Event Showcase – Boys and Girls Club of Saline County Golf Tournament

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We were excited to partner with McCauley Services to sponsor the Boys and Girls Club of Saline County Golf Tournament dinner at the Hurricane Creek Country Club. We chose to go with a Beach/Pool Party Theme. We had a great time and enjoyed once again helping out our friends at the Boys and Girls Club.

At Left, we did several Message in a Bottle from Dinner’s Ready. The message was to Donate to the Boys and Girls Club.

 

 

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We had a decorated buffet with various beach themes including the “pineapple tree”. To make, we take 6-8 pineapples and cut off the tops then stack on a metal pole. We top it with branches from a palm tree. It’s a little messy putting together but super easy.

 

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We also used a fishing net, bright pots and flowers in bright pails, and a variety of beached themed items. The menu was Fajitas so we had cheese dip, salsa, condiments for Fajitas, and black bean salsa.

 

 

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We had a Fajita Action Station where golfers could get their fajitas made with chicken or steak or both and add onions and bell peppers. The smell was divine and I think everyone enjoyed the made to order fajitas.

 

 

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We also had a Bananas Foster Action Station where we made fresh bananas foster complete with flame that we placed over ice cream. Golfers could also choose a Sopapilla Cheesecake drizzled with honey or caramel sauce. So yummy!

Wedding Showcase – Earney & Duke Wedding

IMG_7886 We did a wedding at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Conway, AR this Spring with over 300 guests. Wow! What a fun night. The bride Julie Earney was radiant and so easy to work with.  Her handsome groom Brandon Duke is pictured with her at right. They made a beautiful couple.

 

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Her color scheme was blush and champagne with black lanterns and hydrangeas. We followed that theme onto our Buffet with a Decorated Buffet. This is an added feature we can do for any bride.

 

 

IMG_7844The food choices were New Orleans inspired with Red Beans and Rice, Cajun Pork Sliders and Creamy Ranch Crab Dip. Instead of chafers we often use glass wrapped in the ribbon of the bride’s color scheme to hold up the pans. This really brings an added elegance to the presentation.

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We also did Action Stations with Blackened Chicken with Cajun Cream Sauce. We had four chefs who were able to make 300 guests made to order dishes in just about 30 minutes. That is a record. I dare say most restaurants cannot even do that. At left, Matthew is taking a guests order. They were able to choose between seven add-ins.

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One of our chefs, James (pictured at right), was also a part of the Action Station. This was his first time working at one of our Action Stations. He did a good job. Let me tell you those 30 minutes were intense but the guests loved it. Action Stations are a great way to add fun to your wedding. What was great for this wedding was that instead of being bored waiting on the bride and groom, guests were able to enjoy watching their
food getting prepared right in front of them.

Below are just more pictures of the buffet. The flowers we actually did ourselves. I moonlight (only for our weddings) as a florist. I have to tell you these flowers actually came from Flowers & Home here in Benton. They have the most beautiful flowers.

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Recipe of the Month-Cool & Easy Strawberry Pie

cool & easy strawberry pie 2I’m so ready for Spring to finally get here and stay. With that in mind, this month’s Recipe of the Month puts me in the mood for a nice bright Spring Day.

Cool & Easy Strawberry Pie Filling
1- 3 oz. package strawberry flavored gelatin
1- 8 oz. container of cool whip topping
2 cups of chopped strawberries
2/3 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
Ice cubes

Empty 3 oz. container of strawberry gelatin powder into a large bowl. Boil 2/3 cup water & add to gelatin. Stir gelatin powder until completely dissolved.

Then, take 1/2 cup cold water & add enough ice cubes to make 1 cup. Add to gelatin mix. Stir until gelatin is slightly thickened. Remove left-over ice cubes.
Using a whisk, add in cool whip. Stir until strawberry gelatin & cool whip are thoroughly mixed. Then, stir in diced strawberries. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until mixture is thick & will mound into pie crust.

