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Posts Tagged ‘Dinner Ideas’

Fall is here! Plan an outdoor dinner party.

Posted on: September 26th, 2012

The temperatures this week may say otherwise, but fall has finally arrived. Soon, we’ll see the mercury begin to fall as cooler fall weather moves into North Texas. Are you itching to spend time outside after another hot Texas summer? Ready to enjoy evenings on your patio again?

We are right there with you.

The cooler fall temperatures provide the ideal environment for an outdoor dinner party. What better way to kick off the fall season than hosting an outdoor gathering of your closest friends.

Dinner parties are great for celebrating monumental life events like birthdays, engagements, new babies and graduations. But having a special occasion to celebrate isn’t a requirement for an outdoor dinner party. Hosting a backyard dinner party is also a simple, fun way to spend a fall evening with the ones you love, whether or not you have a special occasion to celebrate.

Want to plan a fall outdoor dinner party? Here are a few tips to get you started:

Plan the time and space. Outdoor living spaces and dining areas are becoming more and more popular at residences, and these are ideal for outdoor parties. If, however, you do not have an outdoor living space for your party, consider renting a party tent, tables and chairs. An evening party is best, as it will allow you to take advantage of cooler temperatures without being directly under the sun. Always have a backup plan if the weather foils your plan to host your party outdoors.

Decorations. Brighten up your outdoor space with hanging lanterns and candles. Pest control is crucial, especially with the outbreak of West Nile we saw in Dallas over the summer. Citronella candles are perfect for outdoor parties, as they help keep mosquitoes and other unwanted guests at bay.  If you have an outdoor fire pit or chiminea, light it up! The light from the fire of a chiminea or even the flickering flame of a candle will add intimacy, romance and warmth to your party.

The menu. In Texas, the first thing most people think when they think outdoors dining is a cookout. Save the burgers and corn on the cob for your tailgating party at the next Cowboys game. Plan a three-course meal for your guests, with an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Our event catering menu has an array of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres like stuffed mushrooms, skewered beef, chicken, pork or shrimp, finger sandwiches and smoked salmon stuffed endive, as well as entrees, dips and spreads and desserts.

If you would prefer to keep things casual at your dinner party, plan a family-style dinner. Any of our Take Away Chef gourmet casseroles will be a hit with your guests. Go fancy and plan a three-course meal for your guests, with an appetizer, entrée and dessert.

Take some of the stress out of your planning by working with S&S Catering to plan and cater your dinner party menu. Our experienced team will help you plan a menu perfectly suited for the occasion of your outdoors dinner party. We can even provide staff to help serve your guests. Contact us for more information on our event catering or Take Away Chef menu.

Train your children to make healthy food choices by making family dinnertime a priority

Posted on: September 20th, 2012

Taking time for family dinner is an important element of teaching your children to live health lifestyles. From an early age, children pick up on habits they see in their parents, including eating habits. If the habit for your family is to eat dinner at different times, or in front of the TV, your kids will establish those same habits as they grow into adulthood.

Teaching your children to be healthy is partly about teaching them to make healthy choices. As parents, you are able to guide their food choices by making healthy foods readily available to them. Teach your children from the time they are young to choose natural, low fat, low calorie foods over processed foods and junk food. Train them to avoid piling on extra calories with unnecessary dips and sauces.

To help instill these habits in your children, make a point of eating dinner together as a family as much as possible. Family dinnertime can become a special time for you and your children; a time every member of the family grows to look forward to. Take the opportunity to engage your children in conversation, reinforcing to them that you are interested in their lives.

Having conversation during family dinner will train your children to slow down while they eat. When we eat in a hurry, we are more likely to eat more because it takes time for our bodies to digest food so we feel full. It’s also important to teach your children to drink water with dinner. Water is not only a healthy drink choice, it helps us feel more full, which means we will eat less.

The earlier you begin training your children to live healthy lives, the more likely the will be to carry healthy habits into adulthood. We realize that you may not always have time to prepare a healthy meal for your family. That’s why we offer our Take Away Chef meals. Stock your freezer with our delicious, healthy, homemade frozen meals and you will have an easy yet healthy dinner option on nights when you are short on time. When the drive-thru option seems more appealing than cooking, give us a call on your way home from work, swing by S&S Catering and we’ll bring a hot, fresh meal right out to your car!

For more info on our healthy food options or to place an order, call us at 214-351-6888. S&S Catering is located at United Methodist Church at Mockingbird and Hillcrest.

