Caterers Blog
Minneapolis, MN
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Catering in Minnesota (MN)

Caterers and catering lovers of Minnesota


We’re sharing cooking tips, tricks, and some coveted secrets.

By: Jessi Minneci


As your trusted caterers, we want to lend you a hand in the kitchen. In fact, we value you so much that we want to bring you closer to becoming somewhat of an iron chef. We’re all food lovers here, and what better way to celebrate food and our admiration of you than by bring you some pro cooking tips?


The kitchen is a place where masterpieces are made. On the contrary, there’s a very fine line between completing that masterpiece… and having it go up in flames mid-meal prep. No one wants to crash and burn.


Below are some of our favorite tips and tricks to avoid that accident in the kitchen.

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Mise en place ASAP


Mis en place is a French term meaning ‘everything in its place.’ It more or less refers to the setup that’s required before cooking and is used in restaurants and other professional kitchens to refer to organizing the ingredients a cook will readily need.


Everyone should aim for mise en place regardless of whether they are manning a five-star restaurant or a kitchen full of hungry children. Do as much prep as you can the day prior or hours leading up to cooking/hosting an event. Make sauces ahead of time. Assemble appetizer displays so that they’re ready to go. Bake desserts a day (or even two!) before you are expecting company.


Mise en place goes beyond the food too. Put your mind at ease by decorating you event space or dining room table before the event. It means there will be less to do day-of, which in turn means a mind that is at ease.


Put a lid on it


Ever hear the saying “watch pot never boils”? When you’re in a pinch and need your pasta water to start boiling, like, yesterday, put a lid on it! A pot of water will begin to boil much quicker with a cover on it. 

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Be a master of the pickle


Need to shake up the variety when it comes to your veggie side dishes? Want to surprise your backyard party guests with a new take on the same-old burger toppings? How about pickling?


Whisk a pinch of salt and pinch of sugar into some white wine vinegar. Pour over thinly sliced raw vegetables. Let soak for twenty minutes. Ta-duh! It’s that easy and injects a ton of flavor into your dishes.


Give the crowd finger lickin’ chicken


When it comes to cooking for a large crowd, chicken breast can get expensive. They also get dull after a while. Thighs are juicier, more cost effective, and more flavorful – and the nutritional difference isn’t something to really fret over:


  • A three ounce skinless, chicken breast provides about 140 calories, three grams of fat and one gram of saturated fat
  • A three-ounce skinless, chicken thigh clocks in at 170 calories, nine grams of fat and three grams of saturated fat


The delicious taste is worth the bit of extra fat when it comes to cooking for a crowd!


Sniff the spices


Ground spices unfortunately don’t last as long as we’d like them to. Give your spices a whiff… if they don’t smell like anything, they won’t taste like anything, either. And if they don’t taste like anything that means you’re essentially cooking with a flavorless powder – what a buzzkill.


Feeling dull?


Kitchen knives get dull, and if we don’t keep up with getting them sharpened, they can become quite useless. One of our chef’s strongest suggestions is to do your research and invest in a chef’s knife – his favorite tool in the kitchen. A decent chef knife that is well-maintained will last a home cook the rest of their life!


Tell your herbs they’re as pretty as flowers


Treat your fresh herbs like you would treat a fresh bouquet of flowers. Trim the stems and put them in glasses of water, fit a plastic bag over each glass of water, and stash them in the refrigerator.


Speaking of flowers…


Roses are a colorful, beautiful, and edible garnish. Beautify your serving trays with lavish rose petals. On the veggie side, kale is a great option that will make your tray look more presentable.


Stock up on soup essentials


A freezer full of pork necks and bony beef cuts will ensure you always have what you need to make broths, sauces, and other bases. The same goes for cheese rinds!! Seriously! Freeze your parmesan cheese rinds and think of them as ‘cheese bones’ when you go to make a cheese-based soup or sauce.

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Invest in a massive mixing bowl


You’ll thank us for this one. No one wants to mix cake batter or toss salad in a tiny cereal bowl. The bigger the mixing bowl, the bigger the batch you can handle. Bring. It. On!


