Making some, or all, of the food yourself is a great way to cut down on costs associated with throwing a bridal or baby shower. Keep the menu light and easy by serving finger-foods and appetizers guests can easily pick up and pile onto plates. Less formal than a sit-down lunch, guests will have the chance to mingle and nibble throughout the party. We’ve rounded up seven recipes that will fit just about any theme and will have everyone heading back to the tables for seconds.
1. Tortilla Española
Cut Saveur‘s tortilla Española into squares and you’ll have a bite-sized egg and potato dish that is suitable for a brunch, lunch, or cocktail menu. A traditional tapas dish in Spain, the number of servings it will yield depends on how many squares you cut. When made as a breakfast dish and cut into wedges, it serves between four and eight.
- ¾ cup Spanish olive oil
- 6 medium russet potatoes, peeled, quartered, and thinly
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
- 6 eggs
Directions: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 10-inch sauté pan. Add potatoes and onions and cook, lifting and turning, until potatoes are soft but not brown, about 20 minutes. Beat eggs in a large bowl until pale yellow. Transfer sautéed potatoes and onions with a slotted spoon to beaten eggs. Reserve oil.
Heat 1 tablespoon reserved oil in the same pan over medium heat. Add egg and potato mixture, spreading potatoes evenly in the pan. Cook uncovered until the bottom is lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Gently shake pan so tortilla doesn’t stick, then slide a spatula along edges and underneath tortilla. Place a large plate over pan and quickly turn plate and pan over so tortilla falls onto plate. Add 1 teaspoon reserved oil to pan, slide tortilla back in (uncooked side down), carefully tuck in sides with a fork, and continue cooking over medium heat until eggs are just set, about 3 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature.
2. Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches
A hint of curry powder in Southern Living‘s recipe is just the added ingredient your chicken tea sandwiches need. The recipe makes about three dozen sandwiches and, like any tea sandwich, is an ideal offering for a baby or bridal shower.
- ½ cup flaked coconut
- ½ cup chopped almonds
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
- 1½ teaspoons curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken
- 12 (½-inch-thick) pumpernickel, wheat, or white bread slices
- 3 tablespoons diced green onions
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake coconut and almonds in shallow baking, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until toasted. Stir together cream cheese and next four ingredients; gently stir in chicken. Spread evenly on bread slices; trim crusts and cut each slice into three strips. Sprinkle evenly with coconut, almonds, and green onions.
3. Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
Variety is key with tea sandwiches, and for a vegetarian option, make the ultimate classic tea sandwich: cucumber. A good cucumber tea sandwich will be light and fresh, but still flavorful – like these from Great Party Recipes which makes about forty sandwiches.
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced very thinly
- ¾ cup soft butter
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 20 pieces thin-sliced bread
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- pepper to taste
Directions: Lightly salt the cucumber slices and place them in a colander to drain for 1 to 2 hours. Combine the butter and garlic and apply to one side of each slice of bread. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper. Add the cucumber slices, coating them well. Arrange the cucumber on ten of the bread slices, top with the other ten slices, remove the crusts, and quarter. Serve immediately.
4. Santa Fe Wraps
But maybe you feel like reinventing the tea-sandwich-wheel — and with Paula Deen’s recipe for Santa Fe wraps, that is exactly what you should do. Cut into pinwheels, there are between twelve and fifteen servings in this recipe.
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 (4½-ounce) can chopped green chiles
- 1 (4¼-ounce) can chopped olives
- 1 cup (4-ounce) shredded pepper jack cheese
- 2 tablespoons salsa, plus salsa for dipping, optional
- ½ cup green onion tops, sliced
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 2 packages flour tortillas
Directions: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Then add sour cream, green chiles, olives, pepper jack cheese, salsa, and onion tops. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer. Stir in spinach. Spread mixture evenly over the surface of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas tightly and cut each tortilla crosswise into six slices. Skewer each wrap with a wooden toothpick. Serve immediately or chill. Serve with salsa for dipping, if desired.
5. Baked Crab Rangoon
Instead of frying forty-eight individual servings of crab Rangoon, you bake them, cutting down on prep time — not to mention making them healthier. This recipe from Food.com can be served alongside any sauce you like, such as sweet and sour.
- 16 ounces neufchatel cheese, softened (low fat cream cheese)
- 1 (6 ounce) can crabmeat, drained and flaked
- 4 -5 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 (48 count) package wonton skins
- ¼-½ cup melted butter
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In medium bowl, combine all ingredients except wonton skins and butter. Mix until well blended. Place 1 teaspoon filling in center of each wonton skin. Moisten edges with water. Fold in half to form triangle, pressing edges to seal.
Pull bottom corners down and overlap slight; moisten one corner and press to seal. (Usually there is a diagram on the wonton package. I think they look like little kerchiefs.) Arrange on baking sheet that has been coated with vegetable spray. Brush with melted butter. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot with desired sauce.
6. Strawberry Shortcake Skewers
You’ll need wooden skewers to complete this easy, light dessert idea from Blissful Baking. The measurements below make around twelve to fifteen large skewers, and there are countless variations of this simple skewered dish. One alternative would be to use pound cake instead of angel food cake, cut into cubes as well.
- pre-made angel food cake bundt
- milk, white, or dark chocolate (melting discs, almond bark or chocolate chips, morsels, etc.)
- strawberries (one package)
Directions: Slice angel food cake into cubes and set aside. Hull strawberries and slice in half. Skewer the cake and push it to the bottom of the skewer. Follow with a strawberry half and continue until you fill the skewer. (about three of each per skewer) Place skewers on a sheet of waxed paper.
Melt chocolate, and pour it into a pastry bag, or plastic bag. (If using a plastic bag, cut off one corner once chocolate is inside.) Drizzle chocolate over each skewer. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
7. Madeleine Cookies
In the world of French cookies, macarons certainly get a lot of attention. Although they are beautiful to look at, and even better to eat, they are devilishly difficult to prepare. Instead, opt for another cookie from AllRecipes.com that is also light, airy, and delicious: the Madeleine.
- 2 eggs
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup butter
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar for decoration
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour 12 (3-inch) madeleine molds, and set aside. Melt butter and let cool to room temperature. In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, and salt at high speed until light. Beating constantly, gradually add sugar, and continue beating at high speed until mixture is thick and pale and ribbons form in bowl when beaters are lifted, 5 to 10 minutes.
Sift flour into egg mixture ⅓ at a time, gently folding after each addition. Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around edge of batter. Quickly but gently fold butter into batter. Spoon batter into molds; it will mound slightly above tops. Bake 14 to 17 minutes, or until cakes are golden and the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip.
Use the tip of the knife to loosen madeleines from pan; invert onto rack. Immediately sprinkle warm cookies with granulated sugar. Madeleines are best eaten the day they’re baked. Leftover madeleines are wonderful when dunked into coffee or tea.