Post # 1
My sister, mother, fiance, and I have decided to cook all the food for our wedding. It will be a buffet. I have some ideas, but I need some direction.
I would like to be able to make it a couple days beforehand. The wedding will be informal.
PB & J
Turkey & Cheese
Tortilla roll ups – cream cheese, grilled chicken, and salsa. My sister loves to make these.
Pasta salad (2 kinds)
Post # 3
I would not make the sandwiches ahead of time. If you want stuff you can make ahead think of stuff that can be frozen and simply cooked that morning.
How many people?
Nacho bar- Nacho cheese warmed in a crockpot, big baskets of chips and a few toppings like tomato, black beans, onion, bacon, sour cream, salsa etc. Requires almost no effort and can be really cheap depending on the toppings you choose.
A baked pasta dish frozen ahead of time and baked that morning like a simple baked ziti or lasagna
Post # 4
What sort of input are you looking for? Recipe suggestions, tips for making/storing beforehand, different ideas?
How many guests are you expecting?
My suggestion would be to nix the pb&j and make all the sandwiches on long hoagie rolls, like sandwich shops do when they cater. It’ll be faster and easier than lots of individual sandwiches, and more filling (= less sandwiches for you to make!) from all the bread.
For a vegetarian option to replace the pb&j, how about a hoagie with avocado, cheese, tomatoes, etc (like this recipe)?
Post # 5
Ok, honestly….super honestly….almost none of these foods can really be cooked a few days before. There are so many good caterers that can prep this food for you at a reasonable cost…why kill yourself?
However, if you want to go this route, I would still go formal on the finger sandwiches, but they need to be made the day of…if not,
-deli platter with assorted rolls, breads (can prepare the day before)
-Your sisters finger sandwiches (yummy!)
-salad bar: couscous, pasta salad, potato and green (most can be made a day or so before)
Have a cake. In the long run, its your wedding…and you can DIY this and its cheaper than tarts n the other stuff.
Handmake some chocolate-dipped strawberries-cheap n cheerful.
Post # 6
My Fiance and I are doing a similar menu for our wedding, we both have worked in restaurant/catering for over 5 years so we are comfortable doing this. Looking at your menu- I love the desserts. Mainly because they can be made ahead of time, frozen and then defrosted and served. It makes it easy to get them done and have them ready for the event. For the sandwiches- I would do it a little differently. We are doing a basket of sliced rolls, and platters of meat, cheese, veggies and condiments. Sandwiches made ahead of time tend to get soggy as they sit. We don’t think we’ll be able to do a bunch of food prep the day before, so we are precooking and slicing ham/turkey/roastbeef, and having family help us set up trays the day before to put out the day of. Tortilla rolls hold up better then regular bread, so I love that idea. The fruit, salads, and pretzels just depend on who is helping you and how much time you have the day before/day of to dedicate to food. Make a small batch of pasta salad for you and Fiance, and see how long it takes. Then realize you have to make a lot more for you guests, and think about if its doable with decorations, rehersal, rehersal dinner etc the day before. Let me know if you have other questions- I’m happy to help!
Post # 7
I also have a wicked pulled pork recipe with homemade sauce if you would like to do pulled pork with dinner rolls instead.
Post # 8
@MrsSweetAndTangy: What a out doing this as a big salad/sandwich bar? Have all of your vegetables and proteins (chicken, bacon, turkey, ham, whatever) with tons of toppings ideas (avocados, banana peppers, nuts, creative dressings/sauces/spreads, hummus, etc) and an assortment of breads and wraps so that a guest could build their own sandwich or salad?
You could do a chip and dip bar station too, with a cheese and cracker spread to go with that.
To be honest, the only time I’ve seen PB&J served as a party food was at a 1 year old’s bday party and I just can’t imagine it as part of a wedding spread. I know hat I’m a special snowflake, but I’m allergic to gluten and would only be able to eat green salad and fruit from your current menu. I think that a lot of your accompaniments sound yummy (maybe replace one pasta salad with a no-mayo potato salad or a slaw?).
