Themed food bars add variety to your party
By Sharon Naylor
SPRING AND SUMMER are ;lled with fun
celebrations at home, such as graduation parties, bridal showers, Mother’s Day and Father’s
Day get-togethers, kids’ birthday parties and
more, and when it’s your turn to host you’ll
want your event to stand out from the rest. A
great way to do that is with creative and deliciously done food bars.
Instead of setting up just one long table and
crowding it with the usual party foods, arrange
several di;erent themed bars that let guests pick
and personalize their own dishes, without having to wait in one long line. Here are some
inspirations for di;erent kinds of food bars.
First stop: appetizers
Before the entrées and sides are ready to
serve, consider these appetizer bars.
Build-your-own snack mix. Guests
scoop into their own small bowls their choices
of nuts (e.g., pistachios, Brazil nuts, walnuts,
Cajun-spiced almonds, etc.), mini pretzels
and cereal mix, and then sprinkle on their
choice of seasonings, from mild to spicy.
Meatballs. O;er mini or full-size beef,
chicken or turkey meatballs, and guests can
top their choices with different kinds of
sauces, from marinara to vodka sauce, alfredo
sauce, barbecue sauce and more. And super-
hot meatballs scooped out of a slow cooker
will easily melt ;nely shredded mozzarella,
Jack, Romano or Parmesan cheese.
Hummus. Guests love the smooth, silky
texture and savory ;avor of great hummus, and
they’ll happily scoop up lemon, jalapeño, garlic,
spinach, basil, olive or classic hummus with
warm pita triangles, or carrot or celery sticks.
Charcuterie. Serve cubes or slices of
cured meats such as capicola, sopressata, chorizo and salami, with cheese cubes, smoked
;sh or small pieces of bread added for ;air.
The main event
For the main meal, simplicity is the key.
;ese tasty options work perfectly at this time
Summer soups. To match the season,
include a healthy veggie soup, available as a
shot or in a bowl. If the summertime evening
hours are cool in your area, consider adding a
warm, tasty soup such as seafood chowder.
Seafood tacos. Dice fresh-cooked
shrimp, lobster, crab, cod or salmon for guests
to load into taco shells, with lettuce, avocado,
salsa and creamy cheese sauce or shredded
cheese, for a tasty twist on a seafood bar that’s
also a budget saver.
Sliders. Mini burgers with all the top-
pings, including a variety of sliced cheeses,
mushrooms, pickles and marinated veggies,
even dollops of chili, are a popular choice.
Salad. Keep it fresh with baby greens, a
variety of veggies, shredded cheese, croutons,
roasted peppers, clementine oranges and
dressings. Or create a colorful fruit salad bar.
Gluten-free pasta or pizza.
Gluten-free pizza shells make it easy for guests on a
gluten-free diet to indulge in your specially
chosen sauces and toppings.
Best of all: dessert
Your biggest challenge at dessert bars will
be keeping them stocked. Try these options.
Pies. ;ey’re a spring and summer favorite for their use of fresh berries, cherries and
apples, but don’t forget chocolate cream.
Popcorn. Kettle corn and ;avored popcorns in big bowls let guests create their
Brownies. Platters of double fudge, swirl,
walnut and other brownies will ;ll the chocolate lover’s plate.
Cheesecakes. Go classic, chocolate or
berry swirl for a creamy, indulgent bar.
And don’t forget great drink bars, with
iced teas, lemonade, sodas and sangrias, beer
and wines, to allow guests their ;avor choices.