hickory Farms Smoked Cheddar Blend-shredded

-          2 cups Hickory Farms Jalapeno & Cheddar Blend-shredded

-          2 cups Hickory Farms HoneyGold® Spiral Sliced Ham (1/2 lb.), large diced

-          ½ cup leeks, chopped

-          8 large eggs

-          2-1/2 cups milk

-          1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

-          1 tsp. seasoning salt

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Evenly layer bread in a lightly greased 9” x 13” baking dish. Sprinkle Smoked Cheddar Blend, 1 cup Jalapeno & Cheddar Blend, ham, and leeks evenly over bread. In a separate bowl combine eggs, milk, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning salt. Whisk to blend. Pour egg mixture over casserole. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of Jalapeno & Cheddar Blend Cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.  Serves 6-8 people.

Crown Comice® Pear Bread Pudding Recipe:

-          3 cups milk

-          3 cups day old bread – cut into 1″ cubes

-          1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tbsp. sugar

-          1/4 cup butter – melted

-          3 eggs – slightly beaten

-          1/4 – 1/2 tsp. almond extract

-          1/4 tsp. salt

-          2 Hickory Farms Crown Comice® Pears (or other favorite), pared, cored and sliced

-          1 tsp. cinnamon

-          1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Instructions: Preheat oven to 325°F. In a small saucepan, heat milk until bubbles form around the edge of pan. Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, 1/2 cup sugar, butter, eggs, almond extract and salt; mix well. Butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Layer with half of the pear slices; pour bread mixture over pears. Top with remaining pear slices. Combine cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 tablespoon sugar; sprinkle on top of pears.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.  Serves 8 to 10 people.

Organizing a Progressive Dinner Party

Dinner parties are a fun way to gather with family, friends, and neighbors, but it also involves a lot of work for the host. A progressive dinner party is a great option that allows everyone to show off their culinary skills and share the hosting responsibilities.

Progressive dinner parties usually work best with a smaller group of people and with people who live in the same neighborhood or within a few minutes of each other. Once you’ve determined who will be participating, it’s time to figure out who will be the hosts for the evening and what they will serve.

progressive dinner party invitation

Photo via My Insanity

Most dinner parties involve four courses, but you can add more or take some away as needed. Courses can include appetizers and drinks, soup and salad, a main course, a cheese or vegetable course, and after-dinner desserts and drinks.

Once you’ve decided how many courses will be served, it’s time for the hosts to gather and plan a menu and a schedule of events. Will you stick to dishes that follow a certain theme, or will your group allow for creative freedom, with each host offering a different type of cuisine?

One important point to remember as your group plans the progressive dinner is that you’ll want to select dishes that can be prepared mostly in advance and that require minimal heating time. For example, the host in charge of serving appetizers can offer a spread of gourmet sausage, cheeses, crackers, and nuts. It’s easy to prepare and quick to restock, which means you can spend more time socializing with your guests.

sausage and cheese tray

For hosts serving soup and salad, a crockpot soup recipe is your best friend! Start cooking your soup earlier in the day, and then turn the heat down before you head out. The soup will be warm and ready to eat when guests arrive at your house.

crockpot soup recipe

Photo via Healthy Snack Recipes

And since you’ll be moving from one home to the next, it’s also important to create a schedule and stick to it. Give your guests plenty of time to arrive at the first home, or tell them to arrive within a certain time frame, and list the time of arrival for each house on the invitations. Be sure to progress to each house at the times listed. This is out of courtesy for the next host, as well as allowing for the next course to be served in a timely manner.

Do you have any tips, recipes, or ideas to share for progressive dinner parties? Please leave a comment to share with us!

Share the Love with a Chic Valentine’s Day Dinner Party

Celebrate the people you love this February by hosting a chic Valentine’s Day dinner party for a close group of friends. Set the mood days in advance with stylish invitations that will have them anticipating an evening of good food, good drinks, and good company.

First, you’ll want to decide on the theme and décor. Think about the type of mood you want to set. Do you want the look and feel to be romantic and whimsical or casual and playful? Here are a few great examples of chic invitations for Valentine’s Day dinner parties.

hickory farms

Photo via Tiny Prints

hickory farms

Photo via Etsy

hickory farms

Photo via Bugaboo Announcements

 

Next, find a few clever ways to put love in the air. We love the idea of decor that spells “love” with string lights or even with four simple clipboards. This type of décor is easy but still has a wonderful effect.

hickory farms

Blissful B Blog

 

hickory farms

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Once you have decided on your invitations and décor, you can move on to your Valentine’s Day menu. To keep things simple yet sophisticated, you can always go with a spread of gourmet nuts and gourmet meat and cheese.

If you really want to cut the preparation time, you can simply choose one or two Hickory Farms gourmet food baskets with a selection of gourmet nuts, meats, cheeses, or fruits. Some of our food gift baskets even come with Mini Melt Away Mints that would be perfect for throwing in a candy dish for dinner party guests.

By using our carefully curated food gift baskets, you’ll save some time and be able to get a little more creative with your presentation. Here’s a fun idea for displaying fruits for a Valentine’s Day dinner party.

hickory farms

Photo via Mint in the Middle

Let your invitations and décor inspire a pretty table setting. Dress up your tablescape with a few subtle hearts or X’s and O’s. You can do this with place cards, napkin rings, or other small decorations. Don’t forget some fresh flowers, too.

 

valentine's day dinner ideas

Photo via A Delightful Blog

 

Share your chic Valentine’s Day invitation, décor, and menu ideas in a comment below or by heading over to the Hickory Farms Facebook page.