A spoon full of sugar helps the veggies go down


Yep, you read that correctly! Some veggies – such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, and tomatoes – have a natural sweetness. Take that flavor to the next level with a dash of sugar.


Sell your toaster


OK, maybe you don’t have to go to such drastic measures, but we highly suggest you try frying your toast instead of toasting it. Warm some butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. Throw some bread into the pan and fry until golden on both sides. Indulge.


Store lemons in the fridge


Your lemons will stay fresher longer in the fridge. That way you’ll always be able to add fresh lemon juice to everything from dressings to cocktails.


86 the grease


When cooking bacon, beef, or other greasy foods, strain them over a bowl in the sink. Either toss that grease or save it (especially bacon grease, we highly recommend it) to cook other meats and veggies in. Do NOT pour your grease down the drain!


Make butter better


Surprisingly, it is possible. Mix a little shallot, some chopped herbs, cinnamon, or maybe some lemon zest into softened butter and —boom – you’ve got yourself some compound butter.


Are you a beast in the kitchen? With these tips and tricks, you sure will be. Go get ‘em, tiger!

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By: Desi Dimitrova


Don’t you just love barbecues? The soothing sizzling sound, the smell of cooked meat with spices that makes your mouth water, and the sight of delicious side dishes to complete the taste you can almost feel before you’ve even had one bite. What a perfect way to spend an afternoon with your family and friends! Or maybe a special occasion. Whatever it is, barbecues are a great way to gather people together and enjoy a day out in the sun!


So, what makes a barbecue so amazing? The food, of course. There are two main elements to this: the meat and the side dishes. So, let’s take a look at what you can do for each of them!

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Side Dishes


Side dishes are a great way to compliment any cooked meat. And the best part is that you can do them yourself! Most of them are usually easy and even fun to prepare. Here are 5 recipes of some of the best sides you can have!


Roasted Sweet Corn on The Cob


This one is easy and oh so good! For a portion of 4, you will need:


  • 1/4 cup butter (preferably softened)
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Now all you have to do is: pre-heat the oven to 350 °F. Then mix together the butter, the garlic, the parsley and the salt. Put the seasoning on each cob, and then place it into an aluminum foil. Bake it for about 20-30 min.


Potato Salad


Lick your bowl clean with this incredible old-fashioned potato salad! After all, it’s a classic for a reason. Here is what you need for a salad that would be big enough for 8 people:


  • 8 potatoes (medium size - boiled)
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 cup onion (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


Now that you have all the ingredients, all you have to do is chop the potatoes in smaller pieces. Next, mix the sugar, salt, pepper, cider vinegar, mayonnaise and mustard together. Add them to the potatoes, along with the onion and celery ribs. Cut up the eggs and put them inside the salad. You can add a touch of paprika on the top in order to complete the irresistible look of the dish!




Speaking of salads, here’s another classical addition to the barbecue heaven! This is what you will need:


  • 1 head cabbage (small — around 2 - 2.5 pounds)
  • 2-3 carrots (large)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


The first thing you’d want to do is shred the cabbage. Cut it up into small pieces. Do the same with the carrots and mix the two together. Next comes the dressing. Whisk the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, sugar and salt together. Pour the liquid onto the cabbage and carrots, and leave it in the fridge for at least an hour before serving it. Yum!

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Baked Macaroni And Cheese


This side dish takes a bit more time to prepare but it’s so good that you simply must try it! What you’ll need is:


  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (Cheddar)
  • 1/2teaspoon salt


Boil the macaroni, and in the meantime — pre-heat the oven to 400 °F. Next, heat up the milk in the microwave for 1.5 min. Melt the butter and whisk in the flour until you get a smooth concoction. Add the warm milk, and continue to whisk. Do the same with the salt, pepper and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Mix it in the with the macaroni. As for the rest of the cheese, put it on top. Bake it for about 20 min until the cheese starts to bubble or it reaches a nice golden color.


