When it comes to easy entertaining, not everyone has an endless supply of serving dishes at their disposal. Trying to round up enough serving dishes can complicate your party plans. To keep from beg, borrowing or buying, why not get creative with things you may have on hand or can incorporate into your party menu? Here is a unique food idea for entertaining parties that can work for both casual entertaining and elegant entertaining: Use fruits, vegetables and other food items as serving dishes for anything from appetizers to easy desserts.
For instance you can hollow out a fresh orange and steady it by taking a thin slice off the bottom so it will stand flat on the table. An easy and waste free method to hollow: using a citrus juicer, squeeze out the juice and reserve for a beverage or sauce. You now have a brightly colored single serving dish ready to fill.
Here are some of the ways to use an orange:
–Serve an icy sherbet or sorbet for dessert. These can easily be made ahead of time and placed in the freezer on a baking sheet until it’s time to serve. Add a small sprig of mint or a curl of lime peel for contrasting color.
–An Asian salad would taste especially good served in an orange.
–Rice salad or a small scoop of tabouli
–Shrimp salad or cocktail with a sprig of parsley makes a great
Another easy fruit to use is a melon. This makes a great way to serve a fresh melon salad. Cut the melons in half. Scoop out a small watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew making different sizes of melon balls. Add back into the halves of the watermelon to make an impressive serving dish. Be sure to slice a little off the side that will rest in the table in order to stabilize.
Other uses for melons-
–Any kind of fruit salad (serving fruit in fruit)
–Fruit soup would work well as individual servings in halved cantaloupes
–Green salad including bitter greens
–Marinated cucumber salad
Or if you want you can line the inside of the melon with parchment in order to keep the flavor from leaching and use as a dip-serving dish.
Other fruits you can fill or stuff-
–Lemons and limes
Another great serving dish is a round loaf of bread. The best bread to use is a crusty round of sourdough as it can stand up to heat and liquid. If you hollow out individual small rounds of sourdough, you can use these as serving bowls for soup.
The best soups are stew type such as beef stew, clam chowder, broccoli and cheese, and chili. The bread bowl will get saturated with the flavor of soup and eaten after the soup is gone.
Other uses for bread bowls-
–Any kind of dip serves well. Place in the center of a platter, fill with a hot crab and cheese or spinach dip for instance, and surround with chips or crackers.
–Stand veggie sticks in a large bread bowl and put two or three smaller ones around it filled with various dips.
–Hot macaroni and cheese
–Any food appetizers that will fit inside
–Serving cheese cubes or shredded for a taco, salad, or potato bar
Veggies make great dishes, especially as individual servings. For instance, bell peppers hollowed out can be filled with a rice and meat mixture and baked to make stuffed peppers. You can also make individual sized meatloaf baked in bell peppers. Using fresh bell peppers offers many uses.
–Use for dips
–Rice or pasta, hot and cold
Other veggies you can stuff or fill-
–Cucumbers and squash-hollowed and halved long way
–Hollowed out radishes filled with tuna or herb cream cheese for an easy appetizer that is both quick and healthy
–Tortillas formed into bowl shape and fried
–Baked Wontons formed into cups by placing in cupcake pans
Use the colorful skins of the “food serving dishes” as a way to enhance your entertaining decorating. The greens and reds of peppers for instance, will add a good color statement for an Italian or Mexican food theme. Keep in mind the flavor of the dish you serve and the essence of the food you are filling–keep the two complimentary.
These are just a few ideas to use food…to serve food for easy entertaining on a budget. You can use your imagination and go wild. To get really creative try serving your entire meal out of food. Clean up for your next dinner party would be a breeze!