The cost of hiring a caterer can be way too expensive for many people. They charge you for everything including the linens, dishes, food and a handful of servers at a pretty high rate. While some are more fortunate and have parents ready to front the bill at one-hundred dollars per person, most cannot afford this part of the wedding. For many couples trying to get started in life, a few extra thousand dollars for a caterer can make or break the bank. Due to the high costs of having a caterer I’ve gathered five easy recipes that show you it is possible to cater your own wedding.
This recipe makes twenty eight stuffed mushrooms and serves seven to eight people. Make sure you make one batch for every seven to eight people attending the wedding to ensure you have enough for everyone. The whole process should take about an hour from start to finish. Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.
What you need:
• 1/2 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
• 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 28 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) white mushrooms, stemmed
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
• Stir the bread crumbs, Pecorino Romano, garlic, parsley, mint, salt and pepper, to taste, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl to blend.
• Drizzle a heavy large baking sheet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, to coat.
• Spoon the filling into the mushroom cavities and arrange on the baking sheet, cavity side up.
• Drizzle remaining oil over the filling in each mushroom.
• Bake until the mushrooms are tender and the filling is heated through and golden on top, about 25 minutes.
Veggie Platter / Cheese & Cracker Platter:
You have the option here of doing two separate platters or combining them into one. There is no exact portion for the veggies or meat and cheese platters. However, to be safe there should be a couple of pieces of everything for each guest.
Veggie Platter with Ranch Dip
What you need:
• Head of cauliflower (1 per 5 guests)
• Head of broccoli (1 per 5 guests)
• Baby Carrots (1 pound per 5 guests)
• Bunch of celery (1 bunch per 8 guests)
• Cherry Tomatoes (1 pint per 5 guests)
• Nice Large Platter for displaying veggies and a bowl in the middle for dip
• Take all your veggies and wash them thoroughly with water.
• Chop the cauliflower and broccoli into one inch little trees.
• Take the celery and chop the stalks into 2 inch pieces.
• Arrange the veggies around the platter so they create a circle, oval or square around the dip bowl.
• Fill the dip bowl with ranch and you are finished.
Cheese & Cracker Platter
What you need:
• Swiss Cheese (1/2 pound per 10 guests)
• Cheddar Cheese (1/2 pound per 10 guests)
• Provolone Cheese (1/2 pound per 10 guests)
• American Cheese (1/2 pound per 10 guests)
• Water Crackers (5 per guest)
• Whole Wheat Crackers (5 per guest)
• Bagel Chips (5 per guest)
• Large platter for displaying cheeses and crackers
• Slice cheeses in cracker size pieces.
• Take platter and arrange the cheeses on one side
• Put rows of each type of crackers on other side
Apple and Walnut Salad:
After your guests mingle and snack on appetizers it’s time to show them some great culinary skills. What more could they want than a delicious apple and walnut salad. Crisp greens and tangy vinaigrette dressing are a great part of a complete dinner menu. This easy recipe is sure to impress your guests!
What you need:
• One head of green leaf lettuce
• One head of red leaf lettuce
• One cup dried cranberries
• One cup of caramelized walnuts
• One green apple
• ¼ cup raspberry vinaigrette
• This portion serves 6 guests
• First start off by caramelizing your walnuts if you are unable to find them in the store. This is possible by dunking your walnuts in butter and coating them with sugar. Then you bake them for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown.
• Next you wash your green apples and chop them up into ½ in pieces.
• Then wash your lettuce and slice it into ½ inch strips.
• Finally you are able to put it all together in a large salad bowl with the exception of the dressing. Wait to put the dressing on until about 10 minutes before eating so the lettuce stays crisp.
Lasagna is one of those simple and yet delicious meals that you really can not go wrong with. While it may seem a little basic, a few veggies can make this meal classy. As a buffet item lasagna does great and will make the food line move smoothly. As a special bonus you can get loaves of garlic bread from your local grocery store bakery to add a final touch to the meal. This recipe feeds about twelve guests.
What you need:
• 1 small can of tomato paste
• 2 large cans of diced tomatoes drained
• 1 box of no cook lasagna noodles
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
• 1 yellow bell pepper finely chopped
• ½ sweet onion finely chopped
• 2 tbsp of the following dried herbs: basil, thyme, parsley, oregano
• 1 tsp of black pepper and salt
• 1 pound of grated mozzarella cheese
• Start off by browning your ground beef in a large skillet and then draining once cooked.
• Then chop your peppers and onions and add them to the ground beef along with your drained tomatoes and tomato paste.
• Next add your herbs, salt and pepper to the sauce and simmer on low until peppers are soft.
• Finally get your large lasagna pan out and layer three times as follows: sauce, mozzarella, noodles. Finish off the top with a layer of sauce and mozzarella then bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Putting together recipes and meal plans can be quite a challenge and with these ideas you can hopefully come up with your wedding food. Substitute something you love with one of the ideas or pick your own recipes all together. Just let me emphasize the importance of at least two appetizers, one side and an entrée.
In addition to the food expense, remember that you also need to come up with linens and dishes. Some companies actually rent these items at a reasonable rate. Try and do some research in your area well before the wedding due to date confliction with other brides and product availability.
Good luck with your wedding food and enjoy catering your own wedding as it cuts a huge corner in the wedding budget!
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