Creative Dinner Buffet Menu Ideas

Good buffet menu ideas can wow your guests at your next party. Focus on variety, and make sure every guest has something to eat, but don't go overboard so you can enjoy the buffet, too.

Getting Started
Start off by nailing down a headcount for the event. Separate the number of children and adults. It's a good idea to have one or two items strictly designated for kids at the buffet table. Also find out if you need to include any vegetarian items or any other dietary restrictions onto the menu.

Gourmet Sandwiches
There is no rule that says you have to serve hot food at your buffet. Several trays of gourmet sandwiches and homemade pasta and potato salads can also do the trick. This is perfect for an outdoor event, and you won't have to worry about keeping the food warm. Put together three to five gourmet sandwich types, like ham and brie or turkey with honey mustard on a baguette, and make enough for your party. Then plan to make about three pasta or potato salads and one large green salad for guests. You can put out a variety of dipping sauces, condiments and salad dressings on the side.

Keep It Simple
Choose three to four simple recipes that you know how to make well, and your buffet line will be long. Some popular crowd pleasers are stuffed shells, sausage and peppers, lemon chicken and meatballs. If you don't want to have an Italian theme, try making roast chicken, flank steak, and roasted potatoes and veggies. These hot dishes will require Sternos, which you can pick up at any party supply store. Be sure to include a cocktail station at the end of the buffet. It's up to you if you want to serve alcoholic beverages or not, but put together a beverage station complete with straws, stirrers and napkins for guests to pour and mix their own drinks.

Write down all your buffet ideas, and then make a shopping list of all the ingredients you will need. Be sure to pick up at least one large bag of dinner rolls, butter and some condiments. Also throw in a few dessert items at the end, because, after all, no meal is complete without dessert!

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