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Commentary: Picking Entrees

So you have decided to serve an entrée(s) on a buffet. The next step is deciding what to make.

I always decide first on the main entrée(s) then any side dishes... then, and only then, do I narrow down what to make for hor’dourves or appetizers. After those items are decided, then I move on to making decisions about dessert. I will discuss those food items in different posts.

The first considerations should be…how many people you need to feed, likes and dislikes of the guests, and expense.

The more people you have… the more variety is probably best. They will more than likely have a more diverse set of likes and dislikes.

You need sit down and figure out what you have budgeted for the party. If staying within your budget is very important to you… I always take 10% off the top and reserve it. There will be things that will end up costing more than anticipated or maybe there will be last minute purchases that you hadn’t counted on. Trust me… the 10% will more than likely be spent somewhere…. And if for some reason it’s not…. go for a pedicure the day after the party… you deserve it.

You should have a list by now of possible ideas… pasta dishes are the biggest budget stretcher.. most people like them and most can be prepared in advance. Meat dishes… Italian meatballs, Stroganoff, Chicken Marsala, Chicken Parmigiano, Swedish Meatballs, Ham, Turkey Breast, Roast Pork, Roast Beef.. to name a few …are great possibilities, as well. In upcoming posts I will discuss these and more.

When choosing an entrée, keep in the back of your mind possible side dishes that go well with it. If you decide to have multiple entrees… keep in mind how they are cooked and their ingredients. For example you wouldn’t want to have all of them contain mushrooms… not everyone likes mushrooms… and you wouldn’t want to have them all contain wine… not everyone likes that either… and finally you don’t want to mix too many nationalities that may not go well together… an enchilada pie wouldn’t go well with Swedish meatballs.

I strongly recommend if you must have more than one entrée… you consider a basic meat for one of them. For one thing, roasted or baked meat is easy and virtually fool proof and the side dish possibilities are quite simple too….. believe it or not it can be quite economical too… especially if you are serving another entrée that is heavy and filling…. A little bit will go a long way.

Remember to take into account when choosing your entrees… your time, the timing of the cooking and available oven space.

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