Friday, September 2

Host Your Best Shower Ever! Part Two: Food

Let's be honest: aside from seeing old friends, the best part of a shower is the food! (That and basking in the glow of soon-to-be motherhood or marital bliss I guess?) There are tons of great finger food recipes out there, but many times the most popular items are slightly unexpected versions of classic offerings. The spread Haley, Laura, and I put together for Teresa's shower this weekend was probably my favorite yet, so I thought I'd share the menu, then give you a few tips for choosing the best bites for your next shindig.

I will be making these cute fruit cones for every event till I die!
Haley sets a pretty table!

Teresa's Bridal Shower Menu
Houston's Spinach Artichoke Dip and Chips
Caprese Skewers
Sausage Cheese Balls
Fresh Fruit in Waffle Cones
Cream Puffs
Chocolate Sour Cream Cake with Raspberry Filling and Semisweet Ganache

We halved mozzarella balls and tomatoes, then folded over basil leaves.

Ganache cake with gum paste decorations. I had great helpers!

My biggest challenge? Keeping it simple!

Haley's artichoke dip was absolutely divine! But it took a lot of time. So did cutting up all the fruit and veggies for the waffle cones and caprese skewers. I tend to be an overly ambitious cook, which results in delays, a frazzled hostess, and lots of dirty dishes. So I was glad we were including other items that required very little preparation. My favorite celebrity chef, Ina Garten, recommends to always entertain with a few special dishes and a few that are ready-made or only need to be assembled. In our case, the cream puffs, cake, and lemonade were waiting for us in the fridge and the sausage balls only needed to be warmed.

Haley making fantastic spinach dip!

Laura working on the caprese skewers

Here are some more go-to items for entertaining:
Ready-made items
Frozen (thawed) cream puffs or eclairs
Store-bought cheese straws
Crackers with cheese spread such as Alouette
Hummus and pita triangles
Pre-cut veggies or fruit and dip
Candy in the color scheme
Make-ahead or heat-only items
Sausage cheese balls
Cold dips and spreads
Toasted spiced nuts
Deviled eggs
Meatballs (slow cooker)
Shrimp cocktail
Finger sandwiches (make the day-of)
Warmed frozen rolls with honey-baked ham and mustard
Frozen seasoned chicken wings or drumettes
Most desserts
Most drinks

Enough recipes to last you several showers

Because not everything can be that simple (or maybe it could and I just over-complicate things!) here are a few of my favorite tried-and-true recipes for showers and parties.
BLT Dip - Mound the dip in the center of a large plate, top with tomatoes, arrange lettuce in a ring around the dip, and slices of french bread around the lettuce.
Sweet Pepper and Gorgonzola Bruschetta - make the topping and toast the bread in advance, then warm together just before serving
Veggie Squares
Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits- cut smaller than called for
Brie and Cherry Pastry Cups
Southern Living Cream Cheese Pound Cake - the best you'll ever eat!
Chess Squares
Marbled Chocolate Treats
Cosmo Slush - can be made without the alcohol

I hope these recipes and tips come in handy the next time you're entertaining! Anybody have some great shower recipes that I left out?

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