Take Away Chef — The easy dinner solution for busy Dallas families

Posted on: September 13th, 2012

Is your after school routine so busy you feel like you’re running in a hundred different directions? Do you struggle to get dinner on the table in the midst of football practice, dance class, piano lessons and homework? If so, you’re not alone. Americans are busier now than ever, and most families struggle to find the time to eat dinner together.

If picking up takeout on your way home is your idea of a family dinner, you haven’t tried Take Away Chef. You’re busy. We get it. But your busy life shouldn’t require a dependency on the drive-thru lane or Chinese delivery. Allow us to recommend an alternative: Take Away Chef homemade casseroles.

Our meals are made fresh from original S&S Catering recipes and are a much healthier option than the meals many busy families resort to. Taking the time to sit down and have a meal with your family is valuable. But in the midst of a busy schedule, it’s not always feasible to prepare and cook a meal and then sit down and eat it. Let us take the work out of family dinner with Take Away Chef. Our goal is to provide quick, easy, yet healthy meals for busy Dallas families

If you can manage one more stop on your busy evening, give us a call when you leave work, swing by S&S Catering and we’ll bring some of our Take Away Chef meals right out to your car.  We can even deliver to your home or office! Stock the freezer and you will have healthy gourmet casseroles ready when you need them.

Just call  to 214-351-6888, place your order and give us a ring when you arrive. We’ll bring your meal right out to your car!

S&S Catering is located at United Methodist Church at Mockingbird and Hillcrest.

Labor Day Party Tips

Posted on: August 15th, 2012

A new school year begins in Dallas on August 27 and this year, the first weekend after school starts is a three-day weekend! Monday, September 3 is Labor Day. Traditionally, Labor Day was a day dedicated to celebrating the many social and economic achievements and contributions of American workers; a tribute to their hard work. Today, Labor Day most often means a last chance party before fall is full swing. It even be the last chance to hit the pools before they close for the season.

How will you celebrate Labor Day this year? Are you planning a day at the lake? A picnic in the park? A party at the pool? However you plan to spend Labor Day, here are three things to keep in mind.

  1. Leave time to relax! Since Labor Day was established in the 1880’s, it has been a day to celebrate the hard work of American laborers. A day to sit back, relax and rest from all the work done throughout the year. If your family is like most busy Dallas families, you’ll likely have places to be, things to do and errands to run on Labor Day. Try to work some time for relaxation into your schedule as well. Break out the hammock and lawn chairs, or throw a couple blankets out on the lawn. Enjoy time outside and relax with family and friends this Labor Day!
  2. Eat! What’s a holiday without food? Whether you’re spending the weekend at the lake, hosting a backyard barbecue, or planning a picnic in the park, don’t spend too much time laboring over your Labor Day menu. That defeats the purpose of the holiday! Let your favorite Dallas caterer take care of your Labor Day party food. If you’re planning a small, quiet shindig, order a premade, oven-ready meal from Take Away Chef
  3. Have fun! If you just can’t sit still all day, there are plenty of group activities to make your day special. In many area communities Labor Day weekend is the last weekend public pools are open for the summer. Take the kids to the pool for one last day of swimming before the reality of a new school year sets in. A group hike, softball or ultimate Frisbee are sure ways to keep your friends and family having fun.

Enjoy the first three-day weekend of the school year, and the extra day off work! Take time to celebrate the achievements and hard work you and other Americans contribute to our society on a daily basis.

Call S&S Catering today for more information on our catering services as well as premade and packed dinners, boxed lunches and sandwich trays from Take Away Chef.

Back to school and back to school activities

Posted on: August 9th, 2012

Dallas public schools are back in session on August 27. Are you ready for the craziness of a new school year to begin? The freedom that comes with summer will soon come to an end. Between work, school, after-school activities and homework, you will be busy again.

Selecting after school activities is one big part of the back to school season. Many parents, pediatricians, teachers and coaches have suggestions for selecting back to school activities, but the decision is yours. How do you decide what is best for your child? When selecting the best after school activities for your kids, consider these tips:

Ask your child what he or she wants to do. While you want to select activities that help them grow and develop mentally, physically and emotionally, let your child give his or her input in the decision. Selecting an activity your child enjoys will often lead to a more fruitful and successful experience for both you and your child.

Shoot for team or group activities. Selecting after school activities that encourage your child to build team-building skills and make new friends will challenge them mentally and socially. Learning to work together with other people and learning how to deal with different personalities at a young age can benefit your child for life. Team sports (football, soccer, basketball) are also often more physical than individual sports, and can provide your child an outlet for energy that built up during the day while sitting in class.