Homemade Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/3 cups crushed graham crackers
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter

Using a rolling pin, crush graham crackers until you have the desired amount. Place crushed graham crackers, brown sugar, & cinnamon in a medium sized bowl & stir well with fork, mixing dry ingredients thoroughly. Add in melted butter & stir until graham cracker mixture is completely coated in butter. Press into pie pan.

Add pie filling into pie crust. Refrigerate 6 hours or until firm. Add a dollop of cool whip & sliced strawberries (optional) to top of pie before serving.

From the Marketing Desk – A Recap of the Bridal Show

IMG_6110We just participated in our first ever Bridal Show and what fun we had. It was also very exhausting getting everything ready. We wanted to show brides a sample of what all we at Dinner’s Ready Catering can do for events.

 

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The first thing we had to do was decide a color scheme.We went with a really rich plum color and then went from there. We picked some beautiful flowers that we put together ourselves and believe it or not people really responded to how beautiful they were. Who says caterers can’t be flower arrangers. Okay, mostly we know food, but I think we did a good job putting together some beautiful flowers.

IMG_6110We also worked on presenting some unique options for brides to see on what we can do for an event. We had food that was display only so that we wouldn’t have to keep replenishing. Could have gotten really expensive with 3,000 guests expected to be in attendance.

 

IMG_6138We showcased our beautiful cheese and fruit display as well as shrimp cocktail shooters. Our Decorated Buffet is a great option for a bride who wants an upscale catering. It adds a little classier presentation than the simple chafers. We can decorate the buffet to match any color scheme.

 

 

 

 

We also wanted to show brides our Plated Dinner IMG_6130Service and our Rentals & Linens that we can provide for their wedding. We presented four different meals on our new square plates. It was a chance for brides to see our range of food options.

 

 

 

IMG_6168Our chefs were definitely the hit of the show. We had them man a Bananas Foster Action Station. They served over 500 brides, grooms, mother of the brides, bridesmaids and maid of honors.  They worked hard. Action Stations are a great way to add fun to an event and we can do just about anything for an Action Station. The Bananas Foster Action Station though is my favorite. Who doesn’t love the flame?

All in all it was a great day. We made lots of new contacts and hope for a very, very busy wedding season. If you are in need of a caterer for a wedding or any other event, call us at 315-4443! We’d love to help you have  A Catered Affair to Remember.

Recipe of the Month – Caprese Chicken

Caprese-Chicken-1-smIngredients:

4 skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
10 large basil leaves, finely chopped
8 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices
balsamic vinegar, to taste

 

 

Directions:

Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken, cover pan, and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165°F).

While chicken is cooking, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until tomatoes skin starts to soften/wrinkle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set aside.

Once chicken has reached desired doneness, top the tops of each chicken breast with 2 slices of mozzarella. Pour tomato mixture on top. Cover pan with lid once more and let the mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.

Lastly, drizzle with a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve immediately.

This recipe comes from http://www.thenovicechefblog.com/ which we found on Pinterest.

A Look Back at 2013!

What an amazing 2013 we had this year. Our success was due to our wonderful customers and our amazing staff.  The holiday season was probably one of our best in years. Our wedding and event business this year was out of this world. We wanted to give you a review of 2013 in pictures here. We hope you enjoy!

Boys and Girls Club evenyIn April, we helped with the Annual Boys & Girls Club of Saline County golf tournament. It’s a fun event that we love to do to help a worthwhile organization helping in our community.

 

 

Guests enjoy appetizers from Dinner's Ready at the ONS fundraiser at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre

Also in April, we participated in the ONS fundraiser at The Rep helping one of our customers raise money for a great cause. Downtown Little Rock is always a unique place to cater in. No parking and we kept having to make sure we added change into the meter. But really truly a beautiful setting at The Rep.

Bride sampling some of Dinner's Ready delicious appetizers at her beautiful outdoor wedding.

