Avoid a Brunch Crunch

You don't have to crack under the pressure when hosting a breakfast or brunch. The key is selecting a good assortment of foods and getting a lot done the night before.

When selecting recipes to serve, look for some make-ahead choices as well as some last-minute dishes. If children are part of the guest list, you may want to offer them the old standby of cereal and milk. They'll likely prefer it to some of your more "fancy" foods.

The day before, iron tablecloths and napkins and set the table. Put out the serving dishes and utensils.

Put condiments that are stored in the fridge (such as butter, jam, cream cheese, etc.) on the same shelf so you can quickly reach for them the next morning. Condiments stored at room temperature (like syrup and honey) can be poured into their serving pitchers and covered with plastic wrap.

Get a head start on as many dishes as possible by chopping, slicing and dicing the night before.

Measure the coffee the night before. Then make it in the morning and transfer it to a thermal carafe for serving. Make and refrigerate the juice. In the morning, transfer it to a pretty pitcher.

Review your menu and make a list of what needs to be done in the morning before your guests arrive.