Leave time for homework and fun. As adults, we often fill our schedules until they overflow. Be sure to leave your child some free time for fun in the evenings. If you select more than one after school activity, be sure they are on alternating nights of the week, so your child doesn’t have more than one after school activity each day. This will allow plenty of time for homework, and dinner as a family as well.

Develop a schedule and remember your kids’ health is most important. Being busy doesn’t necessitate compromising on what’s most important. Feeding your family healthy meals is one area you certainly won’t want to compromise on. Let’s face it: your busy life might mean you don’t have time to spend an hour or two preparing a healthy dinner for your family. Don’t sacrifice nutrition for convenience. There is such a thing as a quick, convenient meal that is healthy. Consider Take Away Chef — quick, easy, yet healthy meals for large groups, parties, or simply dinner with the family.

Stock up on our delicious, healthy, readymade frozen casseroles to toss in the oven on busy school nights. When you find yourself in a time crunch between picking the kids up from school and getting them to lacrosse practice, give us a call at 214-351-6888. Swing by after work and we’ll bring one of our freshly prepared frozen entrees made from our original recipes straight to your car.

S&S Catering is located at United Methodist Church at Mockingbird and Hillcrest.

Overnight guests? Tips for feeding extra mouths

Posted on: August 2nd, 2012

Every Dallas parent knows that feeding a family is expensive. While cooking at home is certainly less expensive than eating out, even the tab at the grocery store can add up. Feeling hospitable? Adding guests to the mix will rapidly raise your grocery bill.

The financial expense is one thing, but consider the added stress of planning meals for more than just your family. Throw kids into the mix and you may find it near impossible to please every hungry mouth in your home.

Opening your home to overnight guests doesn’t have to a budget breaker or add stress to your life. With a little bit of planning, you mealtime with guests can be budget-friendly and stress free!

Before your guests arrive, take advantage of these tips and prepare meals ahead of time:

Plan for allergies, likes and dislikes — This is especially important if any of your overnight guests are kids. A quick email to your adult guests can easily settle this. Find out if anyone has any food allergies, and if there are any foods kids might refuse to eat. It’s also smart to ask what snack foods are approved.

Prepare meals — Take some time to plan your menu for the course of your guests’ stay. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks can all be planned ahead of time. Select recipes that are quick and easy, or can be prepared in advance and frozen.

Consider our Take Away Chef meals. Take Away Chef is our freshly prepared frozen entrees made from our original recipes. We offer ready-to-bake, family-sized casseroles that can even be delivered. Our meals are the perfect solution to your menu-planning headache. Here are just a few of the benefits of Take Away Chef:

Take Away Chef meals are healthy – Take Away Chef casseroles are a far healthier option than ordering pizza or takeout when you’re on a time crunch. Stock up your freezer with your family’s favorites Take Away Chef meals and know your kids won’t go hungry on busy nights.

Take Away Chef meals are quick and easy to prepare – Take Away Chef meals are easily prepared in the oven, without the mess of prep that often comes with cooking. Kids who are old enough to use the oven can easily prepare a healthy meal with Take Away Chef.

Take Away Chef meals are homemade – Our meals are packed full of the warm, comforting feel of a homemade meal. Don’t settle for frozen meals from the grocery store for your kids, there’s no hiding the fact those aren’t homemade. Our cooks will prepare casseroles especially for you when you order.

The most important thing you can do to prepare for guests is to plan ahead. Don’t expect to “wing it” when it comes to meals and be successful. The more people you add to the mix, the more difficult and stressful mealtime can be. Plan ahead, prepare in advance and take advantage of Take Away Chef and you’re sure to have plenty of time to enjoy visiting with your guests.

Can’t go on a summer vacation? Plan a fun Dallas staycation!

Posted on: June 13th, 2012

Dale Chihuly glass sculpture

Have gas prices and the down economy changed your summer vacation plans? Many families don’t have the funds to take the kids on a big family vacation this year, but that doesn’t mean this summer can’t still be memorable. If your summer plans consist of a “staycation” rather than a vacation, make this summer one your family will remember.

There is always something new to discover or experience in Dallas. Need a few ideas for a fun summer staycation?

