Spectacular Spreads: 50 Amazing Food Spreads for Any Occasion, written by Maegan Brown, features an incredible variety of spreads for throughout the year paired with over 250 recipes. A few highlights include Top Your Own Toast, Make Your Own Pasta, Charcuterie & Cheese for a Crowd, Galentine’s Brunch, and Caramel Apple Bar. I will also be sharing her Omelet Bar spread following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Rock Point in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Maegan Brown is a food blogger and cookbook author. She created her website, The BakerMama, in 2012 to share recipes and meal ideas that she makes for family and friends. It is now home to over 700 recipes with a focus on creative meals and memorable spreads.
Maegan is also the author of Beautiful Boards (another favorite of ours during the holidays). She is currently based in Dallas, Texas with her husband and four children.
Spectacular Spreads begins with a short introduction by Maegan and how she has developed this book to help make entertaining easy and fun. We did indeed have so much fun working our way through the pages!
Before getting to the recipes, she gives a few tips on how to put everything together with a focus on balance, ease, and overall enjoyment. Maegan has also provided a detailed list of items to arrange the spreads, how to prepare ahead of time, and even ways to use leftovers.
I especially enjoyed looking through the abundance of themes from weekend brunch, drinks, and snacks to holiday spreads and celebrations for milestone events.
Chapters are divided based on occasion: Breakfast & Brunch Spreads, Lunch & Dinner Spreads, Special Occasion Spreads, Holiday Spreads, Dessert Spreads, and Drink Spreads. The Contents have a list of the included themes in each chapter with page number for easy reference.
The photography is provided by Kelsey Foster. Every single spread is paired with a large photo and often individual pictures of the accompanying recipes.
Titles are written in English. Measurements are listed in US Customary. Each spread includes a headnote with background information, helpful tips, serving size, notes, and uses for leftovers.
Of all the spreads we have tried so far, the Omelet Bar is currently Chad’s favorite. It was so fun customizing weekend brunch (or even a special dinner) with a variety of healthy and more decadent additions. There is a little planning involved, but mostly just cooking the meat/vegetables and arranging the different toppings.
Eggs are beaten together and cooked in a skillet with the following options: home fries, bacon, breakfast sausage, mushrooms, ham, broccoli, bell peppers, green onions, red onions, garlic, parsley, avocado, tomatoes, and cheese.
To save time, the toppings can be prepped in advance and reheated immediately before serving. While getting everything ready, the breakfast potatoes, bacon, and breakfast sausage can be kept warm in a 200˚F (90˚C) oven.
The amount of ingredients written is enough to serve about 8 people. It can easily be halved for a smaller family meal (which we did for our family of 4).
Each omelet uses about 2 large eggs. I cooked the omelets in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop by pouring in about 1/3 cup of the beaten eggs, sprinkling desired fillings on top, then cooking over medium-low heat until just set. If not using a stovetop, carefully plug in hot plates near the spread table.
Maegan mentions to store leftovers in sealed containers in the refrigerator. They can be used to create a loaded omelet, frittata, quiche, scrambled eggs, or breakfast casserole.
We also tried the Top Your Own Waffles, Popcorn Party, Hot Chocolate Bar, and Blend Your Own Milkshake.
I planned the Top Your Own Waffles spread when a couple of friends came over for brunch and it was a huge hit! Classic Crispy Waffles are paired with sweet and savory options from fruits and eggs to sprinkles, chocolate, and maple syrup. The recipe for the waffles came together easily too.
I put together a small Popcorn Party for one of our Friday movie nights with salted popcorn and cheddar popcorn (cheese and caramel popcorn mix was recommended, but unavailable at the time). Accompaniments included snacks and candy. I was also able to prep this one ahead of time since there were no perishable items.
The Hot Chocolate Bar was Claire’s pick to go with the Peppermint Marshmallows we made earlier in the week. It was definitely perfect for our first chilly day and the kids had such fun making their own drinks.
The Blend Your Own Milkshake was another favorite with the kids. Claire added every possible topping to hers while Evan opted for a Cookies and Cream Milkshake. I especially appreciated all the helpful tips for assembly.
Spectacular Spreads is a wonderful option for those interested in fun entertaining ideas for any occasion. Most of the spreads were created for around 8-10 servings with some feeding as many as 12-15 people. They are also easily customizable.
Most of the ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store. A few items that may be more difficult to locate include prosciutto, snow pea shoots, cacao nibs, goji berries, chia seeds, edamame, grissini, sauerkraut, burrata and other specialty cheese, Marcona almonds, seasonal/holiday snacks, and smoked paprika.
Omelet Bar Recipe
Excerpt from Spectacular Spreads
- 16 large eggs
- Kosher salt for seasoning, optional
- Freshly ground black pepper for seasoning, optional
- Butter for the skillets
- 4 cups home fries
- 12 slices bacon cooked, crumbling 2 cooked slices for an omelet filling
- 1 1/2 cups cooked ground pork breakfast sausage
- 1/2 cup sautéed mushrooms
- 1/2 cup steamed broccoli florets
- 1 cup diced cooked ham
- 1/4 cup diced orange bell pepper
- 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup diced green onions
- 14 cup diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 large avocado sliced
- 2 cups sliced cherry tomatoes from a medley
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend
- 1/2 cup goat cheese
- 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups mixed berries strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries
- 3 Mandarin oranges
- 1 loaf cranberry walnut bread sliced
- If not made in advance, cook the breakfast potatoes, bacon, breakfast sausage, mushrooms, and broccoli.
- Keep the potatoes and meats warming in a 200˚F (90˚C) oven until ready to serve.
- Whisk together all the eggs for the omelets, transfer to a pouring pitcher, and place near where the omelets will be cooked. When cooking the omelets, use 1/3 cup or 5 to 6 tablespoons of whipped eggs per omelet.
- Prep any fillings, and then put all the fillings in serving dishes and arrange on the spread table.
- Add mixed berries, oranges, and sliced bread to the spread table.
- Finally, plate the warm foods and add to the spread table.