A few weeks ago, I catered a small dinner for the first time. One of my sweet Facebook followers suggested I share the menu and tips for making food ahead of time. I loved the idea so much, not only am I doing that here, but I created an eBook with 10 recipes as well as tips/timing for making it all ahead.
I worked with the event planner to create dishes that were easy to eat, filling, and delicious for her party of eight. We selected bell pepper toasts with herbed goat cheese, shredded chicken caprese quesadillas, and potato rosti with herbed goat cheese.
For drinks, she chose hibiscus flower simple syrup to serve with champagne and sparkling water. For the event, I prepped all the ingredients for the toasts, rosti, and drinks beforehand in my home. Then I calmly assembled everything at the venue while I cooked the quesadillas in a little over an hour. You could make one or all of these recipes for your guests. Making food ahead cuts back on any stress and I highly recommend it.
This roasted bell pepper toasts were a quick favorite in our house and they’re so easy to make. I happily suggested them as a hearty small bite option. You can mix the herbed goat cheese up to one day before your party.
How to Keep Toast from Getting Soft
Slice and toast the bread up to 8 hours ahead. When you remove them from the toaster, spread them on a wire rack to let the top and bottom cool completely. Once they’ve cooled, you can put them in a ziploc bag for storage, but leave the bag slightly open to allow for ventilation. Spread the cheese and layer the roasted bell pepper on the toasts up to 30 minutes before serving.
These potato rosti (recipe in the eBook) are such a treat; they’re like latkes or crispy, potato pancakes.The lemon, herbed goat cheese gives the dish a light flavor that will have you reaching for more! I’ve always served these warm, but because of the time frame, we decided to serve them at room temperature and I was happy with how they turned out. You can mix the goat cheese up to one day ahead of time. They only real difference in the recipe from that above is the addition of lemon zest. You could make a double batch of the same goat cheese or whip them up separately and change up the herbs used.
Similar to the toasts above, you want to cool the rosti completely before storing or transporting them. After they’ve sat on the paper towels for a minute, remove to wire rack until they’ve cooled completely. Up to 30 minutes before serving, add the dollop of cheese to the rosti and garnish with salt and chives.
The event coordinator requested meat on the menu, so I suggested adding shredded chicken to the caprese (mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil) quesadillas w. marinara dipping sauce. I cheated a bit on this dish, buying pre-cooked, shredded chicken and cheese that were already shredded, cutting way down on my prep time. You want to make the quesadillas as close to serving as possible. Keep them warm in a 200 degree oven once you’ve removed them from the stovetop. The marinara sauce can be made up to a day in advance, just keep it refrigerated.
Get more entertaining recipes for your next get-together.
Make Ahead Recipes Timeline
Up to 24 Hours before…
• herbed goat cheese for toasts + rosti
• roasted garlic marinara sauce for quesadillas
Up to 8 hours before…
• slice + toast bread for toasts (cool on wire rack completely). Store in bag with a bit of ventilation until serving
• Cook rosti (cool on wire rack completely). Refrigerate until 30 minutes before serving.
30-60 minutes before…
• Assemble and cook quesadillas (keep in 200 degree oven to keep warm until serving)
• Assemble toasts and rosti