Mashed Potatoes


Let’s finish off our short list of the best barbecue side dishes with yet another classic! Who could resist the charming taste of mashed potatoes? To prepare them you’ll need:


  • 2 pounds potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and paper to taste


Peel the potatoes and boil them for about 15 min in salted water. Then melt the butter, while adding milk. Next, take an electric beater or a potato masher, smash the potatoes and add the milk and butter until they become smooth and creamy. Tasty!

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Barbecue Meat


You can’t have a barbecue without the delicious meat, right? But let’s face it, while side dishes can be easy to make, preparing the meat takes a lot of time and it can be tiresome. Especially if you’re having a lot of people over. So why not hire a caterer, save yourself the headache and be the hit of the party? Here are some of the many benefits you’ll have!


Always Delicious


Do you want to enjoy your barbecue day without a care in the world? Then rely on your caterers! You can be sure that the meat will be tender, and the spices will be just right. Your guests will love it. And so will you!




Yes, when you know that everyone and everything is taken care of, you have nothing left to worry about! Caterers usually bring their own buns, plastic plates, napkins and utensils (and barbecue sauce!). Pretty amazing, right? Now all you have to do is sit back and relax. Let others do the work for you!




That’s right! Having someone cater for you won’t cost you more than you would spend if you tried to prepare everything yourself. Not to mention all the time you’ll be saving! It’s a win-win!


Which side dish is your favorite for a sunny barbecue afternoon? Share with us in the comments below!

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 By: Elesha Piper


You may love a hot, crispy waffle but have you heard of the world’s oldest cookie; the pizzelle? Dating back hundreds of years in Italian culture, no Italian catholic celebration or wedding is complete without the famous pizzelle!


Light, crispy Italian waffle cookies, the pizzelle is a traditional favorite around Christmas and Easter time and you’re likely to see them piled high on the sweet table of an Italian wedding. These delicious treats were the very first cookie our own Chef Ted learned to make as a child. Chef Ted has his mum to thank for his lifelong passion for food. His mother’s friend, Giovana DâAgostino (aka Mama D.) was a talented Chef and taught young Ted how to make a pizzelle cookie.

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At just six years old, Chef Ted was teaching adults how to make egg rolls, the famously tasty, deep-fried appetizer. His small hands made him an expert at the folding and rolling technique. As he grew, so did his love for food and today we count ourselves lucky to have this award-winning Chef running the kitchen here at Unique Dining Catering


Let’s get back to where Chef Ted’s journey all began; the pizzelle. If you’ve never heard of this classic Italian dessert, you’re sure to enjoy this tasty little gastronomic history lesson.


‘Pizze’ comes from the Italian word for ‘round’ and ‘flat’ (that’s right, just like the word pizza) and the ending ‘elle’ means small. These eternally popular, small, round cookies are made from a simple batter of sugar, eggs, flour, butter or oil and flavoring.  Although Anise (Black licorice) is the “traditional” flavor of the pizzelle, modern options include vanilla, peppermint, anisette, lemon and chocolate but there are countless recipes and flavor combinations for this humble Italian cookie.


Pizzelles are made using iron plates, either the modern, electric version used the same way you’d use a waffle iron or you can opt for the traditional cast metal plates, the type used centuries ago.


To cook the pizzelle, the batter is pressed between two iron plates. It’s common for these iron plates to have some sort of decorative design on them, usually a snowflake, which is then transferred to the batter and cooked into the pizzelle.


Hundreds of years ago, a family’s traditional pizzelle iron would be individually designed to proudly incorporate family crests, special dates, or other meaningful designs. Decorative plates were a prized possession for this timeless treat and often passed down through generations along with the pizzelle cooking technique.


When cooking with these traditional irons, the cookie dough is rolled into a rope to form a figure eight and placed onto one of the plates. The cast metal plate is then held over an open flame and turned to cook each side of the pizzelle.


Once the pizzelle cool off, they’ll harden but coming straight from the hot iron, the cookie is soft and malleable so instead of keeping it’s flat, round cookie appearance, it can be molded easily into other shapes. The pizzelle is often wrapped around a tube, forming the sweet, crunchy cylinder used to make the other famously tasty Italian dessert; cannoli.


