A Squared: Easy Holiday Entertaining Spread

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Easy Holiday Entertaining Spread

Are you planning on doing some entertaining over the next week or two?  With Christmas Eve, umm... tonight and New Year's Eve hot on its heels, chances are the answer is "Yes."

Well, I would like to help you out with that today.

One of my favorite tips for keeping holiday meals low stress is to lay out an array of easy to prepare, no cook snacks and appetizers during the day that people can graze on as you work on the big dinner. My mom and grandmothers have always been great about doing this on the holidays and it has been very successful for me too. Let's face it, you don't want people making sandwiches in the kitchen while you're working, pestering you about dinnertime because they are hungry, and you certainly don't want to spend time cooking up lunch or fancy appetizers when your focus is on the Big Meal.

This Thanksgiving I decided to keep my snack spread simple by serving nothing that required cooking or extensive prep, while still offering a wide variety of complimentary items. After discovering this recipe for Whipped Feta on The Law Student's Wife I decided to curate a Mediterranean-inspired appetizer spread around that. And it was a great success!

On the table, I included:

  • Whipped Feta Spread
  • Hummus
  • 3 varieties of olives (Kalamata, spicy green, and traditional green olives)
  • Toasted pita triangles
  • Whole grain Melba Toasts
  • Dried dates
  • Red grapes
  • Sliced Granny Smith apples
  • Sliced red bell peppers
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Prosciutto
  • Honey

Not that intimidating, right? Most of these things just needed to be opened and served, but for the few that required prep, this was my game plan:

On the day before, I made the whipped feta, sliced the pita bread into triangles, washed and sliced the red peppers, peeled and sliced the cucumber, and washed the fruit.

That morning, I toasted the pita bread, sliced the apples (to prevent browning/drying out), and then arranged everything in their places and we were good to go!

 As far as serving, I went for simple and elegant. Breads and crackers went into linen-lined baskets and all of the fresh crudite items were arranged on a rustic wood board. I would also reccomend that anything you bought pre-packaged: hummus, olives, honey, dates, etc. be served in actual dishes or servingware. It just brings the whole presentation together. And we don't have a huge tabletop, so I kept decor simple: a few turkey tealight candles (which can obviously be subbed for some other holiday-appropriate or generically festive candles). You could also add a simple floral arrangement, candlesticks, or a runner to make it feel festive, but not over the top. This meal isn't the star of the holiday show, after all. :)

Hope this helps to make your holiday celebrations easier and more delicious!


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