How to Make Breakfast for a Crowd
Cooking breakfast for a group is a fun and exciting experience. However, it also comes with a variety of challenges and responsibilities. Not only do you have to prepare enough food, but you need to make sure you serve dishes that people want to eat. Fortunately, by preparing the right proportions, picking attractive foods, and making sure you have supplies needed to serve your guests, you’ll be able to make your breakfast a success.
Planning Your Meal
Find out how many people will be present.Depending on the type of event, you’ll need to figure out how many people will attend. This is important, as you won’t be able to proceed without knowing how many people you are cooking for.
- Ask the organizer. The organizer of the event should be able to give you the number of guests.
- If you’re the organizer, make sure your invitation is clear that people need to give you notice of if they’ll be there. In addition, they should let you know if they will bring guests. Give people at least a week notice to respond.
- You should have guest information at least three days before the breakfast – to provide you with time to shop and prepare the meal.
Cook more than you think you need.After you’ve found out how many people you’ll cook for, make sure you factor in excess food that you’ll need to prepare. This is important, as you want to make sure there is more than enough food for everyone to eat. In the end, you don’t want people walking away hungry.
- You may have unplanned visitors or people may take more food than you anticipate.
- Generally, provide about half a pound of food for every person. This may vary based on different dishes.
- One dish may be a lot more popular than you think. Some people may like your egg and bacon casserole a lot more than the spinach and tomato omelet. To avoid this, test dishes out ahead of time or cook more of dishes you think will be popular.
Prepare at least 2 entrees.The trick to preparing a good breakfast is to provide people with options. By providing more than one option, you'll make sure everyone has something they'll want to eat.
- Consider a casserole. Include your choice of ingredients such as eggs, meat, and vegetables. Remember, though, if you prepare an egg, cheese, and sausage casserole, you may want to balance it out with a vegetable casserole.
- Serve eggs and bacon as an entrée.
- Offer pancakes or waffles as an option.
Provide 3 or 4 side dishes.While your entrée will anchor your meal, side dishes will compliment the meal. In addition, sides will give picky eaters something to eat if they don't like the main courses. Consider:
Supply some sort of bread option.Your breakfast won't be complete unless you provide a bread option. This is because bread can be paired with a variety of dishes. Think about serving:
Serve drinks.While food will be the star attraction of your breakfast, you need to provide a variety of beverages for your guests. When picking drinks, consider:
- Serving coffee and tea.
- Offering a one or two types of juices. For instance, you may want to offer orange juice and apple juice.
- Putting out ice water.
- Providing 1 gallon of drink for every 10 guests.
Crafting a Quality and Thoughtful Meal
Factor in people’s tastes.The most important thing in preparing a breakfast is to make something that people will want to eat. Thus, you need to gather some information about who you’re cooking for.
- Think about the cultural or regional tastes. For instance, people in parts of the American Gulf Coast tend to like shrimp and cheese grits for breakfast.
- Know your specific audience. If you’re cooking for people who are very health conscious, you need to prepare a meal accordingly. For instance, avoid processed and cured meats like bacon and sausage, and focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, and even fish like smoked salmon or whitefish.
- If you have limited information, do your best to prepare a well-balanced and regionally appropriate breakfast.
Ask if anyone has allergies or dietary restrictions.A major challenge in cooking for a crowd is making sure you provide a meal that a wide array of people with dietary restrictions can consume. This is especially challenging in a diverse society. By creating a nutritious and balanced meal, though, you’ll necessarily provide a variety of options for people with allergies or dietary restrictions. In addition, you’ll provide a meal in which people have healthy choices. Consider:
- People who keep kosher or halal. In this case, avoid mixing milk and meat and don’t use pork products.
- Individuals who are vegan or vegetarian. Avoid using any meat and make sure you have dairy and animal free options for vegans.
- Those who are gluten intolerant or have other food allergies.
Use quality ingredients.Quality ingredients are the basis for any good breakfast. As a result, you should (if possible) focus on the best ingredients available. Good ingredients will improve the flavor of your dishes.
- Generic cheeses have higher fat and are lower quality.
- Focus on quality meats, like bacon or sausage without nitrates and nitrites.
- Include whole grains in your meal whenever possible.
- If possible, use locally sourced and organic ingredients.
- Advertise the quality of your ingredients at the breakfast. For example, include a short menu that explains how you sourced your ingredients.
Include fresh fruits or vegetables.The basis of any quality breakfast are fresh fruits and vegetables. Whether you're serving a fruit salad or vegetable omelets, they will enhance your meal and impress your diners.
- Include a vegetable tray with cream cheese.
- Provide a fruit tray may. It might complement your main course.
- If you serve smoked salmon and bagels, also serve lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.
- Consider having a vegetable option if you include a casserole, omelet, or something similar.
Avoid preparing a meal heavy in carbs or saturated fats.A great way to impress your guests is to provide a meal that is well-balanced. By avoiding a carb heavy meal that includes lots of saturated fat, you'll craft an impressive, healthy meal.
- Moderate your servings of bread, cheese, and fatty meats.
- Serve lean meats. For instance, consider turkey sausage, turkey bacon, or even grilled chicken.
Keep food the appropriate temperature.One of the biggest challenges in serving breakfast to a crowd is to make sure food is ready when people eat it. Sometimes this is difficult, as your location and the time of arrival may present you problems in heating or cooling food. To do so:
- Make sure you warm foods that need to be warm. You can cover them after preparation, use chafing dishes, or keep warm foods in a crockpot or other warming/heating device.
- Use ice or a refrigerator to chill food that should be served cold. For instance, you may want your fresh fruit or yogurt to be served cold. Store it in a cooler or refrigerator until just before people arrive for the breakfast.
Provide plates and bowls.Make sure you provide proper dishware for your guests. Ultimately, without proper dishware, your breakfast will be chaotic.
- Supply double the number of bowls and plates per person. This is because some people will use more than one plate or bowl -- and maybe even more.
- Consider providing 3 to 5 napkins per person.
- Depending on the type of event, you may want to supply paper or plastic dishware instead of ceramic or china.
- If you do use ceramic or china, be aware that you may lose some to accidental breaks.
Provide utensils.Make sure to supply proper utensils for whatever dishes you provide. Without proper utensils, your breakfast will be plagued by problems.
- Provide forks, spoons, and knives. Depending on the event, decide whether you want to use plasticware or silverware.
- Remember serving spoons for casseroles and eggs.
- Don't forget serving forks for bacon, sausage, or smoked fish.
- Supply bread knives or other cutting knives. Also, make sure to provide spreading knives for butter, jelly, or honey.
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