It’s shower season, and many of us are running ourselves ragged planning parties left and right. But, when it comes to the food, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Take a look at this easy mix-and-match menu that’s sure to please even the pickiest brides and mamas-to-be.
May and June are at the height of shower season. Wedding showers, engagement parties, baby showers, you name it. We’re invited to them and we’re throwing them left and right.
The friends and loved ones we honor in these moments deserve the very best. We hope for the good weather, we set the prettiest tables, we send out themed invitations and plan our menus to a T. Now, I can’t control the weather, and I don’t know if your loved ones prefers pink lace or a Moroccan tea, but I can give you a menu — you just need tweak it for your theme. I’ve supplied options for each main food group (A’s are simpler, B’s are a little more labor-intensive). They will all mix and match well together.
Once you pick your menu, serve the food in a manner that goes with your party (silver trays, white tablecloth, and your china and silver for a fancy evening engagement soiree, or bright colored trays, fun table coverings, and plastic/paper plates and silverware for a mid-day baby shower). The very same pasta salad can look very different served in a martini glass or in a plastic bowl. Get the drift?
You’ve got to have something to keep awkwardness at bay. Also, you might as well buy some time for last minute prep, placing presents, and the like. I think it’s best to have at least two options.
Chips and dip
A. Cowboy Caviar (Tostitos and salsa dip with corn, peppers and black beans)
B. Hot Artichoke/Crab Dip
Fruit and cheese
A. Variety of easy-to-grab fruits on a tray with toothpicks grouped with some sliced cheeses
B. Brie and fruit baked in phyllo dough (see recipe below)
I’m a big believer in self-service for large crowds. You don’t need to have a million things out there, but let’s cover all the bases.
Protein and carbs
(Yes, combine the two – no one wants a just chicken breast at a shower)
A. Pasta salad with grilled chicken or shrimp
B. Chicken salad served on a croissant with fresh greens
A. Spinach salad with strawberries and poppy seed dressing
B. Roasted red peppers with goat cheese and pesto (see recipe below)
A. Mini pizzas (No, not from the freezer – use little tortillas, top them to your liking, bake and slice)
B. Spicy shrimp (Check out this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.)
Cake is classic, so go ahead and order one from MARTIN’S (I can’t believe I just wrote that) if you’d like. Or, for a bit more love and personal touch, check out these choices.
A. Lemon squares or homemade brownies
B. Chocolate mousse with fresh berries
Now for those recipes I mentioned…
Baked Brie with Raspberry or Apricot Preserves
- 1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 (8 ounce) package brie cheese, round
- 1/8 cup toasted almonds, slices (optional)
- 1/4 cup apricot or raspberry preserves
Preheat oven to 425 and lightly grease cookie sheet. Roll the puff pastry out slightly. Place the cheese wheel on top (leave rind on). Scoop the preserves on top of the cheese. If you’re using almonds, place them on top of the preserves. Bundle the puff pastry up and around the cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let it cool for five minutes then serve with your favorite crackers.
Roasted Red Peppers with Goat Cheese and Pesto
- Red peppers (each Pepper will make three “servings”)
- Log of goat cheese
- Pesto (homemade or jarred)
Turn on your broiler. Cut each pepper in to thirds (each piece should be have a boat-like center). Scoop a generous spoonful of goat cheese in to each “boat.” Add 1 1/2 teaspoon of pesto to top of the goat cheese. Broil for about 10 minutes, until cheese is softened and peppers are browning.
Got any easy-but-tasty shower favorites you’d like to share with those tapped-out hosts and hostesses out there?