Plan a picnic – Picnics are timeless activity for families and a great opportunity to make new memories. Whether it’s a picnic by the lake, on the lawn at the Arboretum or in your own backyard, a picnic is perfect for spending time in the sun with your family. Don’t want to prepare a picnic meal? Give us a call ahead of time, and swing by to pick up one of our Take Away Chef meals or even a fruit or sandwich platter. Don’t forget to toss the Frisbee into your bag, or grab a baseball mitt and ball for a game of catch with the kids.

Shakespeare in the Park – If you love the arts, Shakespeare in the Park is definitely a summer event you’ll want to take advantage of. Every summer, Shakespeare Dallas puts on productions at the Samuell Grand Amphitheater and Addison Circle Park. The 2012 Season of Shakespeare in the Park features: Twelfth Night, Coriolanus and Macbeth. Pack a picnic, complete with your favorite bottle of wine, and head out for a night of Shakespeare. These events are family friendly, but best suited for older kids or teens.

Dallas Summer Musicals – Catch some of the nation’s best musicals and Off Broadway musicals at the Music Hall at Fair Park. This year’s Dallas Summer Musicals season includes: Memphis, Mama Mia! Peter Pan, and The Addams Family. You don’t have to travel all the way to New York City to see a great musical — take your family out to a musical right here in Dallas!

Dallas Arboretum – Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the Chihuly exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum. You may have caught a glimpse of the incredible blown glass creations while walking along the east bank of White Rock Lake. The Chihuly exhibit is a one-of-a-kind exhibit exclusively at the Dallas Arboretum now through November 4.

The Arboretum also offers a summer concert series. Every Tuesday and Thursday night through the end of July, you can catch a different band performing live on the lawn at the Arboretum.  Pack a picnic and take the kids out for a fun evening of music, nature and Chihuly!

Trip to the Zoo – The Dallas/Ft. Worth area has two spectacular zoos. Choose between the Dallas Zoo and Ft. Worth and make a day of it. Before you head out, be sure to look online for special admission deals and special summer events at the zoo you may want to check out. Don’t forget about the Dallas World Aquarium, part of the Dallas Zoos. While the aquarium features more jungle creatures than sea creatures, the manatees are a must see.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame – Our beloved Texas Rangers have had a great start to the season. Take the family out for a ballgame before the World Series rolls around.  Wednesday nights are $1 hot dog night, which is perfect for families. Get your tickets now, because many of the games have sold out. This just might be the season Josh Hamilton breaks the record for homeruns!  A little hint: This is Texas, and it is hot at the ballpark. If you’re going to an afternoon game, buy tickets in the third deck above home plate or along the first baseline and your seats should be in the shade.

If an out-of-town family vacation is out of the question this year, plan a family staycation for a little in-town fun. Don’t let your kids spend their summer sitting around the house. Guide Live has a great list of other area events and attractions going on this summer.

Family Reunions – Tips to keep your planning stress-free to make sure everyone has fun!

Posted on: June 6th, 2012

It’s that time of year again. Time for swimming pools, days on the lake and backyard barbecues. Summer is here, and that mean it’s also time to start planning your next family reunion. Whether the thought makes you cringe, or you’re one of the lucky few who actually enjoys family reunions, don’t let your reunion planning get the best of you and add stress to your already busy life.

Need some tips to get you started planning your next family reunion? Here are 5 simple steps to get you started:

Plan your guest list. Who will be invited? Will the reunion include one side of the family, or will anyone with any relation be included? Is it a chance for the grandparents to reunite with their grandchildren, or an opportunity for the whole family – aunts, uncles, and cousins – to spend some time together?

Ask for help. You shouldn’t have to plan the reunion yourself. Enlist the help of other family members to help plan portions of the event. Assign one person to travel plans and accommodations, another to activities and another to planning food.

Determine the date and place. Summer is typically the best time for family reunions, as the kids are out of school. Major holidays provide an alternative if your summer is already packed. Ask other family members for times that work best for their schedules and coordinate a time that works best for the most people. After you’ve decided on when the reunion will be held, determine where it will be held. Smaller reunions may be able to be held at one family’s home, whereas larger groups will require more space. Decide on a few options for location, and ask other family members what they prefer.

Plan the budget. Know your budget ahead of time. How will accommodations and food be paid for? If you will be collecting funds from each family, be sure everyone is comfortable with the budget.

Plan meals. This can be the most stressful part of a family reunion, but it doesn’t have to be. Accommodating multiple tastes, kids, and potentially food allergies can be challenging. Be sure you are aware of any food preferences or allergies before you plan the menu. Don’t let the responsibility of cooking for everyone fall on your shoulders. Consider catering at least a portion of the meals.

