Wedding season is often filled with many more events than just weddings. Between the bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and days spent in the bridal suite, it’s your duty as friend of bride to make sure the day(s) of go off without a hitch. Here are a few recipes to ensure that the food is like the perfect maid of honor—memorable and charming, but not too attention stealing!
Bridal showers are a great opportunity to get together and celebrate the bride, indulging in all of your girliest desires. Foods that are easy to pick up while you mingle and eat in one or two bites are ideal, since the day is all about being ladylike. Make the day even more special by tailoring the menu to the bride’s favorite foods. Here are a few customizable recipe ideas—just swap in her favorite flavors to cater to her tastes.
1. Tea sandwiches
Turn this simple recipe for tea sandwiches into a smorgasbord of the bride’s dreams by using her favorite flavors.
6 slices pullman whole wheat bread
¼ cup whipped cream cheese
4 ounces gravlax
Cut off crusts from bread. Spread both sides with cream cheese and top with gravlax (or whatever filling you’re using). Close sandwiches and cut each into 8 triangles.
Some of our favorite combinations are—gravlax and cream cheese, chicken salad + cornishon, cucumber and aioli.
2. Whoopie pies
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
¼ cups + 1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda ⅓ cup powdered sugar
1 parchment paper
Cream Butter and Sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Set aside butter to soften at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Place ½ in a medium bowl. Add sugar mix and whisk until pale and fluffy. Separate 1 egg, reserving yolk.
Make Cookie Dough
Add 1 egg yolk and ½ of vanilla extract to bowl with butter and stir to combine. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and a pinch salt and stir to combine.
Divide cookie dough evenly and form into 12 balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Space about 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet and using the back of a spoon, flatten slightly.
Transfer cookies to oven and bake until centers are set, about 7 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool completely, 5-10 minutes.
Make Vanilla Buttercream
While cookies cool, stir together powdered sugar, remaining butter, and remaining vanilla extract in a separate medium bowl until pale and fluffy.
Assemble Whoopie Pies
Spread about 1 teaspoon vanilla buttercream on flat sides of ½ of cooled cookies. Top with remaining cookies flat-side down. Enjoy as many whoopie pies as your heart desires. Store any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
3. Salad + Chicken Paillard
1 cup apple cider
1 bay leaf
1 cup farro
¼ bunch mint
¼ bunch parsley
1 lemon, divided
6 ounces red radishes
3 tablespoons pistachios
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup arugula
¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese, divided
In a medium pot over high heat, stir together apple cider, bay leaf, 1 cup water, and a generous pinch salt. Bring to a boil, then add farro and reduce heat to medium high. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat and discard bay leaf. Set
While farro cooks, rinse all produce. Pick mint and parsley leaves, discarding stems. Zest lemon, then halve. Quarter radishes. Roughly chop pistachios.
Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Place between 2 large pieces plastic wrap and using a meat mallet or heavy pan, pound to ¼-inch thickness.
Heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When butter is foamy, add chicken and sear until cooked through and no longer pink, 3-4 minutes per side.
While chicken sears, add arugula, mint, parsley, lemon zest, juice of 1 lemon, radishes, pistachios, ½ of Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pot with farro and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Divide chicken and farro evenly between 2 plates. Garnish with remaining Parmesan and serve.
If you’re gearing up for a long day into a night of partying with the bride and her closest friends, food that keeps your energy up will be very important. Here are a few ideas for snacks and on-the-go lunches to keep you full and happy on the party bus, or wherever you may be!
1. Trail mix
Trail mix is the ideal combination of salty and sweet to satisfy almost every kind of eater. As long as it’s not so hot out that the chocolate melts, this is ideal to leave out all day for snacking.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (½ stick)
1 cup unsalted almonds
1 cup unsalted cashews
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1 cup unsalted walnuts
1 teaspoon maldon sea salt
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter chips
½ cup dried apricots
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350F. Melt butter. On a baking sheet toss nuts with melted butter and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Arrange in single layer and roast until toasted, about 15 minutes. Remove and drain off excess butter. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon maldon salt. Let cool.
Chop apricots. Once cool, toss nuts with chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, apricots, and cranberries. Store in an airtight container.
Sandwiches are great for meals on the go. This marinated steak sandwich is great cold, and the crusty baguette won’t get soggy even if it’s sitting for a while. Make a few large sandwiches and slice them into 4 each for an individually wrapped mini sandwich for each guest.
