How To Design And Set Up Finger Food Trays

Learn how to design and set up finger food trays for your next party or family gathering. Having the right finger food trays can replace sit down dinners if you just think about making dinners in small enough pieces to hold in your hand and eat standing up. Designing and setting up finger food trays is a lot of fun and can be made by anyone. Most of them can be done ahead of time so the day of your event doesn't have to be taken up with cooking. You can make these as simple or as fancy as your event calls for.

How to design and set up finger food trays, you'll need:

  • Relish tray
  • Cheese tray
  • Chip tray
  • Vegetable tray
  • Fruit tray
  • Meat tray
  • Cracker tray
  • Salad platter
  • Hot meat platter
  • Sauce and or dip tray
  • Chocolate fountain
  • Fondue station
  1. Relish tray.  Include radishes, black olives, green olives, dill pickles, sweet pickles, and jalapenos.
  2. Cheese tray. Place a decorative cheese ball in center of tray. Cut up into cubes some cheddar, mozzarella, pepperjack, and Colby cheeses and place around the cheeseball.
  3. Arrange chip tray with flavors of chips. Use plain chips, ruffled chips, sour cream and onion chips, barbecue chips, corn chips, and tortilla chips.
  4. Make an attractive vegetable tray. Cut up sticks of carrots, celery, green onions, green peppers, red peppers, yellow peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms.
  5.   Arrange colorful fruit tray. Use melon baller tool to add balls of watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, grapes both red and green seedless, strawberries, apple slices, and mandarin orange segments.
  6. Cold cut tray you can arrange in a circular pattern. Roll thin sliced roast beef, ham, chicken roll, turkey breast, corned beef, around a center of cubed liver sausage.
  7. Place crackers accordion style in circles around this tray.  Use Ritz crackers, townhouse crackers, saltines, flavored chicken and vegetable crackers, Triskets, grahams, wheat thins, and cocktail rye bread.
  8. Use a platter with good separated compartments for the salad platter. Include potato salad, pasta salad, Cole slaw, seafood salad, and seven layer salad.
  9. Make a hot meat platter with deep compartments. Use hot meats such as smokie links, mini hot dogs, meatballs, ham chunks, and chicken wings, fingers or nuggets.
  10. Using ramekins which are small cups make a sauce and dip station. You can place the dips next to the chip and vegetable trays, and the sauces near the hot meat tray and the cold cut trays. Suggestions for these include shrimp dip, sour cream and onion dip, garlic dip, vegetable dip, guacamole, and salsa.
  11. A chocolate fountain is fun for everyone. Have a tray of strawberries and some pretzels to dip in the chocolate sauce.
  12. Make a fondue station with melted cheese and a second one with a beef based gravy or a barbecue sauce.

When designing your finger food trays use colors that are different from one another next to each other whenever possible such as patterns of greens, reds, and yellows.

Get some decorative toothpicks and have them stuck into foods such as the cheeses and any other chunked pieces. Otherwise have small forks to use for the cold cut tray and chicken wings.

Think about each food you're serving and what people would usually have with them when you prepare your finger food trays. For example you"ll need buffalo sauce and barbecue sauce to go with the chicken wings.

You can also buy ready made shrimp trays with the sauce in the middle. Add a tray or two of pastries if so desired at the end of this tray table.

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