#WeddingWednesday – Dispeling Wedding Catering Myths

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.

Bacon-Wrapped Filet Bites

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.

Showtime – Dinner’s Ready on TV

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. 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.

    Go to 3 minutes 23 seconds to see where Serge is pulled from the crowd!

  5. 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!

Recipe of the Month – Chicken BBQ Flatbread

Here is a healthy recipe for your tailgate parties this football season. It’s super yummy.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Lay flatbreads on a cookie sheet.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F for 5-10 minutes until edges are slightly brown.
  3. Remove flatbread from oven and top with cheese then salsa then chicken.
  4. Drizzle BBQ sauce over the top.
  5. Return topped flatbread to the oven for 10 minutes.
  6. For the black bean corn salsa, combine corn, beans and onion.
  7. Divide into 1 cup portions and freeze in baggies for future use.

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

10402633_10203770645569360_6204759721899388212_n

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.