Ingredients for a Great Menu

Y’all, September is almost over and it feels like 2017 is just flying by us.  With the holidays just around the corner, we’re already dreaming about Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at our homes surrounding by family and friends.  Nothing quite fires me up like a delicious meal!  When it comes to planning a menu, either at your home or for a wedding, there are some tried and true methods for putting together a killer menu. Today I’m sharing some of my helpful hints.


Although it may seem backwards, you shouldn’t try to plan your menu in order.  You should start with the “star” of the meal, the entrée. Decide if you want to serve beef, chicken, fish or a duo plate with two proteins. After you’ve chosen your protein, pick side dishes that complement.  It’s traditional to have a veggie and starch, but you know your guests best. Don’t worry about pleasing every individual person. Instead, focus on pleasing the majority of the crowd. 


Now that you know your “star,” you can move forward in picking the starters. The pre-meal teasers should be unique, interesting flavors.  Don't repeat ingredients from the entrée course.  My recommendation is to usually have three hors d’oeuvres.  One should be vegetarian friendly and at least one should be a hot appetizer.

Landon Jacob Photography

Landon Jacob Photography


Your menu is almost complete!  Between the entrée and appetizers, you should have a nice variety of flavors that go well with the season.  Now, remembering not to repeat ingredients, it’s time to pick the first course and the dessert. Your first course can be a beautiful, seasonally-appropriate salad, soup or combination of both.  Remember, we eat with our eyes too so don’t be afraid to add colors from seasonal fruits and veggies.  The dessert will be the last thing your guests enjoy and the finale to the meal.  Think about how much you have served so far and be sure to end with the appropriate level of “heaviness” and portion.   


Your beautiful food menu is complete but don’t forget about beverages!  If you are not comfortable picking a wine paring, swing by your local wine store and ask for help.  Let them know your budget range and menu.  A knowledgeable sales person would be happy to give you recommendations. It may also be fun to add a cocktail for guests to enjoy with hors d’oeuvres. Remember to keep it light and balanced.  Seasonal fruit is a great addition to many cocktails!  We’re also fans of offering a fun “mocktail.”  Just because a guest may choose not to drink, shouldn’t mean they are left out of the fun or relegated to drinking water all night.  Sparkling water with a beautiful garnish or infused water is a simple and inexpensive way to delight guests of all preferences.

Need help planning your holiday party or designing a beautiful tabletop?  We’d love to chat! 

Drop us a Line

After all, amazing food served on a beautiful table is just our cup of tea (or coffee… since we may have a legit coffee problem in our office here)!  Bon Appétit!