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Make ahead party food

  • Musie Aug 16, 2012 05:56 AM

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: KSlink

        Yikes! :(

        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.

            1. How many people are you cooking for?

              1 Reply
              1. re: valerie

                I'm looking at about 50+, most of which will have been there for the sit down meal earlier that day.

              2. 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.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                  Love the mini pie idea. I might have a try at using a gluten free flour to make the dough and adapt the idea from mini pies into mini cornish pasties.

                  1. re: Musie

                    I'm sure it would work : )

                2. 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.