February 4, 2013

How to make a VERY last minute buffet spread in 30 minutes or less

Have you ever been told about some last minute guests at...you guessed it, the VERY last minute?  Yes friends, this did happen to me over the weekend.  The weekend we swore there would be no plans.  So what is a girl to do when you have only half an hour until the friends your husband invited over to watch the game or in this case, the Big Game?

You can (A) slice up some cheese, throw some crackers on a plate and spend the next 25 minutes giving him the death stare OR  (B) you can create a pretty awesome looking spread that will make him owe you one to the tune of a hot stone massage.

So this weekend as tempting as option A was looking I went with B and even surprised myself a bit with what I could piece together so quickly!  The very first thing I did was raid my fridge and freezer to see what things I had recently bought that I could use.  I had tortillas, some taco fixings, frozen peppers and onions and some precooked chicken so we would definitely be having a fajita bar!

Last minute party buffet spread with Tyson BBQ Chicken Strips #cbias #MealsTogether

I had some Tyson BBQ Chicken Strips which I popped into my counter top oven for 20 minutes and got to work setting up the rest.  You know how you see those amazing candy tables and buffets that look like they were painstakingly assembled and agonized over for hours?  The truth is you can pull one off yourself easily with a few basic pieces.  A few weeks ago I bought a roll of kraft paper as an easy clean surface for all the projects I do these days.  I just cut a piece of it and stuck it over our entry way table for a visually appealing and easy to clean up surface.

building a buffet spread in 30 minutes or less with Tyson #cbias #MealsTogether

I pulled out a few regular dishes and bowls and a few special pieces you might not think to use.  Those white rectangular dishes are soy sauce trays for sushi and that wooden bowl I found years ago in a big box store for $12. It's supposed to be for bread, but I usually use it for chips.  I never worry about fitting everything on the plates, I'd rather refill them than watch hot food get cold quickly.

cereal treat footballs for easy party buffet spread #cbias #MealsTogether

One thing I had actually made in preparation for the game (at home, alone) were a special treat of some cereal treat footballs that Kayla and I had cooked together the night before using Cocoa Pebbles.  I followed the traditional recipe you would use to make square treats and then molded them by hand.  The secret to easily shaping them is to put a little bit of butter on your hands.  I put those on a cheese slate to mix up colors and textures on the table.

grilled onions and peppers for chicken fajitas with Tyson grilled & ready chicken #cbias #MealsTogether

Next I quickly heated up some frozen grilled peppers and onions in a pan and set them aside.  With a little over 10 minutes left I made a last minute decision to add some little pigs in a blanket to our spread and popped those into the oven right on the same baking sheet I had the BBQ Chicken Strips on.

Taco spiced chicken with Tyson Grilled & Ready chicken #cbias #MealsTogether

Then I grabbed my Tyson Grilled & Ready chicken strips, tossed them in a pan and poured a little less than 1/4 cup of water and a packet of low sodium taco seasoning in to give them some spice.  Just like making regular tacos, you simply stir for a couple of minutes while the water cooks off and the spices get absorbed by the chicken.

quick and easy chicken fajitas with Tyson #MealsTogether #cbias

Since they only take 3-5 minutes to heat up it was totally feasible to prepare them, get them mixed in with the peppers and leave time to set up a few more dishes on my table.

Game day BBQ chicken bites with Tyson #MealsTogether #cbias

As soon as the BBQ chicken strips were done I decided to cut them up to make them bite size and put some festive little party picks in them that had been sitting in my kitchen cabinet from early on in the football season.  I set out BBQ sauce and a buttermilk ranch dipping sauce and put the little pigs in a blanket in the soy sauce trays. 

fast and easy sports buffet spread with Tyson #cbias #MealsTogether

I threw a couple of really irritating sounding party horns on the table for the kids as my revenge for the last minute craziness and headed off to check the state of our guest bathroom.  While I was gone someone couldn't help but sneak a few bites...she was caught in the act and immediately ratted out her dad for attacking the BBQ chicken bites.  Guess it runs in the family!

Enjoying a game day buffet with Tyson #MealsTogether #cbias

Just so you know, I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop
has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for CollectiveBias® and Tyson. #cbias #SocialFabric #MealsTogether everything you see is my personal and very picky opinion.
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