Party pro: Gale Gand, partner and executive pastry chef at Chicago's Tru, and author of "Gale Gand's Brunch!: 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend's Best Meal."
Favorite money-saving party tip: "My secret trick for saving money but still throwing parties: brunch parties," says Gand.
"Eggs are a cheap source of protein, and they're so flexible," she says. "It's faster, it's cheaper, and it's more flexible in terms of what you can serve." And, she adds, brunch is "more family-friendly so you don't have to pay for a sitter."
Give it a twist: Serve a strata -- a layered egg casserole, Gand suggests. With a casserole dish you can throw in things you may have on hand, like the ends of the bread loaf or a half a cup of chopped chicken instead of a whole bird, she says.
One party hit: Quick pear streusel coffee cake.
Last used this idea: During the holidays. "I do (brunches) instead of dinner parties," says Gand. "It's not a long night, you're not staying up late and your guests aren't drinking a lot."