Cooking On A Budget: Easter Buffet On A Budget

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Easter Buffet On A Budget

Easter Brunch Menu
Belgian Waffles
with warm Maple Syrup and Butter
French Toast Casserole
Breakfast Sausages
Quiche with Spinach and Cheese
Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges
Roasted Peppers with
Egg, Ham and Cheese Filling
Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce
Strawberries and Vanilla Cream

Forgive me for getting a little cheesy with the colors - I wanted to brighten the page with Easter colors! This buffet menu is easy on the budget and you can do a lot of the work the day before and finish up on Easter.
Make the french toast casserole the night before and pull it out of the refrigerator the next day to come to room temperature while your oven is preheating.

If you purchase frozen pie shells to make quiche, check the manufacturers directions for thawing and baking. Assemble them the day before and bake the next day or bake ahead and warm through on Easter.

Bake the french toast casserole and quiche at the same time - keep an eye on both. The potato wedges can be prepped and baked the morning of Easter.  They also are baked at the same temperature (350 degrees).

Make your Belgian Waffles (or regular waffles) from a box mix. Quick, easy and affordable.
Purchase some breakfast sausage - try and catch it on sale. They cook in no time at all.

The Chicken dish, as are any of the menu items are entirely optional. My thought was the chicken lent itself to a more well rounded buffet.

Round out the buffet with Strawberries and some whipped cream on the side. To a pint of cream simply add 1 tbsp. of sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla. With an electric mixer whip the cream until light and fluffy.

French Toast Casserole:
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1 loaf French baguette or Challah Bread, cut into 1 inch slices
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Add in the apple slices and melted butter. Mix well to evenly coat the apples. Pour all into your baking dish. Arrange bread slices in an even layer over apples.
    2. In the same bowl you used for the apples, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Pour over bread, making sure every slice is fully soaked. Cover with aluminum foil, and refrigerate overnight.
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dish from the refrigerator while the oven is heating to allow the casserole to come to room temperature. Bake covered for 45 - 50 minutes. Remove cover, and bake about 5 minutes longer till the top is golden brown. Feeds about 10-12 people.

    A basic quiche recipe as follows.
    Combine all these ingredients to make the custard and cheese and spinach base:
    4 eggs
    2 cups light cream or half and half
    1 1/2 cups grated cheese
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    1 pkg. frozen chopped spinach - thawed and squeeze out the excess water

    Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Pour the mixture into a store bought pie shell. Bake the quiche for 15 minutes and lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean and the pie shell is a golden brown.

    Seasoned Potato Wedges
    Depending on the amount of people - adjust the number of potatoes.  You could use this blend of spices or make up your own.

    4-6 Russet potatoes - scrubbed and sliced into 1/2 thick wedges
    Cooking Spray
    1 - 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
    1 tsp. Kosher salt
    1/2 tsp. Black pepper
    1 tsp. Onion Powder
    1 1/2 tsp. Granulated Garlic
    1 tsp. Paprika
    Put the potato wedges in a large bowl and toss them with the spices and olive oil. Lay on a foil lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, turning until the potatoes are a nice golden brown and fork tender.

    Roasted Peppers with egg, ham and cheese filling: I have to admit that I saw a picture on Flickr that someone else had done and thought what a great idea! Take any kind of large pepper - a poblano or even a bell pepper and split it in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and white vein. Roast in the oven at 350-375 degrees until the pepper starts to soften. Take the peppers out of the oven and fill the peppers with a scrambled egg, ham and cheese mixture. Put it back in the oven and cook until the filling is done. You insert a knife in the filling and it should come out clean - then you know the filling is cooked through.
    Chicken Piccata
    Chicken piccata is chicken breast cutlets, dredged in flour, browned, and served with a sauce of butter, lemon juice, capers, and either chicken stock or white wine (or both).
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
    • 2/3 cup flour 
    • Salt and pepper to taste 
    • 4 Tbsp olive oil 
    • 4 Tbsp butter
    • 1 cup chicken stock 
    • ¼ cup white wine
    • 3 Tbsp lemon juice 
    • 1/4 cup capers
    •  fresh chopped parsley for garnishing (optional)
    Cut the chicken breast halves horizontally, butter fly them open. If the pieces are still thick after butter flying, pound them with a meat mallet to approximately 1/4-inch thickness. Salt and pepper both sides to taste.
    Next, mix together the flour, with a little more salt and pepper to taste. Dredge them thoroughly in the flour mixture, until well coated.
    Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and brown well on each side. Approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in a 200 degree oven while you prepare the sauce.
    Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and the wine. Cook and stir to get up all of the good bits. Next, add the chicken broth to the pan. Reduce the sauce by half. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Plate the chicken and serve with the sauce poured over the chicken.

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