 

We had a great time if not just a bit “hot” helping with the wedding of Kathleen and Luke Wyatt in May. We provided a little different service by providing hot food on trays instead of chafers. The trays we used were able to have a heat source underneath.  We pulled it off!

 

IMG_4667We had a rainy day and had to move the annual Rivendell Employee Picnic inside but we still had a lot of Fiesta Fun in June. We had to be creative with the many Action Stations since we were not outside but we made it work.

 

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We were delighted to help with the rehearsal dinner and wedding for the union of Katie Holland Brown and Rob Brown in July.  We showed off our new Action Station with the Pasta Action Station. We also showed our non-catering skills by helping with flower arrangements. We learned a lot, but we rocked it as usual.

Tailgating - FoodEach year in July we participate in the Taste of Bryant and this year we may have outdone ourselves with our Tailgate Theme. It was so much fun but very busy. We even made a whole football field that covered the two tables with green indoor/outdoor carpet and duct tape. We also had PVC pipe goal posts.

 

Brown Wedding25In October, we were delighted to celebrate the wedding of the daughter of our dear friends, Cissy and Phillip Brown. What a beautiful event! We made Bananas Foster and Banana Split crepes at 2 Action Stations and served over 300+ guests. It was an outdoor wedding reception that we worried all week the rain would ruin but somehow the rain went around Benton at just the right time and we had a beautiful cool night!

The line waiting on CrepesWe love participating in Savor the Flavor and this year we were delighted to be in the new Benton Event Center for the annual event in October! This year our theme was Shabby Chic Wedding. We blasted our booth with flowers, burlap and ribbon. It was very beautiful and the food was great. I’m not sure our line ever died down either.

 

US Foods Razorback Tailgate_5863In November, we bundled up and braved a cold day at the U.S. Foods Razorback Tailgate Party at War Memorial. We had a Woo Pig Sooie good time! And we were able to use our Tailgate Theme materials from the Taste of Bryant event.

 

2013-11-26 10.56.19We couldn’t have asked for a better Thanksgiving and holiday season.  We are always glad to help families celebrate traditions through the holiday season with delicious traditional holiday fare. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve every seen so much food on every available surface in the kitchen!

 

IMG_5921In December, we had our biggest event yet with a 500+ plated luncheon for Southwest Power Pool. It was their Annual Employee Holiday Party and Talent Show! What Talent they have!

It’s been a year that we have cherished. We hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

Recipe of the Month – Crostini

how-to-make-crostini-holidaysIt’s holiday party time and we at Dinner’s Ready know that the “Hostess with the Mostess” is always looking for great holiday recipes for her holiday parties. This week’s blog features a simple yet yummy holiday appetizer. Great as part of an appetizer spread or for a real treat before a big holiday meal.

Even though this recipe is super simple, some of you may not even have time for this simple appetizer. If that’s you, remember Dinner’s Ready has plenty of options ready for your holiday party through our Appetizer Menu. Just click here and let us know how we can help you this holiday season.

Ingredients

  • 1 baguette or loaf of French bread, sliced thinly
  • olive oil
  • basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 container of herbed goat cheese (spreadable)
  • 1 small jar of chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. Place the thinly sliced pieces of baguette on a cookie sheet
  3. Brush both sides with olive oil
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Bake about 15 minutes until golden brown, turning over part way through if the bottom isn’t browning.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. Spread with goat cheese
  8. Top with sun dried tomatoes.

Dinner’s Ready makes the holidays festive!

It’s that time of year again. From office parties to a quaint family dinners, the holidays are a great time to show the skills of a good hostess.  With these busy times and even busier holidays, we at Dinner’s Ready are here to help the “Hostess with Mostess” put on the best holiday party around.  First of all, the Dinner’s Ready holiday menu is a great place to start. The food taste just like grandmother made.  You may want a more cocktail type affair and our Dinner’s Ready Appetizer Menu will have many great choices.

