Make ahead party food
I'm hoping to make most the party nibbles for my wedding reception later this year. I'm not too sure though what I could make ahead of time, even make now, freeze and cook on the day or the day before.
So far I'm thinking of making mini lasagnas. But I also need vegetarian and gluten free ideas.
Pretty much anything baked can be made today and froze for later. This includes savory things stuffed in phyllo dough, puff pastry, or wonton wrappers. So mini quiches, wontons, or spanakopita.
You can freeze stuffed mushrooms... but better to make a few days ahead instead.
Don't know if you can freeze a cheese ball. I typically make them into logs and cut them into coins with floss to keep the buffet going.
This time of year, I stock up on figs. Grill them with a little cheese and balsamic, then puree, or make tapenade, whatever. It freezes great! And once the cold weather arrives, it's very exotic. Also....spicy black bean dips, ajvar, hummus, baba ghaanooj, caponata, guacamole, mango salsa, artichoke dip, mushroom pate, tomatilla salsa...I make all of these quite often for the two of us, and then freeze the leftovers. I'm always glad I did when we have unexpected company. All you need is some nice fresh baguettes or pita.
It's probably best to think about the whole menu first and then focus on what can be done months, weeks, days in advance. That way you don't end up with a bunch of random things you've make in advance that don't really go together. Depending on how many you're expecting and the style of your event, I would suggest a menu like the following:
Cheese, cracker & charcuterie platter (include the fig puree described by the other poster)
Veggie / dip platter - make the dip a couple days in advance
Gluten-Free Stuffed Mushrooms - use the caps to make the filling with parsley, onion, garlic and some parmesan cheese; make filling in advance, but I would assemble and bake them the week of
Mini lasagna sounds good - some veg, some meat to be made in advance and fozen
Spinach pies - made ahead and frozen
Marinated chicken, beef or lamb skewers - bbqed the day before and served room temp with dipping sauce
3-bean or couscous salad of some kind (I also do a brocoli slaw for parties and everyone loves it. Smitten Kitchen has a great recipe) - veg and GF and can be made several days before
Fruit salad or platter - assembled day of / day before
Small cookies to snack on before or after cake - these can be made in advance and frozen
Hope that helps! Congrats on the wedding - very exciting!
I've had luck making mini pot pies in a mini muffin tin, and freezing them. Used scraps of pie dough, parbaked those first, then filled with chicken or beef mixture, topped with another pie of dough. Bake from frozen for about 15-18 minutes.
I've also made leek, bacon & gruyere tarts with puff pastry dough and frozen before baking. Always come out perfectly. I believe gougeres (cheese puffs) can be frozen after baking first, then reheated. Sorry they are not gluten free recipes tho.
My 2 make ahead standbys are puff pastry stuffed with cream cheese and salsa blended together and cranberry/ brie in filo. I use the raw cranberry relish leftover from thankgiving which has cranberries, apples, sugar, orange peel and orange juice. They both always get raves. Make them and then freeze them and then bake on the day staight out of the freezer.