To start with, you could make something like a veggie platter or meat and cheese plate. You could even buy one but they are rather cheap to put together. Depending on your theme and guests you wouldn’t have to make the serving too fancy. Often when it’s family the food is laid out on a plate but without too much frill.
So let’s get specific and talk actual recipes. Now I’m not going to overwhelm you with recipes but I’ll include a few at the end of this post.
Scones – scones are just biscuits. More often than not they are fancier than they need to be. We make a simple English scone recipe which is your basic biscuit recipe and add a touch of sugar. Then we serve them with jams, lemon curd and even creams like Devonshire cream (we’ve been known to make our own). It’s the accoutrements that make the simple scones seem so extravagant.
Breads and/or crackers can be served with a variety of dips. We love cream cheese dips – jam and cream cheese or cream cheese with bacon and onions. The hardest part is cutting up the bacon and onions and frying them before mixing into the cream cheese (preferably after letting them cool). My mom used to serve these with Ritz crackers for family events. We like them with a nice loaf of french bread now.
I often make a strawberry cucumber salad which is an easy as cutting up the strawberries and cucumbers. If it’s a good year for cucumber prices then I also make sauteed cucumbers. Sounds a little weird but sliced cucumbers fried in a little butter and seasoning is amazing. Our favorite is a little salt and dill. Serve that with sour cream and it’s amazing. If that doesn’t appeal to you, try something similar with sweet potato – slice and bake in the oven until tender. We sprinkle on the seasonings before they are cooked but you can always add them after.
I like to stick with finger foods but a few plated foods doesn’t hurt such as salads. Any salad would work – pasta, potato, green. If we are able to party outside then I like to do a more bbq/picnic sort of menu. We make something the family called squirrel on a stick which is just strips of chicken marinated in teriyaki sauce and threaded on a skewer before grilling. Skewer some veggies and roast them along side the meat.
The great thing is that it’s all about what works for you.
1 2/3 cup self-rising flour
4 tbs. butter
Cut butter into flour until resembles cornmeal. Mix in milk. Drop onto baking sheet and bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Can roll out and cut into shapes.
Sweet – add 1/4 cup sugar
Fruit – add 1/3 cup dried fruit and 2 tbs. sugar
Self-rising Flour – 11/2 teaspoon baking powder to 1 cup flour
Peel a cucumber and slice very thinly on mandolin. Sprinkle with a little salt and place between 2 plates with a weight on top for an hour or so, pouring off liquid at intervals. Cut an equal amount of strawberries into slices. Grind some black pepper over them and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar. Mix cucumbers and strawberries just before serving.
Creamy Italian dressing
This is one of those recipes that I never took the time to write instructions because all I do is dump the ingredients in a bowl. The amounts all depend on how much I was able to get. A good start is 1 tomato and 1 cucumber with everything else to taste. Sometimes I leave out the onion because we’re not big on raw onion or I grill part of a sweet onion.
2 TB butter or margarine
1 teas dill weed
Wash cucumbers. You can peel if you choose. Slice into ¼ inch thick coins. Heat butter in skillet on med high heat. When melted, add cucumbers. Sauté until tender but not too soft. Add dill and stir to incorporate. Remove cucumbers from pan and arrange on a plate. Can serve with a little sour cream, if desired.
1 package cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1 tbs. sugar
Beat ingredients until smooth. Chill before serving.