Date Night Menu: 10 Small Plates for Movie Night with Your Best Buds

updated May 1, 2019
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A movie night at home is one of my favorite ways to spend time with my friends. Everyone can get comfortable on the couch and you get to take movie snacks beyond the standard soda and popcorn. I like to serve hearty snacks and small plates that become a meal in themselves. These recipes are easy on the host to make, and will leave everyone happy to change it up from the popcorn routine.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

No party at my house is complete without a cheese board. It’s the little black dress of appetizers that can go elegant to casual and fit in everywhere. In addition to a few types of cheese, I always include crackers or bread, fresh and/or dried fruit, and jelly. If the rest of your appetizers aren’t protein-heavy, it’s also a great place to set out some cured meats.

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I always want something to nibble on that’s salty and crunchy, and I always trust Ina with a party-ready recipe. These nuts will disappear quickly, so I’d make a double batch. Even if you don’t eat them all, they store well. Sprinkle any extras on top of salads, sides, and more the rest of the week.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Bacon-wrapped appetizers never let you down — especially these potato bites that have a square of cheese in between the bacon and potato. Don’t forget the creamy dipping sauce; the extra kick brings the whole bite together.

(Image credit: Dana Velden)

No party is complete without a dip. This favorite gets an upgrade from homemade caramelized onions and a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise. While I love a warm dip, especially made in the slow cooker, the ease of this dip makes it a winner. Since you serve it chilled or at room temperature, you can make it ahead and pull it out whenever you need it.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Flatbreads always find a way of making it onto the table when guests come over. Once you’ve spread on some kind of cheese or sauce, you can take the toppings anywhere. In fall, I can’t get enough sweet potatoes or squash, so this flatbread is definitely in my rotation. I like to finish it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Passarella)

When you’re hanging out on the couch, you want to make sure you have things that are easy to eat. Enter: the skewer. Start with the classic tomato and mozzarella, but don’t be afraid to branch out. Try roasted Brussels sprouts and cubes of cheddar, roasted carrots and ricotta salata, or broccoli and blue cheese.

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Little sliders are a natural choice for party fare, but these are not ordinary sliders. Ground lamb is combined with spices and seared to lock in all the juices. Eaten on roasted rounds of potato, it brings burger and fries together in one bite. Serve simply with smooth Dijon mustard, or fold mint and grated cucumber into Greek yogurt for a cool, refreshing sauce.

(Image credit: Maria Midoes)

Need to keep everyone happy when you’re hanging out for movie night? Then turn to the classic Italian sandwich. Salami, ham, and provolone are piled high on a crusty loaf of bread. Wrapping it tightly in plastic wraps helps to keep the whole sandwich together and allows time for the bread to soak up the vinegar and oil so you can make this ahead and unwrap it before you hit the sofa.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Popcorn is a must for movie night, but you don’t have to stick with only butter as a topping. Make your own popcorn bar with spices, herbs, cheese, and more. I like to include crushed-up cookies and candies on the popcorn bar as well, so you can have the balance of salty and sweet in every bite. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

No night with my friends is complete without a sweet treat, and bar cookies are the perfect end. Even layered, they’re easy to make. There’s no dropping or scooping individual cookies or icing individual cupcakes. After baking and cooling, all you need from bar cookies is a knife to cut them into squares. These Snickers-inspired bars are reminiscent of the candy you’d get at the movie theater and will disappear almost as soon as you put them out on the table.