The Challenge: Design, cook, and implement a dinner menu for a backyard wedding with 80 guests and a budget of $1000. Today updates, menu tweaks and a great chicken salad recipe.
I know I said waaay back in June I’d have a bunch more wedding catering project posts for you. You’re probably thinking eek, the wedding is in July what is she doing? It’s July now. Disaster coming! But, fear not, I have been diligently testing recipes for the wedding, narrowing down a menu, and even have a final taste test coming up with the bride and groom. All will be finished on time. I’ve been so busy testing I haven’t written up everything until just recently. Admittedly I have a backlog of wedding related posts to share with you guys, but that’s ok as long as things come out right for the actual wedding right? I figured you would forgive me. Thanks.
So updates on whats going on…
I’ve been testing recipes; some of which were flops, so of course they won’t make it to the blog. Many were excellent, and the recipes will be coming soon.
The testing has (surprise, surprise) caused me to change the menu again. I think this has happened between each post I write about the project. I guess that’s kind of my style when planning a dinner party, let alone a dinner for 80 people. I start by picking a tentative menu, then the more I think about it, and the more I test, the more I swap things out, realize I need to simplify, tweak.
This time I realized I’ve just been thinking too many dishes, and over complicating things. In the hopes of keeping things simple, I have things narrowed down to three main dishes: pulled pork, chicken salad (today’s recipe), and a vegetarian main dish (more in an upcoming post).
I also have the sides narrowed down to three. A pasta salad which one will be decided based on bride and groom’s preference. Remember the farm fresh pasta salad and the pesto pasta salad? All so yummy.
Potato salad is on the menu for sure, the recipe is coming Friday.
Last I’m thinking a spring mix salad with balsamic, candied pecans, feta, and strawberries. (Will also share soon!)
+Bread, of course.
I’m thinking Carrabba’s red sangria for alcohol. The groom also wants to do craft beer. I admit I’m still concerned about beer with the budget. But, we’ll see.
It sounds a lot simpler then my original ideas for the menu: two meat main dishes, a vegetarian main dish, two pasta type dishes, a potato dish, beans, a veggie dish, and fruit + bread. And the alcohol of course. Though it’s a little simpler, I think it might work out better. Less choices but, I can concentrate on making sure each dish comes out really well. I think this will also help a great deal to keep us in budget.
We’re going to be doing a final taste test this weekend so the bride and groom can give me the ok on the menu, and each individual dish, plus talk about cost. I’ll share the breakdown with you next week in addition to the last few recipes. But for now, on to today’s dish, tangy and creamy chicken salad with tarragon.
Here’s what I’m thinking. On the chicken pros side: you have to have a chicken dish at a wedding, it’s like a law or something. People who don’t eat pork will probably eat the chicken. Chicken salad is widely liked. It’s very picnic or bbq. It’s pretty easy to make. Chickens are cheap!
The problem with chicken salad is that it can be kinda boring right? So I needed to jazz it up. I perused recipes and found a creamy chicken salad recipe (here) that looked pretty interesting to me. I adapted from this.
My version: I love the tarragon. I love the tang. I also love how it’s super creamy. Serve on a big ole bun. Add a little arugla, maybe some tomato. Simple. Light. Summer. Good. As Guy Fieri would say, winner winner chicken dinner!