Tuesday, December 27, 2011

do ahead appetizers...

If you've been reading for awhile you know I love entertaining,
but only if I can join the fun with my family and friends!
Hanging out in the kitchen cooking while everyone else is mingling is not my idea of fun!

Simple Do-Ahead Menu for Parties
Followed by my favorite tips for having it together...ahead of time!
Click on title for recipe.

I use main dish recipes served in individual ramekins, cups, tasting spoons or shot glasses,
because preparing hundreds of little appetizers is time consuming.


These tasting spoons from Crate & Barrel are great for serving small portions,
I use them for warm Molten Chocolate Cake!

~   Italian Chicken Salad - Prepare morning of party, assemble a couple hours before.
       Cook chicken and toast almonds day before.

~   Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce
        Prepare morning of party and refrigerate.
        Cocktail sauce can be prepared a couple days before.
        Assemble in cups a couple hours before and store in covered plastic container

~   Marmalade Meatballs
        So easy!!  Place ingredients in crockpot 3 hours before party.
        Transfer to lettuce lined plate.

~   Stilton Stuffed Dates wrapped in Bacon
        Pit dates and cut bacon morning of party. Assemble 2 hours before. Bake during party.

~   Giada's Mac 'n Cheese
        Grate all cheese the day before and refrigerate. Assemble a couple hours before party.
        Bake in 9x 13 pan right before party, transfer to ramekins and keep warm.

~   Molten Chocolate Cake
         Prepare day before party and refrigerate.
         Transfer from fridge to oven 30 minutes before you're ready to serve.
         Remove from oven and turn out onto large platter, allow guests to self-serve 
         with tasting spoons and small dessert plates. 
I like one signature drink and/or beer and wine all set out for self-serving.

Plan your music and most importantly your outfit in advance.
Set up your buffet early in the day with all serving pieces labeled.
Light the candles, have a little wine before anyone arrives and...
have a great time!

(if you missed my Christmas party go here)

Sharing at Mangia Mondays stop by to check out the recipes! 


Holly said...

What a great menu - I would eat every one of these dishes. They are basic but kicked up a notch of fancy, but not too fancy. If we end up having people over for New Year's I might just try a few of these. Now I just need a fun bar cart to set up for a party. And a glass of wine before the company arrives is a must!

Summer-Raye said...

AHH! Yes everything is a great choice! You can carry and eat and its not too heavy- perfect. xo

Dana Frieling@ Make Them Wonder said...

I need to take lessons from you! Not once have I ever been calm enough to enjoy a glass of wine right before everyone arrives. Great post, Pam!

elizabeth@themustardceiling said...

Your menu looks incredible, can I come?

I hope you had Have a Happy New Year!

Cathy Wall said...

Yummy! Love that you do a signature drink and that your food is served in small, individual portions. What's on the New Years menu?!!!
Happy, happy!

Lisa @ Shine Your Light said...

Pam, I love all your ideas for entertaining AND be able to enjoy the party! Those stilton stuffed dates wrapped in bacon sound DIVINE (I think I'll make them for New Year's Eve!) and I love the little cups for serving shrimp cocktail, and the tasting spoons. So many great inspirations - thanks for sharing at Mangia Mondays!
Happy happy new year!

Lori said...

Looks better than professional catering. I love the tasting spoons. Can't wait to try your recipes. I get in recipe ruts, so thanks for sharing!

Carly {a simple affair} said...

Such amazing tips! This will absolutely be a post I refer back to frequently, and I must own those Crate & Barrel tasting spoons.

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