Any of our menus can make sure you have the right food you need, but we also have additional services we can offer. For the hostess who is wanting just that extra bit of Christmas cheer, you can add one of our Decorated Buffet options to your holiday meal. (It’s an additional $500 but you don’t have to worry about anything. We set it up with nice chafers and dishes with all the decorations).

Check out our two options for this holiday season.  They go with just about any décor you may have and make a great option for your holiday meal. Whatever you decide, just remember Dinner’s Ready can do just about anything you want to make the holidays festive and fun! Call us today at 315-4443!

Our Rustic Christmas buffet features rustic yet more traditional holiday decorations.

Our Rustic Christmas buffet features rustic yet more traditional holiday decorations.

 

The Winter Wonderland is full of glittery snowy fun to make your holiday buffet festive!

The Winter Wonderland is full of glittery snowy fun to make your holiday buffet festive!

 

From the Marketing Desk: Holiday Memories

We’ve already had a great holiday season here at Dinner’s Ready Market & Deli. The hustle and bustle getting ready for Thanksgiving has been a bit crazy but also fun. The smells around the store have been more than divine. It reminds me of making Thanksgiving Dinner at Grandma’s House. There was something about walking into her house and smelling the turkey cooking with the smell of a fresh baked Pecan Pie that always brought a smile to my face. My grandmother passed away nearly nine years ago but the smells of Thanksgiving bring back vivid memories of her farm house and all the family dinners we had there.

We are preparing for Thanksgiving as I write this blog and its my first Thanksgiving working at Dinner’s Ready. They said it would be busy but goodness I’m tired just watching everyone work to make fresh prepared and delicious holiday meals. My own family is having Dinner’s Ready cater our Thanksgiving this year. My mom just had open heart surgery just two weeks ago and so is unable to really make Thanksgiving dinner this year. I’m going to miss making it with her but thankful that Dinner’s Ready was able to step in and help us this year.

They can help you too make a memorable Thanksgiving dinner and it smells and taste just like Grandmother used to make.

Here are just some pictures of the mayhem surrounding the deli and kitchen around here as everyone is busy making the food that helps us all make memories. Happy Thanksgiving

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Pecan Pies fresh out of the oven cooling on the racks.

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Just some of the pies ready for customers to pick-up

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Four Layer Chocolate Delight. We made a ton of these today! It was never ending and its one of my favorite desserts we make. They all may be my favorite.

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There were more packages of rolls that I have ever seen at one time.

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The Roasted Turkey breast is a good option for families. No worries about cutting a whole turkey. And they smelled yummy! Can’t wait til Thursday!

 

–Melinda Johnson
Marketing Director

Recipe of the Month – Classic vs. New

This month’s Dinner’s Ready Chef’s blog includes two Sweet Potato recipes. One is the classic recipe for your traditional holiday feast and the other is an updated version to put a little spice in your holiday menu. Try one or both.

classic-potato-casserole-lClassic Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients
4 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Bake sweet potatoes at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. Let stand until cool to touch (about 20 minutes); peel and mash sweet potatoes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
2. Beat mashed sweet potatoes, granulated sugar, and next 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into a greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.
3. Combine cornflakes cereal and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over casserole in diagonal rows 2 inches apart.
4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle marshmallows in alternate rows between cornflake mixture; bake 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

 Smashed Spiced Sweet Potatoes

smashed Spicy sweet potatoesIngredients:
4 pounds sweet potatoes, (4-5 large)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground (see Tip)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pierce each sweet potato in several places with a fork. Place directly on the oven rack and roast until soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  3. Transfer to a cutting board; let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
  4. Slip off the skins and cut the sweet potatoes into 1-inch slices; transfer to a large bowl. Add butter.
  5. 5.Smash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher or fork until fluffy but some lumps remain.
  6. Add maple syrup, chili powder, ground cumin, ginger, salt and pepper; stir to combine.

TIPS & NOTES

Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. Grind in a spice mill or blender into a fine powder.