- Wash your favorite sweatpants or stretchy pants early in the week. Turkey Day is not about looking good in those jeans. You want to be comfortable with room to grow as you fill your dinner plate with seconds and thirds.
- Decorate. Don’t let Thanksgiving get overshadowed by Christmas. You can have just as much fun decorating and hosting for Thanksgiving. Visit our Pinterest for ideas on our board “Thanksgiving Décor.” (http://www.pinterest.com/maryk44/thanksgiving-decor/)
- Schedule pre-Thanksgiving dinner snacks. Don’t go hungry all day waiting for turkey and dressing. Schedule breakfast and snacks throughout the day so you won’t be starving and binge eat. Remember Thanksgiving eating is a marathon not a sprint.
- Bring your own Tupperware. Before you leave your family’s house, they always send you home with leftovers in their dishes. A year later, you still have not returned their items. Don’t continue to steal platters, containers and more. Bring Tupperware that allows for maximum capacity as leftovers are a post-Thanksgiving essential.
- Mark your seat at the dinner table early. Don’t want to be sitting next to Aunt Myrna or your cousin Jeffrey? Scout out the ideal seating arrangement. Place your coat or scarf on your chair to claim your ideal comfort zone early.
- Have a fire extinguisher on standby. Deep frying your turkey? Not a master chef? Cooking is the number one cause of house fires. Don’t let your turkey catch on fire. Safety first!
- Know who is carving the turkey. Don’t put someone on the spot to carve the turkey. There is no beautiful way to carve a turkey, especially with the entire family staring at you. Make sure the person is set up with an excellent carving knife and serving platter.
- Share what you are most thankful for with loved ones. Don’t let a day of food and family go by without sharing your blessings. If you want to start a new tradition, have each person at the dinner table share one thing they are most thankful.
- Never forget dessert.The marathon is never over until you cross the dessert line. If baking is not your forte, pre-order your dessert and place it onto a nice pie plate or cake stand. Fool your guests into believing it’s your own and claim it’s a secret family recipe. Everyone will leave happy and completely satisfied.
- Look up leftover recipes. Don’t be stuck eating just traditional holiday food for the entire week after Turkey Day. Turn your leftovers into creative recipes. What about turkey salad, turkey and cranberry panini, or many other casserole options? Visit our Pinterest for ideas on our board “Leftover Goodness.” (http://www.pinterest.com/maryk44/leftover-goodness/)
We are frequently asked by couples how do you determine how many people to order for when you have sent out 200+ invitations. We strongly recommend that you use RSVPs to help you determine this number. But even then, there will be guests who RSVP and then don’t show or guests that don’t RSVP who will show up.
If you really have no idea how many guests will come to your wedding, we generally tell our couples to look at the guests list and split it into three categories: (1) those who will definitely come to the wedding; (2) those who most likely will not come but who you needed to send an invitation to; and (3) those who you’re not sure whether they will come or not come. Divide the unsures in half and add them to your definitely coming. This method generally provides a pretty good starting place for the number of guests who will come.
But be careful. At Dinner’s Ready we work very hard to keep our prices lower so that our brides can have the wedding of their dreams. For that reason, we do not bring extra food “just in case”. We bring food for the number of guests you ordered for, or in the quantities you ordered. The last thing you want to worry about on your wedding day is not having enough food to feed all of your guests.
Once a month as part of our #weddingwednesday blog, we will work to dispel any myths out there in regards to catering for your wedding. We hope this is informative and gives you an idea of what to expect when it comes to food for that all important day!
Myth 1:Finger foods and hors d’oeuvres are less expensive than other catered foods.
