Best of Arkansas Best Caterer Runner-Up Blog

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.

 

 

Taste of Bryant – What it Take to Put it All Together!

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.

Here is some of the final look of the booth. Serge is trying to photobomb the picture!

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.

Here is some of the final products after staining!

 

 

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.

Breakfast burritos with fresh vegetable

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

Here is our veggie display with fresh veggies!

 

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!

–Serge Krikorian

Wedding Showcase

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.

 

Wedding Details
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
Caprese Skewers
Vegetable Tray with Ranch
Fruit and Cheese Display
Assortment of Breads and Crackers
Spiral Finger Sandwiches

 

Recipe of the Month – Fruit Salsa with Baked Cinnamon Chips

fruit salsaIngredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the fruit and the preserves in a medium sized bowl. Serve with cooled cinnamon chips and enjoy!

Celebrate the 4th of July with Sweet Treats

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.

4th of July treats

 

 

 

 

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

4th of july cake

Wedding Showcase – Leah and Trent Harris

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This week’s featured wedding Leah Skinner and Trent Harris.The cute couple had a beautiful Shabby Chic wedding on June 7, 2014 at Belgian Meadows. Both the rain and sun made an appearance and the day was blessed with a beautiful rainbow. Everything turned out beautiful despite the rain.

Wedding Details
Colors: Mint Green, Coral and Burlap
Where: Belgian Meadows Farm, Little Rock, AR
When: June 7, 2014

 

Dinner’s Ready Food Served:

Ham & Cheese Sliders with Garlic Cheddar Biscuits
and Dark Ale Mustard
Bacon-Wrapped Cocktail Smokies
Creamy Ranch Crab Dip
Herb-Marinated Chicken Kebabs
Pigs in A Blanket
Bride & Groom Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Vegetable Tray with Ranch
Fruit and Cheese Display
Assortment of Breads and Crackers
Spiral Finger Sandwiches
IMG_8741 We provided Bride and Groom Chocolate Covered Strawberries as a part of the event. IMG_8739 Instead of a traditional vegetable tray, we provided vegetables in Mason Jars as a fun way presentation. It really went along well with the shabby chic theme. IMG_8738 The Creamy Ranch Crab Dip is one of our most popular dips we make. It was presented here in a cute metal bowl provided by the bride. We like it so much we went out and bought some just like it for future weddings. IMG_8729 The full picture of the buffet. If you’ll notice the buffet is pushed close to the tables. That’s because it rained like cats and dogs the day of the wedding and we were trying to keep everything dry. Despite the rain, the day ended up being beautiful. We even saw a rainbow before it was all over.

Wedding Showcase – Paige and Frank Strozyk

Paige and Frank Paige and Frank Strozyk

We did a unique wedding a couple of weeks ago on May 24, 2014. The wedding of Paige Sniff and Frank Strozyk goes down as one of our biggest wedding in terms of staff, food provided and number of services provided. It was a beautifully decorated wedding where we provided food for over 250 guests. We had a Pasta Station, Carving Station, Ice Cream Sundae Bar, and two Decorated Buffets. The bride and groom were wonderful to work with. What a great wedding!

 

Wedding Details
Colors: Chocolate Brown, Lemon Yellow and Baja Turquoise
Where: Immaculate Heart of Mary, North Little Rock, AR
When: May 24, 2014

Menu:
Pasta Action Station featuring Marinara or Alfredo Sauce with Sauteed Shrimp or Grilled Chicken
Carving Station featuring Tuscan Pork Loin or Slow-Roasted Turkey Breast
Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms and Crab Cakes
Twice Baked Potato Casserole
California Vegetable Mix
Cocktail Smokies
Salad Bar
Fruit and Cheese Display
Salad Bar
Assortment of Breads
Spiral Finger Sandwiches
Ice Cream Sundae Bar

Decorated Buffet Our buffet was decorated to match the colors and decor of the bride’s choice. IMG_8524 We provided a Salad Bar for the guests to enjoy. A unique way to present what could be a very basic starter. IMG_8531 We also did a fruit and cheese display. It made for a very beautiful part of the decorated buffet. IMG_8572 Brian Krikorian is taking instructions from Serge Krikorian at our Carving Station. We provided Turkey Breast and Tuscan Pork Loin as two options at the station. Pasta Action Station Our team of four chefs provided made to order pasta dishes at our Pasta Action Station.

Recipe of the Month – Mexican Lasagna

mexican lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 Lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce 24-26 oz.
  • 16 oz. Cottage cheese
  • 1 egg
  • ½ lb. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ lb. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 package flour tortilla shells

Instructions

  • Brown hamburger and onion in a pan and drain well. Combine with the spaghetti sauce. In large bowl combine beaten egg, and all the cheeses. Save a little of the Mozzarella and cheddar for the topping.
  • Put a layer of the tortilla shells in a 9×13 pan. Tear them to fill in all the spaces. Then add a layer of sauce and a layer of cheese. Repeat several times ending with the sauce and a topping of the grated cheese.
  • Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve hot. On your individual plates top with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and chopped olives as desired.

Secrets of a Party Planner – Cinco de Mayo Party

Cinco-de-Mayo

Mexican food is some of my favorite food and what better way to celebrate that than Cinco de Mayo on May 5th. Well here are some great Party Ideas to make your Cinco de Mayo fun.

Fiesta - Decor

Decor
Creating a festive atmosphere is a great way to get everyone in the mood for a party. We like to use bright flowers, bright colored bowls, various type of peppers and food labels to set the tone. It really makes everyone happy to see the bright colors.

 

Fiesta - Food and Drink

Food & Drink
Well a party isn’t a party without food. We do a lot of Fiesta inspired caterings. Our most popular order is our fajita action station where we make the fajitas to order. If you can do that and let people choose their toppings that’s really a great fun way to celebrate. We have a lot of dips and appetizers that fit the Mexican themed as well. While we don’t serve any specialty drinks (just tea, soft drinks and lemonade), a good cocktail is always fun for a party – make it bright and fruity.

Fiesta - Fun

Fun
Well if you are not having fun at a fiesta than you might be “dead”, but there are some fun ways to add even more entertainment. A Mexican inspired Photo Booth, A pinata and even a Mariachi Band are great ideas.

Sweet Treats – Dressed Up Desserts

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One of my favorite cookies (almost to the point that I could eat one for breakfast every day and never get tired of them) that we make at Dinner’s Ready is the Strawberry Cake Cookie. If you know me then you know I love to pin things on pinterest, and I kept seeing all these really cool ideas to dress up store bought desserts and it clicked: “We should do that with our desserts”. And an idea was born! So every week (when we can and we are not too busy), we will give you some ideas on taking our delicious desserts and dressing them up to use for a party or event that you are having. Or maybe just for dinner! You decide!

Strawberry Cream Filled Cookies (Recipe Makes 15 sandwiches)
You need:
30 Strawberry Cake Cookies from Dinner’s Ready
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
16 ounces diced strawberries
Red food coloring if you want your cream filling to be pink color.

Directions:
For the cream filling beat the whipping cream and powdered sugar together until it’s thick. You will want it quite thick because when you add the strawberries it relaxes a lot. If you want it to be a light pink color you can add a few drops of red food coloring. That is totally optional.  Wash and dry the strawberries then dice them into small pieces.  Gently fold the diced strawberries into the whipped cream.  Spread the freshly whipped topping with strawberries onto a cookie, and then top with another cookie.