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Pizzelle cookies are often also shaped into a cone to top with gelato or ice cream and it’s common to create a pizzelle ‘bowl’ where the cookie is molded to the inside of a bowl. Once hard, it’s used as a dish for desserts and piled high with sweet toppings like fruit and cream.


Pizzelles cooked in their original shape, flat and round, can be stacked between layers of ice cream. For those with a truly sweet tooth, try alternating layers of pizzelle, Nutella and ice cream to create a decadent Nutella Ice Cream Pizzelle sandwich. The light layers of the of the pizzelle perfectly complimenting the creamy richness of the Nutella / ice cream combination.


The range of different ways the cookie can be used, especially with modern takes on the traditional recipe, clearly makes it a winner as a super versatile dessert option, regardless of the occasion. 


Aside from the design embedded into the pizzelle from the hot iron, there are a few popular traditional ways to decorate and serve up these tasty, waffley morsels.


Food coloring can be used to tint the cookie. Pizzelles are also delicious dipped into chocolate, icing or sprinkles. In the simplest style, the pizzelle is served with a dusting of powdered sugar or cinnamon. Elaborately decorated pizzelles packaged in a beautiful festive wrap can make a wonderfully tasty homemade Christmas gift.


So, who do we have to thank for the creation of these delicious cookies that are still a popular staple treat of Italian celebrations today? The pizzelle first appeared in the south-central area of Abruzzo, Italy where two small villages, Colcullo, the Province of L’Aquila and Salle, in the Province of Pescara claim rights to the origin of the sweet treat.


Pizzelle treats are part of Colcullo’s enticingly named celebration called Festival of the Snakes, one of the most unique and ancient festivals in Italy. At one point, centuries ago, the village was overrun with snakes and when Benedictine monk San Domenico cleared out the local fields that were riddled with serpents, the village celebrated with pizzelles. The festival is held on the 1 May each year and, in addition to the pizzelle, attracts some of the world’s major snake-lovers who often bring their own snakes.


Every July, Salle celebrates the festival of 12th-century monk Beato Roberto da Salle. During this popular festival, Pizzelle is hung from tree branches and celebrants walk through the streets with them as an offering.  


Interestingly, the history of the pizzelle may go back even further, drawing on the ancient examples of bread stamps in both ancient Greece and Rome where the bread of a similar size and shape was often stamped in geometric patterns. Religious imagery, such as a cross, was also impressed into flatbread during the early days of Christianity to be used as the Holy Eucharist.


The pizzelle is clearly a cookie with a lot of history. It’s the cookie that started it all for Chef Ted and he’s been cooking ever since!

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By: Elesha Piper


Not all meetings are created equal. Some are short and sweet. Others are so long they test your ability not to fall asleep in public. When you’re in the midst of the former, here are a few things you can do to stay alert and interested. Or at least appear to be!

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Be smart about how you use your break time


Even the most demanding executive team won’t expect you to sit through a daylong meeting on budget projections without scheduling breaks into the agenda.


The key is how you use those breaks. Resist the temptation to spend the entire time glued to your phone checking and responding to work emails. Your brain needs some non-screen time to take a breather from the onslaught of profit and loss PowerPoint slides.


Tip:  Put an out of office message on your email for the duration of the meeting. Let people know you’re unavailable and will get back to them at a later stage. This stops getting those pesky follow up ‘Did you get my last email??’ emails and phone messages!


If the break time permits, head straight to the nearest park and take a walk around. According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, taking a stroll through green environments can even put the brain into a state of meditation.


No time for a walk? No problem. Deep breathing exercises will reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, and help you feel more alert and invigorated by the time you step back into the boardroom. Find a quiet room nearby for a couple of extra minutes and focus on your breath.


Check out these 5 Breathing Exercises To Increase Focus for your next meeting or download the app Breathe To Relax, which guides you through short sessions of diaphragmatic breathing.



Eat well


What you eat before and during meetings is incredibly important to stay focused and avoid the energy slump that makes the final few hours of a meeting seem like an eternity.


