Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Think small to save big

One of the major costs of a wedding is the reception. And food takes a huge chunk of the reception budget. A very clever way to save on costs is to think small. Bite sized is best.

A sit down dinner can run as much as $75 per person without the wine. That means a guest list of 150 is going to run a tab of close to $12,000. Instead of dinner consider a buffet of bite size appetizers, or even better those appetizers passed on trays by servers. People have a tendency to fill up a plate at a buffet wasting a good portion of the food or stuffing themselves. They're much less likely to chow down in front a wait person or clear off their tray.

It takes a good 15 minutes after you start to eat for your brain to tell your tummy that you're getting full. It takes longer to consume food if you have to wait for the server to come back with another portion.

Little appetizers are very fashionable right now. Served creatively and elegantly your guests won't even realize you're cutting back on costs. Here are a few suggestions:

3 tiny shrimp served on mini rye toasts, spread with cream cheese, garnished with a sprig of dill

Cherry tomatoes stuffed with cottage cheese, basil, and Parmesan cheese

A slice of rare roast beef with a dab of honey mustard sauce served in a pastry puff

Chicken drummetes, chicken wings with the meat pushed down to one end

Sushi - california rolls can be bought the day before.

Salad to go - tiny grape tomatoes, shredded carrots, diced cucumber, baby lettuces served in a small clear plastic 4 ounce cup

Mini burritos. Stuff the smallest size flour tortillas with your favorite burrito mixture, then cut in half.

Augment the mini appetizers with a lavish display of veggies and dip or a basket of crackers and cheeses.

Check out the freezer case of your grocery store for more appetizer ideas. Choose those that taste good at room temperature. It's easier to keep foods cold because you can serve them on a bed of ice, or place the serving plate on a bed of ice. Keeping hot foods hot is more of a challenge. Small servings of food have a tendency to cool off faster.

Garnish the serving plates with ruffled kale, a bed of butter lettuce, or thinly sliced citrus fruit. Garnishes don't get eaten (usually) and cost much less than the appetizer, yet they take up space on the plate and enhance the attractiveness of the food.


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