New Game Plan for Game night

From backgamon to poker to Taboo, spneding a night playing games with friends is fun, relaxing, and an inexpensive way to have a great time. Of course, the same strategies can apply to watching your favorite team on cable too. I wholeheartedly recommend the first format. They say laughter is the best medicine, and laughing together with friends brings the added benefit of social bonding. No matter how you spend the evening, having an appealing variety of foods to enjoy makes the night that much more, well, enjoyable!

First: Keep foods bite sized. Items like shrimp coctail, cucumber rounds topped with smoked salmon, Belgian endive leaves filled with goat cheese and tomaoto, mushrooms stuffed with sausage and baked all make easy and popular tidbits.

Choose foods that wont fall apart or make lots of crumbs. While a taco bar may be a crowd pleaser, it will be a clean up nightmare for you.

Sliced beef filets, pork tenderloin, or salmon can all be offered on skewers with dips such as force radish mustard or teriyaki. These items can be cooked on the grill ahead of time and served at room temperature.

Next: think creatively. Don’t worry too much about sticking to a theme. Just be sure to balance rich foods like cheeses or dips with lots of vegetables. Carrot, celery, and red bell pepper all make easy sticks to grab in the middle of the action. A more advanced version could be lightly steamed broccoli or asparagus spears. Soups make a fabulous centerpiece for any casual gathering. Butternut squash soup is my all time favorite for nights like this.

Finally: Time the servings. Build anticipation for each course by bringing out a few items at a time. Just becasuse it’s a smorgasboard, doesn’t mean you have to abandon the idea of eating in courses. Start with light items such as nuts, cheeses, and dips.
Once the games are underway, move on to entee type items like soups or meat skewers. When champions begin to emerge, let them lead the charge to the dessert table where two or three items such as pound cake with berries and whipped cream, chocolate truffles, or simply a few cookies await. Avoid the tempatation to serve ice cream. The coldness will slow down digestion and complicate what may already be meal that is less than ideal for guest’s bellies to handle. You do want to be a host who cares, don’t you?

Cocktails: If on the list for your group,consider making a pitcher of the nights signature drink, such as mojito or even a simple Rum and Coke with fresh lime wedges. Limit the amount if ice you mix in to avoid watering down the “mojo” and instead, provide a bowl of ice to refresh each glass with. Fresh brewed herbal tea makes a great alcohol free alternative.

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