As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Make your menu light, fresh for spring events

Changing seasons and changing dietary preferences may mean rethinking your menu for your spring parties, weddings, and celebrations. In general, as temperatures warm we like to keep food somewhat lighter. Spring brings a desire for crisp, fresh choices for appetizers and meals.

In recent years, however, more people also are turning to fresh organic foods and/or favoring vegetarian or vegan diets. Some are simply looking for healthier options or gluten-free ingredients. Rather than opting for traditional selections for your catered event, consider choosing organic (locally sourced when possible) produce and fresh, light options, especially if you know your guests will be looking for such choices.

Caterers report that today’s trend is showing increasing requests for menu options that are sensitive to food allergies, gluten-free guests, vegetarians and vegans, with a focus on meatless appetizer and entrée choices and organic ingredients. With a little creativity, your catered event will impress even the most discriminating guests.

Hors d’oeuvres – Consider options that feature mushrooms, squash or soy chorizo for tasty finger foods that fit all tastes.

Salads – Before the meal or for the meal, salads provide an excellent opportunity to feature fresh, light and locally sourced fare for both meat-eaters and vegetarians. Consider fresh greens tossed with local organic vegetables and gluten-free dressings for a starter, or choose a salad entrée in Caesar, Julienne or Cobb with meat options for the perfect spring meal.

Soups – Highlight spring with a choice of cold soups, such as Vichyssoise (potatoes, leeks, cream and stock), Gazpacho (raw tomato, garlic and onions, or a modern version of fruits and vegetables), or Tarator (cucumbers, garlic and dill blended with yogurt and spices).

Fish or herb centered entrees – Fresh fish is a great main meal when you are looking for lighter options. For meatless entrees, feature stuffed peppers or mushrooms, couscous, lentils, caramelized onions or wild rice, adding unexpected flavors with various herbs.

Complete your spring themed event with beverages garnished with mint, lavender or other herbs, or set up a mimosa bar that includes a spread of fresh fruits and fruit juices. Opt for desserts in the form of fruits and lightly whipped creams and sauces; or light cakes frosted in pastels.

At Special Moments Catering, we are ready to design any event, from themed decorations to a full menu, so your guests can enjoy an atmosphere and refreshments that fit the season and their lifestyle. Call today for an appointment with one of our professional planners and get ready for the perfect spring event.

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

Make ahead and freeze for easier holiday meals

If you are reluctant to cut out those time-consuming details that make your holiday meals special, consider than many of these key dishes are easy to make ahead and freeze, with the result just as tasty as if you had spent the entire day in the kitchen. Lessen the work, reduce the stress and enjoy holiday dinners by doing the prepping well ahead of the big day.

A bit of planning is all you need to freeze multiple dishes or just a few. Be sure you have freezer space and containers that you will not need prior to the holiday. Then follow a few tips for a delicious, low-stress meal.

Main dishes

Turkey – Brine the breast before you roast and freeze for a moist bird full of flavor that you can thaw, slice and reheat.

Ham – An easy meal since they are fully cooked and can be served room temperature or heated. For a touch sweetness, try adding a simple honey glaze or brown sugar coating and plan for a little extra time for heating.

Lasagna – Loaded with beef, sausage or cheese, lasagna makes a great main dish for a holiday gathering and it freezes and reheats easily.

Side dishes

Green bean casserole – You don’t have to give up the tradition because this staple freezes well. Be sure to hold the french fried onions to be added when you are ready to reheat.

Cheesy potato casserole – Any cheesy, creamy potato casserole is easy to make ahead. Be sure to use store-bought hash browns rather than fresh potatoes for the best results.

Mashed potatoes – If fresh potatoes are a must, go for mashed—they freeze well as long as you use plenty of butter and cream.

Sweet potatoes – Roasted and pureed into a creamy casserole, they freeze well and are delicious reheated with a topping of chopped pecans or scallions.

Mac and cheese – Along with any other cheesy and veggie casserole, these dishes are easy to make, freeze and reheat, with the addition of crunchy toppings when you are ready to reheat.

Stuffing – Don’t stuff the turkey! Most stuffing recipes can be assembled with bread or cornbread, veggies and/or sausage ahead of time and baked the day of. Follow directions to partially prep, then freeze.

Rolls – Treat your guests to homemade rolls by baking to 75% completion before freezing. You can finish baking the day of with a bit of melted butter brushed on top.

Dessert

Fruit pies – Yes, you can make your secret family recipe and freeze it before baking to get that fresh-baked taste. You will want to use a metal or disposable aluminum pan and don’t overfill your pie to ensure the center bakes evenly without burning the crust. Be sure to make vent holes before freezing and place your pie in a plastic freezer bag.

Short on freezer space? Choose a couple of key dishes to prepare ahead and freeze for your holiday feast and cater to the rest. Special Moments Catering specializes in preparing tasty holiday staples that your family will love so you can relax and enjoy the festivities. With reasonable rates and multiple choices of dishes that will satisfy the pickiest of eaters, you can count on a memorable meal and celebration. Call today for menu options and availability.

As the premier catering service in North East Ohio,
Special Moments will handle all the details

This fall skip the harvest and throw a party

Not so many years ago the fall harvest was one of the biggest gathering times of the year. Fields that had been nurtured all summer yielded an abundance of food, and families gathered after days of back-breaking work to share in the bounty and celebrate.

Times may have changed, but you don’t need a farm or a harvest to throw a harvest party this fall. The end of warm summer evenings and a return to the school and work routine are reason enough to gather with friends for one last outdoor party. Build yours around simple fall decorations, a cozy campfire and some traditional foods and beverages, with a few twists thrown in.

Decorations are easy, from pumpkins to hay bales to fall flowers and paper lanterns. Don’t skimp on the fall colors for everything from napkins to tablecloths and gather some fall leaves from your yard and a few candles from your house for homemade centerpieces.

Keep it rustic, using wooden step ladders and metal buckets to put out food, beverages and decorations. An old door set securely over blocks makes a fine vintage buffet table.

Beverages are a great opportunity to add to your theme. Craft beer is huge in Northeast Ohio, and every brewery has seasonal selections. A metal tub packed with ice and a variety of fall beers in IPAs, lagers, and ales, along with some hard ciders is the perfect addition to your fall celebration. If you anticipate cooler temperatures, include mulled cider or mulled wine on your beverage list, and consider adding a stack of throws on a nearby wooden crate for your guests to use as the sunsets.

A bonfire of any size is a must for your fall harvest party, but why not keep it small enough to allow for some marshmallow roasting? Or skip the s’mores and, for a unique twist, provide skewered donut holes to lightly roast and dip in chocolate or caramel sauce.

Speaking of food, let our team of experts provide all the fall favorites, from the barbecue and grilled bratwurst to ox roast or a clam bake complete with chowder. Thinking warm and cozy on a cool day? Soups and chili are great additions to your main course.

We also can provide beautiful fall-themed appetizers and quick and easy desserts, so you can relax and enjoy your guests.

Contact our experts today for all the ideas you need for the perfect outdoor party.