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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.

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  1. 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.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Crockett67

      Mushrooms should be cooked before freezing, otherwise they become soggy. I learned that one the hard way!

        1. re: Crockett67

          Yep! I was lucky in that they weren't intended for anything specific, like a catered event, just some leftovers from a big batch. I think I just ate the filling and tossed the slimy caps after the first bite--ICK!!!

    2. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. I absolutely love all the suggestions you've gotten so far. Here's a question--could you recruit some guests to do a bit of the cooking/assembling? It's your day, after all? That would be a lovely gift to you.

          Best wishes!

          2 Replies
          1. re: pinehurst

            My mother-in-law to be is doing the sit down meal. I'm just putting together party nibbles. We are getting pizza delivered from our favourite little pizzeria as well.

            1. re: Musie

              what is the sit down meal going to be? Do you want to stay in the same vein?

          2. You could make the mini-lasagnas using corn tortillas rather than pasta to kill two birds with one stone with regards to your gluten-conscious guests.