Breakfast is already a favorite meal of the day, but throwing big breakfast for friends or family makes it even better. The key to a great breakfast for a large group is preparation. Opt for foods that can be at least partially prepped beforehand to minimize time spent actually cooking in the morning. Count out plates, cutlery and serving utensils the night before. Don't try to go it alone; enlist a few friends to help with cooking, preparation and logistics. When breakfast time arrives, your focus should be on greeting and serving guests. Here are some simple breakfast-menu ideas.
Oatmeal is inexpensive, cooks quickly and offers plenty of room for customization. You can even cook it in a Crock-Pot overnight to reduce prep time in the morning. If the oatmeal seems a little too thick, stir in some milk before serving. When you're ready to eat, set out the cooked oatmeal with a ladle for easy serving, along with individual bowls. Offer plenty of options for toppings, such as these:
- Chopped nuts
- Sliced fruit
- Shredded coconut
- Peanut butter
- Brown sugar
You can also offer different types of oatmeal like apple-cinnamon or maple-pecan. Have a few helpers on hand to refill toppings and clear away dirty dishes.
Pancakes are easy to make in large quantities, but you need a large griddle and a small team to help prepare and serve them warm. Twenty pounds of instant-pancake mix is enough for 100 guests to each have three 5-inch pancakes.
To save time, mix the batter the night before and refrigerate. At breakfast time, depending on the size of the group, at least two people should be on hand to pour and monitor the pancakes on the griddle and flip and serve them.
You'll also need softened, easily spreadable butter or margarine and plenty of maple syrup—1 to 2 gallons for every 100 guests.
Eggs can be cooked and frozen in large quantities several days in advance of your breakfast. For 100 guests, you'll need 16 to 18 dozen eggs. Scramble the eggs in advance, leaving the whites very slightly runny to avoid over-drying, then store them in large freezer bags. Make sure to remove all the air before sealing the bags. At breakfast time, thaw the eggs in a large skillet on medium heat.
Transfer the eggs to warmed pans to help keep them hot as guests serve themselves. Enlist the help of two or three people to prepare toppings, such as these:
- Shredded cheese
- Diced onions
- Diced tomatoes
- Chopped ham
Place the toppings in bowls alongside the pans of eggs so that guests can help themselves.
Fruit and Bread
Offering a continental-style breakfast lets you prepare several different types of breakfast breads over a few days. Muffins and other quick breads like banana bread and scones can be frozen for up to two months.
Organize a small group of bakers to prepare and freeze one large batch of muffins or other quick bread. For 100 guests, make 100 large pieces, plus 10 to 20 more for those who may want seconds. Thaw the breads at room temperature, or heat them in the microwave on medium heat (50 percent) until warm throughout.
Chop and refrigerate fresh fruit the night before. Estimate between 1/2 cup and 1 cup of fruit per person. Don't forget the extras; for 100 guests, count on two pounds each of these:
- Jam or jelly
- Powdered sugar