What do you do when you have a large group of people coming over for dinner and everyone wants something a little different? (Big family gatherings, we're talking to you!) Well, there is a way to make everyone happy without going insane yourself. We call it the dinner buffet bar!
The idea is to have one basic dish that serves as a base for a bunch of extra toppings and flavorings. Each person can add as many as they like or keep it completely plain and simple.
Here are a few of our favorites:
• Taco/Burrito Bar - Give people a choice of taco shells or burrito wraps and let them go to town!
• Mac and Cheese Bar - Make a big batch of fairly basic and mild mac n' cheese. Offer stronger cheeses and seasonings that people can stir in themselves.
• Polenta Bar - Creamy polenta makes a delicious base for any number of toppings, both simple and fancy.
• Crêpe Bar - Once you get the hang of making them, crèpes are incredibly easy to make - even at the last minute. They can be filled with any number of savory or sweet fillings.
Toppings for any of these bases can be simple or complex. We usually offer people a choice of meat, like pulled pork, hamburger, sausage, or shredded chicken. Beans, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, braised greens, roasted red peppers, and other cooked veggies round things out and offer alternatives for vegetarians. It's nice to have a few different cheeses that can be sprinkled on top or stirred in, as well as toppings like yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche.
What other buffet bars of this style do you like to do?
Related: Easy Summer Dessert: Homemade Pudding Cup Bar
(Image: Faith Durand)