the luncheon menu…

October 22, 2009

party food

this past sunday was norah’s blessing day. [pics to come of her cute little dress!]
afterwards, we had a luncheon at our house with our families.
i decided on a “french bistro theme,” and had panini grills ready for everyone to put together their own panini sandwich.

on the menu was..

homemade panini
-panini sandwiches with pesto mayonnaise
-roasted tomato soup [i shared the recipe on the zupas blog, click here]
-pear and pecan salad with sweet red wine vinaigrette

{Pear and Pecan Salad with Mixed Greens and Feta Recipe}
Salad + Toppings
{amount based on how large you would like the salad}
Mixed greens
Pears, cut into bit sized pieces
Candied Pecans (recipe below)
Feta Cheese (can also substitute gorgonzola)
Bacon crumbles
Dried Cranberries
Sweet Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
1 inch strip of a red onion
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
Finely chop red onion in blender.  Add sugar, dry mustard, salt and vinegar and blend until frothy.  Slowly add oil.
Candied Pecans
8 oz. pecans
4 Tbsp. sugar
In small skillet, sprinkle sugar over pecans and cook over medium heat until pecans are coated and sugar has dissolved. (may need to add more sugar if all of the pecans are not coated)  Be careful so the pecans don’t burn!
Add dressing just to coat the salad and serve immediately.

-hummus with pita chips [i shared the recipe on the zupas blog, click here]
-lightly salted kettle chips
-mango avocado salsa
-french apple tart [i shared the recipe on the zupas blog, click here]
-fresh squeezed lemonade

Here’s a few tips on how to plan and prepare food for a large group.

Every once in a while I have to plan and prepare food for a large group when we have our various get togethers.  It still can be very overwhelming.  But, as I do it more often, I have learned a few things to help me along the way.
Here’s a few simple steps to help plan and prepare for your next get together:
1. Start with a theme. – If you are a theme type of a person, this will help you to get an idea of what kind of food you will serve and help to set up the decor and color scheme.
When preparing for a luncheon after my daughters baby blessing [see photos above]  I decided to use a “French Bistro” theme.  This helped me decide the menu and decor.
2. Plan the menu. – Plan and prepare a menu of what you would like to serve.  Be sure to plan realistically with preparation time in mind.  You don’t want to be too frazzled with a menu item that may take a long time if you have a lot to prepare.
For my luncheon, after I had the “French Bistro” theme in mind, it was easy to come up with the menu.
The Menu
Panini Sandwiches with Pesto Mayonnaise
Roasted Tomato Soup [recipe shared on the zupas blog, click here]
Pear and Pecan Salad with Sweet Red Wine Vinaigrette
Hummus with Pita Chips [recipe shared on the zupas blog, click here]
Lightly Salted Kettle Chips
Mango Avocado Salsa
Mango Avocado Salsa
{Mango Avocado Salsa Recipe}
2 ripe mangoes, diced
2 ripe avocados, diced
1/4-1/2 of a medium red onion, diced small
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 jalapeño, chopped very small
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.  serve with chips!

French Apple Tart [recipe shared on the zupas blog, click here]
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

3.  Make a Grocery List. – After you plan a menu.  Make a grocery list of all the items you need to make everything on  your menu.  Take out all the recipes of what you will be making and jot down all the ingredients you will need to buy to prepare them. This will help you save a lot of time and many trips to the grocery store.
4. Prepare in advance. –  If you can prepare items in advance, you’ll save yourself a lot of time the day of the event.  Setting up your tables with tablecloths, centerpieces, serving trays and dining utensils in advance having them all ready to go is a great time saver for the event day.
For example, for the luncheon I prepared the tomato soup a day in advance, then just heated it up and added the cream the day of the event.  I also sliced tomatoes, put out meat and cheese on trays the night before to make it an easy set up.  I waited for items that browned [ex: avocados, pears] or went bad fast to the day of the even so they will stay fresh.  I also tried to set up all the tables and had the serving trays in place and ready to go.
5. Ready, set, go. – Party time is here.  Right before guests arrived, place all the food out onto your serving platters, etc.   Make sure you have spoons and forks to serve each item.  Place the food in an order that will make it easier as you move along.  If you need to build a sandwich for example, try putting the items in order that you would put them on your sandwich, with plates and silverware first so the line will move right along.
6. Party, party, party! – It is always a lot of work, but don’t forget to have fun!
Be sure to check back for my next few posts, I’ll be sharing some of the recipes I used at the luncheon that I haven’t already shared on the Zupas Blog!

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