Grazing
 

Let's be honest: we're noshing sorts. Snacking is a bit of a national pastime, and nowhere is that more evident than in places where we congregate and commune. It makes sense, then, that many such gatherings are fed not by plates heaped high with meat/starch/vegetable, but rather by hand. Call them DIY small plates, heavy hors d'oeuvres, or whatever rings true to your palate, but this casual way to eat can be fun, efficient and graciously accommodating for an array of affinities. So let's see what collection of dishes suits your group of grazers.

NIBBLES
Herb-roasted pecans
Maple chipotle rosemary mixed nuts
Sugar & spice nuts
Spinach-artichoke dip with pita chips
Toasted garlic hummus with vegetables and pita bread wedges
Smoked salmon with creme fraiche and dill on crostini
Veggie cups (aka Double Dippers - personal veggie and dip cups)
Housemade boursin with crackers
Parmesan herb shortbread
Antipasto bars (layers of meats and cheeses between pastry crusts)
Chicken salad in cornbread mini muffins
Roasted shrimp with 1000 Island dressing or traditional horseradish cocktail sauce
Caprese (tomato-marinated fresh mozzarella-basil) skewers
Sweet & sour meatballs

LITTLE SAMMIES
Roasted rosemary pork tenderloin, goat cheese and caramelized onion jam on ciabatta
Ham and Swiss with caramelized onion jam and Honeycup on mini pretzel rolls
Turkey, arugula and cranberry mustard on sweet potato biscuits
Chicken-avocado burglets with Swiss cheese, bacon and caramelized onions
Pulled pork or chicken ‘cue sliders
Sloppy Joeys
Wee pattymelts
Mini crab cake slider (or enjoy them on toast, with Sriracha mayo or red pepper coulis)

© Sandra S. Weber
 

THE MAIN EVENT

ENTREES
Roast pork tenderloin with blueberry chutney
Baked lemon chicken thighs

Pulled pork with housemade barbecue sauce
Tricked-out macaroni and cheese (zesty and flavorful on its own, but we can stud it with roasted broccoli, lobster, chicken, mushrooms, bacon, caramelized onion … what sounds good to you?)
MacQ (pulled pork over creamy mac and cheese, drizzled with barbecue sauce)
Chicken and green onion cobbler (savory chicken stew with cheese-infused cornmeal biscuit topping)
Buffalo chicken-loaded potato casserole (a savory collision of two yummy comfort foods)
Kentucky tenders (with 11 herbs and spices)

TACO BAR
Shredded pork, adobo beef, seasoned chicken, seasoned ground beef
Traditional refried pinto beans; vegan black beans
Sauteed peppers and onions; jalapeno corn
Corn and flour tortillas
Salsa, guacamole, queso dip, tortilla chips
Spanish rice; cilantro rice
Garnishes (cheese, pickled onion, chopped tomato, cilantro, lettuce)

 

SALADS & SIDES

Arugula with crispy prosciutto and shaved Parmesan
Spinach-blueberry salad with maple balsamic vinaigrette
Caesar salad with creamy dressing (optional chicken/shrimp upgrades)
Roasted vegetables with orzo and feta
Wild rice with butternut squash and corn
Spinach and chickpeas
Root beer baked beans
Creamed spinach with jalapeños
Creamy coleslaw