Keep hosting duties light by entertaining casually with grazing platters. Assemble the platters ahead of time, pour some drinks and sit back and enjoy the conversation while guests help themselves.

Grazing platters create a feast for the eyes as much as for the palate. Prepare for the buzz of excitement as your platter is greeted by “ooohhhs and aaahhhs” as you set it on the table. Use lots of fresh and vibrant ingredients, and nestle items in closely for a look of fresh, delicious abundance. You might decide to make one or two things for your platter, but most items will be picked up from the store, keeping your prep time to a minimum. Serve a platter as the main event, or as an appetizer or dessert course. Click through the gallery for inspiration.

Smoked Salmon

For a light and easy brunch, prepare a platter of smoked salmon, bagels and all the fixings. Serve with a big bowl of berries to spoon along side. Brew some coffee, pour the mimosas and sit down to enjoy.

Cheese Board

Having people over for drinks before heading out to dinner?  Keep it simple by preparing a meat and cheese board to nibble on over cocktails. Prepare it ahead of time, pop it in the fridge and go get dolled up. Take it out 15 minutes before your guests arrive so the cheeses can come to room temperature. Small bites of high protein cheese, meats and nuts will stave off appetites without ruining dinner.

Dessert

After a big meal, your guests will delight in a dessert platter of small bites.  Choose a selection of sweet things, include some fresh fruit and don’t forget a little candy.

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