Post # 9
Thanks, guys! I’m pretty much looking for any advice, recipes, etc. The wedding will probably have a small guest list – 40 people, and the wedding will be at 2:00. I guess I should also add that my mom’s in culinary school, my sister’s kind of a freelance caterer, and my fiance’s a cook, too! 🙂 My sister did mention that sandwiches didn’t keep well, but I am stubborn and wanted to make sure. 😛
I make those two types of pasta salads all the time, and I take them on trips and BBQs, and a lot of times make them before.
@ThreeMeers: I do love the nacho bar idea! And the pasta idea sounds super easy, too.
Post # 10
@Ellegee: I am having a bit of trouble thinking of items that will cater to those with different dietary needs. I really, really, want to make everyone happy, because I know how it feels to sort of be left out of the menu. I’m allergic to shellfish, used to be a vegeterian, and I’ve been on a low carb diet off and on for a couple years and a lot of times, people don’t think of that kind of stuff. My mom’s also diabetic, so I want to cater to that as well.
Post # 11
@MrsSweetAndTangy: the definately think in terms of a “DIY” type bar then people can make their plate to suit their needs.
Nacho bar- as I already described
Sandwich bar- as other PPs mentioned
Slider Bar- (make ahead, freeze and reheat the meat and keep warm in crockpot) pulled pork, sloppy joe meat, grilled chicken and small rolls so people can make their own sliders or just eat the meat
Mashed Potato bar- have sweet and regular mashed potatoes and different toppings such as chives, sour cream, marshmellows (for the sweet potatoes), butter, bacon, etc.
Soup Bar- again keep warm in crockpots and have 2-3 soup options. such as a butternut squash or veggie chili and a meat option like Italian Wedding or chicken and dumplings.
Post # 12
When we have family parties (which is usually about 40 people), we always get a big Honeybaked Ham and made dad makes a roast and my mom roasts turkey breasts. We serve them all warmed (just a little while in a low oven), but you can do them cold. We set out different types of breads (rye, dollar rolls, and potato), a cheese platter (cheddar, swiss, pepperjack, and usually a flavored cream cheese (just whip some cream cheese in a mixer which some spices/herbs). We’ll also do a pickle tray and all sorts of mustards/mayo. It’s always yummy, easy, and fun – I actually hosted Christmas this year with this menu, and there were almost 50 people in my house.
Post # 13
Agree, nix the PB&J sandwiches. You don’t want someone to go into anaflactic shock on your wedding day. Fruit tarts also wouldn’t keep very well over the days- simply because fresh fruit is one of those delicate things to begin with. Pie would probably hold up better, especially since the fruit has been cooked. I feel like in terms of dessert, it would be cheaper to buy cakes, pies, and cookies from a place like Costco the day before. I bought this GIGANTIC chocolate cake from Costco once, and it was $11.99 (would have cost $40 normally), looked great and tasted fantastic and quite frankly wouldn’t have cost me much less to have made the cake. It’ll definitely save you a lot of time, and worry about how the desserts will hold up.
The regular salad would have to be assembled on the day of, because salad doesn’t hold up well either – but I don’t think that would be a big deal to assemble on the day of.
If there is a Stop and Shop close to you, they have a beautiful BIG brie and strawberry platter for $20. It’s also a good place to buy baked goods.
You could definitely do a grilled veggie platter – roasted bell peppers and tomatoes, grilled asparagus, and eggplant – and these are all fine cold.
Perhaps have a bread and butter table. You could have different breads/rolls/cornbread and some fancy butters (you could make yourself ahead of time) like garlic butter/honey butter/ herb butter, etc …
You could make quiches ahead of time, and then pop them back into the oven on the day of, as well as potato pancakes.
If you wanted a hot meat entree, you could make a beef roast with au jus ahead of time, slice it, and on the day of, pour the au jus into the tray and stick it all into the oven to heat up. The au jus will keep the meat moist in the oven.
Post # 14
Back when I was researching this very topic, I bookmarked this page that went over in details what you need to self cater your wedding and she also did a sandwich bar also and had a similar menu. REALLY great advice.