Firstly, never ever go to a meeting hungry. It’s a sure way to not be able to focus on a single detail. Instead, your brain will be looping in circles around the toasted sandwich and coffee combo at the cafe next door.


Meeting organizers take note; a mindful approach to planning catering is one of the best ways to maximize productivity during long meetings with a bunch of important info attendees need to take in.


Fruits, fresh veggies, healthy fats (think avocado, olive oil, nuts, etc.) and proteins are all great choices to keep the brain firing on all cylinders. Think twice about including food loaded with gluten, like bread and pasta. When your body processes gluten, the result is a heavy, sluggish feeling. Not ideal when you need to pay attention to detailed spreadsheets and pie charts for hours and hours.


For breakfast meetings, eggs are a great source of protein (a nutrient that helps delay hunger) meaning your concentration will stay on track. Chicken is an ideal lunch choice, it too is an excellent source of protein and beans make an great substitute for meat-based proteins to keep the vegetarians in the room happy.


Substitute a platter of heavy, sugary danishes for afternoon tea with a delicious fruit platter. You’ll avoid a sugar high followed shortly by a crashing slump in concentration.


Skip the coffee


Drinking enough coffee to fill a bathtub might is tempting when you’ve got a long meeting to slog through but sipping green tea is actually a better option.


Green tea contains two essential compounds, caffeine and I-theanine, which help improve focus and memory, but the caffeine is released slower than coffee. This means the caffeine high from sipping green tea is sustained for longer whereas coffee peaks and drops off quickly.


Unlike coffee, green tea also hydrates as well as water does and has a bunch of other health benefits; it’s packed full of antioxidants. You’ll be doing good things for your health as well as remaining alert and interested (or at least pretending to be!) in the meeting.


Engage in the discussion


If the meeting is longer than a Tolstoy novel and death by a PowerPoint slide deck is beginning to feel like an actual possibility, one of the best things you can do is to engage in the discussion. When we’re not playing an active part in the meeting, we tend to switch off. Speaking up will help you stay focused.


Look for opportunities to ask a question, make a comment or just lend your support. Jotting down key points is a great way to prompt thoughtful questions and stay present.


Speaking of staying present….


Practice mindfulness


In case you missed the memo about the practice of mindfulness that is sweeping the globe; mindfulness means being focused on the present.


Paying close attention to everything happening around you in the moment will help rein in a wandering mind. Which makes it an ideal technique to employ during long meetings when your ability to stay awake in public is put to the test.


Sit up straight, look right at the speaker and bring your focus to each word spoken. If you find your mind wandering to other topics—future meetings, your to-do list, the color of your colleague's tie—acknowledge the feelings, but then commit to refocusing your attention on the meeting

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Keep calm and doodle


According to a study by Jackie Andrade, Psychologist from the University of Plymouth, UK, scribbling random doodles in your notebook is actually a super effective way for your mind to stay engaged during meetings.


In fact, you can retain 29% more information just from the simple act of doodling. That’s pretty impressive. Need more convincing? Check out The Doodle Revolution, led by Sunni Brown author, founder and Chief Infodoodler of Sunni Brown Ink, a visual thinking consultancy. What are you waiting for? Pick up a pen and get doodling.

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By: Jessi Minneci


One of the best parts about catering a party is all of the amazing food leftover after the event! We love feeding our guests, entertaining, and making sure that everyone leaves satisfied and happy. And often there is even some grub left out on the buffet once everyone has gone home!


The downside of leftovers? Potentially, stored food can lead to decay, mold, strange odors, and other foodborne illnesses. But this doesn’t have to be that case. Some foods need to be kept in the refrigerator to slow down germ growth and keep food fresh for longer; others are better off being stored in the freezer. It’s all about knowing how to properly store leftovers so that you can enjoy them without worry. Follow these tips to prolong the freshness of your party’s remnants that were previously cooked.

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Be a safe cook

Let’s backtrack from the party idea and first talk about leftovers in general. If you are cooking a big meal at home, the first step to ensuring delicious leftovers is cooking the food safely. Sounds like a given, right? Yes – but we’re still here to make sure you’re a pro! Be sure the elements of your meal are cooked to a safe temperature (we recommend using a food thermometer) and refrigerate the leftovers in a timely manner. Want to know the two main causes of foodborne illness?