While it is true that sometimes finger foods and hors d’oeuvres can be a less expensive way to cater a meal, sometimes individually prepared items that are made by hand by our chefs, such as Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms or Bacon-Wrapped Filet Bites, can be very time consuming, much more so than if they were simply making a pan of rice. Although there are less expensive alternatives in our finger food options, such as Finger Sandwiches or 8 Layer Mexican Dip, unique and individually prepared hor d’oeuvres are more labor intensive and, therefore, higher in price. Even if you are only providing finger foods at a reception, if it is held during a normal meal time your guests will eat as if it is a meal. For that reason, you will need to provide an ample amount of an interesting variety of different finger foods to satisfy your guests appetites.For a meal held during dinnertime, you will typically need to provide 10-15 “bites” per guest.
We’ve been stars of TV lately with two promotions for Civitan’s fundraiser on THV 11 and KATV Channel 7 as well as Salt Bowl pep rally breakfast on KATV Channel 7. We thought we’d spend this week’s blog on how we prepared for the events.
- Getting on TV – We have to say Ashley Copple with Civitan Services did much of the work to get us on TV for the Civitan Services event so getting on there was easy with her. We also have a great in at KATV (one of our staff’s husband is the new director) and were delighted to be asked to provide the breakfast for the Benton Panthers pep rally for the Salt Bowl. So the first step to getting on TV is asking and so since we were asked so we were lucky in that respect.
- Figuring out the Menu – Once we were asked, we started brainstorming what our menu was going to be like. For Good Morning Arkansas, they specifically wanted the chef to show the viewers how to put a meal together. This is always tricky because we don’t want to give out a recipe that we use very often (“Trade secrets and all”) but we want it to be something that reflects what we do and something that is also easy to do at home. We chose a simple refreshing pasta dish that we actually do offer in our Drop-Off Catering Specials. We also wanted to find a choice that reflected what we would be providing for the Civitan Services fundraiser Murder at the Masquerade so a pasta dish was a good choice. For the THV 11 segment, it was very, very early in the morning but we also had the same issues as above. We ended up not actually showing the viewers how to put the meal together so our Prime Rib ended up being a good choice. It’s very elegant menu item and one of our signature pieces. For the pep rally, we knew we’d get mentioned but we were not sure they would see our food so we decided to have one of our chef’s there making food to order. It gave the kids and fans something fun and if we did get to be on air we could make it interesting!
- Practice Makes Perfect – The next thing we have to work on is practicing putting the food together in the time allowed. They only give you 5 minutes for everything including talking about the event as well as preparing the food. So practicing and prepping in advance are key items. Producers can be funny people to work with though and we’ve learned the hard way that what they tell you is not always what ends up happening, so one thing we prepare for is the unexpected. Part of the practice makes perfect is also sitting down with the whole team (our marketing director –Melinda, our catering director –Mary, our chef – Serge and anyone else who is going on the segment with us –in this case – Ashley with Civitan Services). We discussed who was going to say what and how it was all going to work. It’s also helpful to give pointers to the team – don’t look at the camera, be relaxed, pretend you are just talking to the reporter and don’t think about the many viewers who are watching. Things like that!
- Rolling with the punches – Remember earlier when I said you have to prepare for the unexpected. Prepare for them to tell you to get there early to prepare your food on site, find out you are not going on until 2 hours later and won’t have time to prepare the food. Or you should prepare to find out they don’t have a kitchen for your chef to prepare food on the day before the segment. These are the unexpected that can and do happen. We’ve also been unexpectedly pulled out to talk in a segment when all we were to be were bystanders. You roll with the punches and make it work.
- Lastly, have fun and it usually all works out in the long run. We have three recent segments here that prove that. Maybe we were a little nervous, maybe we fidgeted, maybe the camera shot did not get a good angle on the food, but I bet you the viewer probably didn’t notice that much or at least you can pretend. When you are a caterer being on TV is not your calling but making good food is. We can’t all be Giada or Bobby Flay!
Here is a healthy recipe for your tailgate parties this football season. It’s super yummy.