1 each flat iron steak
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 each English cucumber
½ cup apple cider vinegar
3 eaches baguettes
2 teaspoons horseradish
2 eaches plum tomato
1½ ounces arugula
¼ ounce basil
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Pat steaks dry with paper towel. In a large shallow bowl or resealable plastic bag, whisk together balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add steak, turn to coat, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
While steak marinates, rinse all produce. Cut cucumber into ¼-inch slices. Place in a medium bowl, pour over apple cider vinegar to submerge, and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Set aside to pickle until
ready to serve. Cut tomatoes into ¼-inch slices, and lightly sprinkle over ¼ teaspoon salt. Roughly tear basil leaves, discarding stems. Halve lemon.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Remove steaks from marinade, allowing excess to drip off. Season all over with ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and pepper. When oil is shimmering, add steaks and cook until browned on outside and medium rare, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside to rest for about 5 minutes.
Make Horseradish Sauce
While steaks cook, in a medium bowl, whisk together horseradish, mayonnaise, and juice of 1 lemon. Season with ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and a generous amount of pepper as needed.
Wipe pan from steak clean. Halve baguettes lengthwise, and add cut-side down to pan over medium heat and toast until golden, working in batches if necessary, 4-5 minutes. Remove and slather toasted sides with horseradish sauce.
Drain cucumbers, then add basil and 2 tablespoons olive oil, tossing to coat. Slice steak against the grain as thinly as possible. Divide arugula, steak, and tomatoes evenly among baguettes, then halve on a diagonal. Serve sandwiches with cucumber salad alongside.
3. Sesame noodles
Sesames noodles are the perfect make ahead food. They’re meant to be served cold, which makes them ideal for a long day of being out and about. You can even pack them in individual Chinese take out containers for a nice presentation and easy storage and serving.
½ ounce ginger
1 red bell pepper
1 English cucumber
1 pound long life noodles
2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tahini paste
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon agave
1 teaspoon gochujang
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Trim and discard skin of ginger and mince. Rinse bell pepper and halve lengthwise, discarding seeds. Thinly slice lengthwise. Rinse cucumber, halve lengthwise, and thinly slice crosswise.
Cook Long Life Noodles
Add salt generously to pot of boiling water. Stir in long life noodles and cook until tender but still chewy, 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds to stop cooking.
Sauté Bell Pepper
Heat ½ tablespoon sesame oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add bell
pepper. Season with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and sauté, stirring, until tender and browning in spots, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
While bell pepper sautés, in a bowl large enough for all the noodles, whisk together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, tahini paste, peanut butter, agave, ginger, remaining sesame oil, and as much gochujang as desired (it’s spicy!).
Season Long Life Noodles
Add bell pepper, cucumber, and long life noodles to bowl with dressing and toss thoroughly to coat.
Taste and add salt as needed.
A day in the bridal suite can be tons of fun and also a bit stressful. Given that everyone, especially the bride, wants to look her best, easy light snacks that don’t cause bloating are the perfect fare. Don’t forget that there will be more than a few glasses of champagne served throughout the day and evening, so some foods that will soak up the bubbles should also be on the table. Here are a few of our favorites.
Prepare a few light salads to snack on throughout the day. You’ll want greens that are sturdy enough to hold up to salad dressing over a few hours, but not ones that will cause bloating. Stay away from hearty greens like kale (which cause bloating), and stick to lighter ones like arugula or romaine.
Arugula with Asparagus and Lemon Vinaigrette
4 cups baby arugula
1 bunch asparagus
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons marcona almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
Set a medium pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Remove and discard woody ends from asparagus. Cut asparagus into ½-inch pieces. Add asparagus and a generous pinch salt to boiling water and cook until bright green, about 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
Roughly chop almonds. In a large bowl whisk together juice of 1 lemon, Dijon mustard, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add arugula and asparagus and toss to coat. Arrange on a large serving platter and sprinkle over marcona almonds.
2. Energy Bars
Grains: 1 cup cooked quinoa or bulgur + 2 cups toasted oats
Dry components: Up to 1 cup chopped dried fruits, chopped nuts, and/or seeds
Nut butter: ¾ cup peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter
Sweetener: ¾ cup honey or agave
Oil: 1 tablespoon coconut, walnut, or sunflower oil
Place 1 cup dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add cooked grain, toasted oats, and a pinch salt. Stir to combine.
In a large pan over medium-low heat, add nut butter, sweetener, and 1 tablespoon oil and cook, stirring, until fully combined, about 5 minutes. Add to bowl with dry ingredients and stir to combine thoroughly. Use your hands if you like.
Spread energy bar mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a smaller or larger sheet depending on how thick you want your bars to be. Using your fingers, press down to create an even layer.
Transfer bars to fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. Cut into pieces and enjoy the boost!