  1. Not cooking food to a safe temperature
  2. Leaving food out at an unsafe temperature

If you’re cooking a meal with red meat (beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts), you’ll want the meat to reach a minimum internal temperature of 145° F. For both safety and quality, allow the red meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. When it comes to ground meats (beef, pork, lamb, and veal), you’ll want the meat to reach a minimum internal temperature of 160°. For chicken, turkey, and other poultry – 165° F.


Bacteria growth thrives between the 40-140° F. After food is cooked, hot food must be kept hot (above 140°) to prevent that growth. Once you’re ready to store it, you’ll want to cool it below 40° F as quickly as possible so that, again, bacteria are not in that ‘thriving’ zone. To do this, divide large amounts of food into shallow containers and refrigerate. For example, divide a big pot of soup into pint-sized containers as opposed to sticking a huge pot in the fridge.


Throw away all perishable foods that have been left at room temperature for more than two hours – they are no longer good.

Now, let’s break down the specific needs for different types of foods. Here’s how to handle leftovers from your party, picnic, family dinner, and so on…


Meats, fish, and poultry

First store leftover meats/fish/poultry uncovered in the refrigerator to rapidly cool the item. Once cool, convert the meat to a shallow and sealable container.

As a general rule of thumb, raw ground meats, all poultry, seafood, and variety meats can be stored safely in the refrigerator for one to two days. Raw roasts, steaks, and chops should be safe for three to five days. Cooked meat, poultry, and seafood – three to four days.

Pro tip: if you opt to freeze your leftover meat, we recommend doing so in sauce, such as a pasta sauce or soup. This enables the meat to keep its moisture and taste better once defrosted. Defrost frozen leftovers in the refrigerator, under cold water or in a microwave oven. Refrigerator thawing takes the longest but the leftovers stay safe the entire time. After thawing, the food should be used within three to four days or can be refrozen.


Soups, sauces, and other liquids

Sauces, gravy, and soups should be portioned out and stored in air-tight containers or heavy-duty Ziploc bags. Spread the liquid out as much as possible to speed up the cooling process of hot items.  A sauce will last safely between three and four days in the refrigerator. In the freezer, a soup/sauce/gravy will maintain best quality between four and six months, however, items kept constantly frozen at 0°F will keep safe indefinitely.



Cooked pasta will remain fresh in the refrigerator for up to five days, and lasts for eight months in a freezer. Drizzle just a bit of olive oil onto the pasta before storing in an airtight container to keep it from drying out.

After defrosting frozen pasta, re-boil in water to heat it right through.



As we’ve mentioned with other food items, the key to vegetables is to divide and conquer. Cool the veggies before sealing and storing them in the refrigerator. Once stored, veggies will maintain optimal freshness for two days.


Bread, rolls, and buns

There are few things quite as beautiful as the basket of fresh rolls at the end of a buffet table at a catered party… YUM! But when it comes to storing leftover bread products, the refrigerator isn’t too effective.

Sure, bread will stay fresh in a sealed bag for a few days, but if you have a surplus of leftover rolls, the freezer will be your best friend.  Place bread in a sealable freezer and it will remain edible for several months.



Someone might opt to wrap leftover blocks of cheese, from a cheese plate, perhaps, in plastic wrap. This is actually a no-no as the plastic will cling to the fats and oils of the cheese and affect its taste. The best way to store leftover cheese is to grate it and place it in a freezer bag – this will keep it fresh for an extra two to three months.

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Enjoying your meal later on

We mentioned before that your leftovers can be defrosted one of several ways. However, you can even reheat frozen leftovers without thawing, either in a saucepan, microwave, or the oven. Reheating of course will take longer than if the food is thawed first, but it is safe to do when time is short.

Remember to reheat leftovers to a piping hot temp (at least 165°F) and to bring sauces, soups and gravies to a boil. Always cover leftovers while reheating to retain moisture and ensure the food heats all the way through.

Safe food is great food – bon appétit!

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