- 4 Flatout® Soft Whole WHeat Flatbreads
- 16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1¼ cup reduced fat, shredded cheddar cheese
- 1¼ cup reduced-sugar BBQ sauce
- 2½ cups black bean + corn salsa (to make, see ingredients below)
Black Bean + Corn Salsa
- 1 can sweet corn, rinsed + drained
- 1 can black beans, rinsed + drained
- ¼ onion, diced
- Lay flatbreads on a cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 5-10 minutes until edges are slightly brown.
- Remove flatbread from oven and top with cheese then salsa then chicken.
- Drizzle BBQ sauce over the top.
- Return topped flatbread to the oven for 10 minutes.
- For the black bean corn salsa, combine corn, beans and onion.
- Divide into 1 cup portions and freeze in baggies for future use.
We are so proud to display our Best of Arkansas Award for Best Catering Runner-Up from the readers of Arkansas Times. As you can see from picture at right, our owner Serge Krikorian is proudly hanging it next to our 2012 Award for Runner-Up as well! Here is a little picture montage of some of our favorite caterings from the last year.
In February, we were glad to cater the Annual Benton Chamber Banquet at the new Benton Event Center. Over 700 guests were served by 30 Dinner’s Ready staff and more than 50 volunteers in less than 18 minutes from the kitchen to the plate to the table. This was an amazing feat and actually kind of fun!
We were so proud to do last year’s Holiday Party for Southwest Power Pool and their 500 employees. The event needed over 30 paid staff to deliver the plated meals for their luncheon at Clear Channel Metroplex in Little Rock.
We also did their Launch Party for a new product at their headquarters in Little Rock. We did Fajita Action Stations with lots of Mexican inspired decor and food! It was alot of fun for the Southwest Power Pool employees who had to work into the wee hours of the morning to get the product launched!
We love our brides and one of our most beautiful brides this year was Julie Earney Duke who married the love of her life Brandon Duke in Conway. The reception was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall and we provided a Pasta Action Station with Blackened Chicken Pasta with Cajun Cream Sauce.
We also did Red Beans and Rice and other Cajun inspired dishes. It was a beautiful reception for over 300 guests. We made the pasta to order for all guests before the bride and groom arrived from taking pictures. Quite a feat! Our Chefs are working hard at right at their pasta stations!
One of our fave annual events is the Boys and Girls Club of Saline County Golf Tourney. This year we provided beach inspired decor with our crowd-favorite Fajita Action Station. We also did our Bananas Foster Action station to add a little fun to the event. We love doing this fundraiser for one of our fave charities.
One of our most recent weddings was for Megan and Adam Eoff at the Benton Event Center. There was a real trend this year in weddings for a Shabby Chic rustic look and we feel this wedding showcased that trend well. It was a beautiful reception!
Woo Pig Sooie! was the name of the game when we did the US Foods Razorback Tailgate party. We provided the decor for the buffet as well as chefs for the Fajita Action Station and the Bananas Foster Crepe Station. As you can see the game held in November was a cold one.
We have saved one of our best events for last. We did the wedding of the daughter of one of our long-time friends Phillip And Cissy Brown. Melody and her husband David Pettit had an elegant outdoor reception at the home of her parents with nearly 400 in attendance. We provided Crepe Action Stations with two large and beautiful decorated buffets. Our chefs outdid themselves and the food and decor was beautiful. Below are some of the pictures of the buffet and Crepe Stations.
Every year we start planning for Taste of Bryant as soon as we hear the theme. This year was no different when we found out the theme was going to be Farmer’s Market (We actually got to help choose the theme as our own Marketing Director, Melinda Rodgers Johnson, chaired the event). First thing we did was go to Pinterest. This is our “go to” place to find ideas.
After perusing Pinterest, the web and any other place we could get ideas, we all got together and had a brainstorming session amongst our creative team (Mary and myself along with Melinda, our Deli & Market Manager Tammy Neiber, our Head Chef, Alex Leven, and our Catering Manager, Michelle Read).
