Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Perfect Buffet for all Meat and Non-Meat Eaters

Buffet Table as seen on Divine Dinner Party
Buffet Table Setting as seen on Divine Dinner Party

This has to be one of my more politically correct, non-offending party ideas.  You may already know this, but in case you forgot or are new, I'm 99% vegan, my oh-so-fabulous husband is pretty much 95% vegetarian, and our family and friends are probably 100% meat eaters (with a vegetable or two thrown into the mix).  Oh!  I'm also gluten-free.  I'm overstating this but I think you get my point.

In the eyes of our family and friends, we are the non-normal ones out of the whole bunch of bananas.
It used to scare our family and mostly our friends to come over and eat at our house in fear that they may have to eat seaweed and tofu.  lol

What DH and I like to do is come up with a theme for the party / event / dinner and work from there.  So, say we are going to have a Father's Day buffet, a Mystery Murder Buffet, or a Theater Buffet.  Once we figured that out we would decide on a bunch of food items and then create a menu to please all.

Let's say we have brainstormed the following.


Salad

  1. Spring Mix Salad Bar with Carrots, Red Onion, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Shredded Cheese Mix, Croutons, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Ranch and Fat Free Italian Dressing
  2. Caesar Salad Bar

Side Dishes 

  1. Green Bean Almondine
  2. Creamed Corn
  3. Sauteed Corn & Zucchini
  4. Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
  5. Baked Potato Bar
  6. Pasta (Gluten-Free and Whole Wheat)

Dinner Rolls (Gluten-Free and Whole Wheat) with Butter (Vegan and Regular) 

Main Dishes

  1. Chicken Piccata
  2. Cedar Plank Salmon with fresh Herbs
  3. Blackened Tilapia with Pineapple Salsa
  4. Blackened Tofu "Steaks" with Pineapple Salsa
  5. Garlic Roasted Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream and Au Jus

Desserts

  1. Hot Fudge Sundae Bar with Brownies, Vanilla Ice Cream, Cherries, Chopped Nuts, Sprinkles, Chocolate Chips, Hot Fudge (or chocolate sauce), Caramel Topping, and Whipped Cream
  2. Baked Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

Beverages

  1. Coffee
  2. Tea
  3. Water
  4. Bloody Mary or other Signature Drink

After making our list, we would go through and choose a salad, 2 or 3 side dishes, rolls, 2 types of main course, a dessert, and probably each of the beverages.

Tips:

  • When creating a buffet like this, it's better to keep each dish a little smaller than if you were to only have a salad, vegetable, main, and dessert.  The reason for this is that not everyone will choose everything. 
  • Everything is set up in separate bowls or serving dishes so that everyone can essentially make their own dinner.  Some may want prime rib while others will want pasta and maybe some fish. 
  • Each item will have a label so that there are no questions between which dish or bread might be gluten-free, etc.  This also helps if anyone has a particular food allergy.
  • Purchase items on sale, with coupons, and ask if you can pick up certain items on the day of your party.
  • Use the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple, Sweetie) method and go semi-homemade.  Spend your time on the items that you really want to make from scratch.  Instead of making your Bloody Mary mix (unless you are known for your mix) buy a really good mix and add your celery stock, horse radish, and vodka.
The more you plan and do ahead, the more you will be relaxed the day of your party.  When you, the host is relaxed and having fun, everyone else will enjoy themselves.


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Substance of Living