On to the most important part of a party, menu planning!
While I feel confident when it comes to party style, layout, decor, and florals, I always seem to drop the ball when it comes to the food. It’s never quite good enough. Either I choose the wrong items, or don’t leave enough time or leave too much time, resulting in cold food, or a long wait time. I was determined not to do that with this party. I put my sister in charge. Here’s our finalized menu, with my notes beside each item.
If we had to do it over again, I think both of us would concentrate on a variety of appetizers served throughout the course of the party. One of the best decisions was to put out cut watermelon after the party was in full swing. The kids ate it all night, and it made a great late night snack.
You’ll see the phrase “doctor it up” over and over. Unless you have the party catered (the best option if the budget allows for it), you’re not going to have time to spend two full days cooking. So grab pre-made items and then add ingredients to make it a little fancier.
Modern Southern Party Menu
- Boiled Peanuts – We purchased frozen boiled peanuts from Sam’s Club. I’m not sure if these are available nationally. If you can’t find them, use this recipe as a guideline. Just be sure to use green peanuts!
- Pimento Cheese with Crackers – We tripled my recipe for pimento cheese.
- Sugared Pecans – We used this recipe. Huge hit!
- Brisket Sliders – My sister knows, and I mean, knows, how to cook brisket. The key is low and slow heat. She rubbed it down with a spice mix (you can find different versions at any grocery store) and wrapped in foil. Cooked it for 10 hours (overnight) at 250° F. After letting it sit for an hour or two, she shredded and put in a heated dish. Pour the sauce over it to keep it from drying out.
- Chicken Sliders – We used frozen chicken nuggets, a favorite of the bride and groom, but another great option is to pick up a tray of chicken fingers from a local store (our choices are Chick-Fil-A or Publix, two southern favorites).
- Rolls – King Hawaiian Rolls make the best slider buns! They have a sweet taste that can’t be beat, and they don’t harden like other types of rolls.
- Cole Slaw – Doctor up a bagged slaw mix with chopped walnuts and dried cherries, a trick I learned from my mother-in-law! Everyone loved it. Make it the night before if you like your slaw a little soggy, or the morning of if you like it a little crispier.
- Potato Salad – We used the recipe I outlined in this post. Be liberal with the mustard. Making it before hand gave it time to soak up all the mustard and it wasn’t as spicy or flavorful as it normally is. I also forgot to season it with salt and pepper. Dur!
- Baked Beans – Use canned beans, just drain them to keep them from being too soupy. Then doctor it up with crumbled bacon, garlic, onion, and hot sauce.
- Cupcakes – We used white cake mix, and then added almond extract to make it taste more like wedding cake. I found this icing recipe and people raved. Finish it off with white sparkling sugar sprinkles. Don’t be alarmed when you find people eating five at a time.
- Watermelon – Chop up melon. To make it fancier and easier for people to consume, put the pieces on a kabob, popsicle stick, or skewer. Worried about picking a ripe melon? Tap on each fruit until you get one that sounds hollow enough. If it’s not hollow it’s not going to be ripe enough. Place a salt shaker beside the dish. You never know who likes their sweet with a touch of salty!