We decided from this session that we needed farm tables, produce display, flea market decorations, homemade signs and fresh produce. Then we worked on the details of the food we will serve. The food had to be local fresh and anything we can do on the spot in front of our customer.
Alex (who in addition to his chef duties is also our resident Carpenter) took the lead on building and staining the farm tables and produce stands with a little engineering help from me. Here is some of the work in progress pictures below!
Our sons Brian Krikorian and Matthew Krikorian, along with oversight and creative direction from Melinda, built and painted the signage and built the backdrop displays using pallets. Pallets that we scavenged from friends and family (Those of you who helped – THANKS)
Decorations were bought from different flea markets with Barbara Ryan Hesse, my sister in law, and Betty, my mother in law, and Mary.
Melinda also provided some of the items either from her own décor or made to go with theme. Then Melinda with the help of Brian put all the décor together to get the final product to its beautiful finale.
Melinda and her husband Tom, her sister Laura Nix, and nephews Chase Nix and Colten Nix, along with assistance from Brian set up our display the day of the event.
Because Farmers markets are generally in the mornings, we decided to serve a breakfast-themed menu.
Fresh baked strawberry and banana nut muffins
Pancakes with fresh fruits flambed w/brown sugar
Hummus bar with vegetable crudites
Yogurt bar with fresh add-ins
Tammy and her team baked and cut all of our fresh produce. Almost all the produce came from one of our chef’s (Daryn Cole) farm in Bismark.
When the night of Taste of Bryant arrived, it was everyone to your stations and let’s serve our guest’s. Chef Alex flambéing strawberries, bananas, and fresh peaches for the vanilla pancakes made by Brian,
Tammy is keeping our Greek yogurt bar stocked with candied fruits. Daryn making breakfast burritos to order. Finally, Matthew is keeping everyone stocked and helping keep up with extra demand on the different stations.
Melinda helped take pictures but she had a lot of hats that night with co-chairing the event. Mary and I also helped take pictures and helped supervise the process. We really have a great team. It took a lot of hard work to put it all together but it’s all a lot of fun!
This week’s featured wedding is from Megan Perry and Adam Eoff. They were married on Saturday, June 21st at the First Baptist Church in Benton with reception following at the Benton Event Center. It was a delightful wedding with a shabby chic theme.
Colors: Turquoise and Coral
Where: Benton Event Center
When: June 21, 2014
Dinner’s Ready Food Served:
Ham & Cheese Sliders with Garlic Cheddar Biscuits and Dark Ale Mustard
Bacon-Wrapped Cocktail Smokies
Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms
Herb-Marinated Chicken Kebabs
Pigs in A Blanket
8-Layer Mexican Dip
Vegetable Tray with Ranch
Fruit and Cheese Display
Assortment of Breads and Crackers
Spiral Finger Sandwiches
- Fruit salsa
- 16-oz. strawberries, diced
- 2 kiwi, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 3 Tbsp. sugar-free apricot preserves or jam
- Cinnamon chips
- 4 flour tortillas (soft taco size)
- cooking spray
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- On a large plate, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Spray each tortilla front and back and carefully lay on the plate, one at a time. Move around lightly to get the cinnamon and sugar to adhere to the tortilla, then flip coating the other side.
- With a pizza cutter, cut cinnamon and sugar tortilla in half and then each half into four pieces, creating 8 slices per tortilla. Spread out on the baking sheet. Repeat with all tortillas and then place in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Pull baking sheet from oven and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, combine the fruit and the preserves in a medium sized bowl. Serve with cooled cinnamon chips and enjoy!
It’s time for that annual celebration where we grill, eat lots of yummy food and watch fireworks. Here at Dinner’s Ready Market & Deli, we have some fun desserts to make the 4th of July holiday even more fun.
Red, White & Blue Cake Balls $.75 each
Red, White & Blue Chocolate Covered Strawberries $13.99/dozen
4th of July Cookies $1.79 each
Or order one of American Flag Cakes for just $20.99