Let's start by making the centerpiece dish something eggy and crowd-pleasing that can be assembled the night before and then baked off in the morning:
Since your oven's going to be on anyway, put breakfast meat (ham, bacon, sausage) on a sheet pan and cook it in the oven while the main dish cooks — it'll cook up evenly without spattering all over the stovetop. Or go all out with one of these candied bacon recipes:
While all that's happening in the oven, your stovetop is free for sweet treats. If you're going with an eggier strata, pancakes are a good option. If you're thinking something more related to bread-pudding for the strata, a batch of scrambled eggs wouldn't be a bad call.
- Banana and Pecan Pancakes with Maple Butter
- Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd and Fresh Raspberries
- Almost-Famous Cheesecake Pancakes
Keep the pancakes in one layer on a sheet pan on top of the stove (or in the turned-off oven) to stay warm (stacking them makes them a little tough). While you’re flipping pancakes, have a helper chop up some fruit for a fruit salad:
Put plates at one end of the buffet and silverware at the other (roll up forks and knives in napkins to make them easy for your guests to grab), and set up a coffee-and-drink station across the room to eliminate buffet-line traffic jams. If you have a regular-size coffee pot, it's not a bad idea to borrow a larger thermal coffee dispenser so you can keep a batch brewing steadily throughout the party.
If your guests are the day-drinking kind (you know who you are), mimosas are an easy do-it-yourself drink; if they’re the ambitious day-drinking kind, a Bloody Mary toppings bar (various pickled vegetables, fresh horseradish, bitters, flavored vodkas, hot sauce) is a nice touch.
Once your guests get in, all you need to do is replenish the drinks station on occasion and you're good to go. Sit back, relax and eat pancakes. You've earned it.