Our catering and food options are perfect for a family reunion of any size. Whether you prefer our full catering services, or simply a few small meals or snacks from Take Away Chef, S&S Catering has a stress-free solution to planning your family reunion meals.

Plan the entertainment. Family reunions are almost always awkward. Break the ice with a few fun family games. Need a few ideas? This list from The Dollar Stretcher has descriptions for several fun family games to play at your next reunion.

Finding a way to keep Aunt Sally entertained so she’ll stop asking you personal questions is up to you, but hopefully these tips will help you with the rest!

Tips for packing the perfect picnic

Posted on: April 19th, 2012

Do you love to be outside? There’s nothing quite like spending an evening relaxing outdoors with family and close friends. Before the summer heat hits Dallas again, take advantage of the weather and plan a picnic.

Picnics are great for a variety of occasions, including an evening with the family, birthday parties and celebrations, and even a casual, corporate gathering. Whether you want to plan a picnic for a hundred people, or just a close few, here are a few tips to ensure the perfect Texas picnic:

Choose your location — The Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex has a number of perfect picnic locations. White Rock Lake, Lakeside Park and Celestial Park (just to name a few) are all ideal locations for a picnic. The Dallas Arboretum is also a perfect picnic spot. You’re your picnic basket, your favorite bottle of wine and a blanket for a picnic in the beautiful and serene Pecan Grove garden at the Arboretum. Don’t have easy access to any of these locations? Set up a picnic in your own backyard!

Pack the right accessories – Blankets or folding chairs, napkins and utensils, bug repellant and sunscreen, activities like games, books, balls or a kite. If you’re a wine lover, be sure to pack holders for your bottle and wine glasses. Wine glass holders, like these from PicnicFun.com are a must-have to keep from spilling your wine.

Plan the meal — Finger foods are best, but not essential. Picnic food should be refreshing and low-maintenance. Keep it simple with a cheese and fruit platter to accompany your favorite wine, or plan a full meal. Let Take Away Chef make it even easier. Check out our menu of perfect picnic meals, including homemade casseroles or chicken enchiladas.

No matter the occasion, keep this one thing in mind: picnics are a time to relax and enjoy the weather in the company of your favorite people. Don’t let planning a picnic stress you out. Keep it casual and fun, and you’re sure to have a great time.

Spring is here – Tips for planning a spring outdoor dinner party

Posted on: March 20th, 2012

Winter is officially over and there’s one thing that means – spring is here! This time of the year is our favorite time of the year to be outside. The summer heat hasn’t quite hit yet – these temperatures are perfect for an outdoor dinner party.

Dinner parties are great for celebrating monumental life events like birthdays, engagements, new babies and graduations. But an outdoor dinner party is also a great way to spend a spring evening with the ones you love, whether or not you have a special occasion to celebrate.

Want to plan a spring dinner party? Here are a few tips to get you started:

Plan the space. Outdoor living spaces and dining areas are becoming more and more popular at residences, and these are ideal for outdoor parties. If, however, you do not have an outdoor living space for your party, consider renting a party tent, tables and chairs. In the summer heat, it is important to provide shade, and if possible, fans or misters to keep your guests cool. Always have a backup plan if the weather foils your plan to host your party outdoors.

Decorations. Brighten up your outdoor space with hanging lanterns and candles. Citronella candles are perfect for outdoor parties, as they help keep mosquitoes and other unwanted guests at bay.  If you have an outdoor fire pit or chiminea, light it up! The light from the fire of a chiminea or even the flickering flame of a candle will add intimacy, romance and warmth to your party.

The menu. In Texas, the first thing most people think when they think outdoors dining is a cookout. Save the burgers and corn on the cob for your tailgating party this fall. Keep things casual at your spring dinner party with a family style dinner. Any of our Take Away Chef gourmet casseroles will be a hit with your guests. Go fancy and plan a three-course meal for your guests, with an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Our event-catering menu has an array of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres like stuffed mushrooms, skewered beef, chicken, pork or shrimp, finger sandwiches and smoked salmon stuffed endive, as well as entrees, dips and spreads and desserts.

With a spring outdoor dinner party, think fresh and healthy. All of the S&S Catering menu options are homemade from the freshest ingredients. No matter the size of your dinner party, give us a call at 214-351-6888 and we’ll be happy to offer suggestions and help plan the menu for a night you and your guests will remember.