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 Lunch Menu Ideas
Lunch Menu Ideas
1000s of great lunch recipes and menu ideas

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Getting Creative: Top Ten Plating Ideas

We eat with our eyes before we even take our first bite of a meal, that's why the art of culinary presentation, or plating, is so important when you're trying to make a meal special.  Plating like a pro is easier than you might think.  Just start with these 10 easy tricks, and you'll be on your way to a memorable meal.AK Home Cooking Solutions

  1) Use an unexpected vessel. Rather than putting everything on a plate, consider using shallow bowls for entrees, or coffee mugs and wine glasses for desserts.

  • Create a pretty plate for Creamy Almond Chicken.  Slice the cooked chicken breast into long strips, spoon the rice into a shallow bowl, then top with the chicken slices and sauce.

  2) Break up the monotony of a one-level presentation by filling a small bowl with the side dish or sauce, then setting it directly onto the plate. For example:

  • When serving chicken and rice, pour the sauce in individual bowls or ramekins and serve directly on each plate so guests can top their chicken with sauce.

  • For stir-frys, serve rice on the side in a small bowl.

  3) Deconstruct rather than construct. For example:

  • Instead of making strawberry shortcake with biscuits, whipped cream and berries, serve "fingers" of toasted pound cake with individual bowls of whipped cream and warm strawberries in sauce. Guests can dunk the cake into the berries and cream as they like.

  4) Fresh Bread Ideas. If dinner calls for bread, consider breadsticks served in a glass, pitcher or even a vase. Or wrap two fresh-from-the-oven breadsticks in a napkin and tuck a sprig of fresh rosemary inside. Aside from being pretty, the rosemary will infuse the warm bread with delicious flavor.

  5) Layer your Flavors. Use the side dish or vegetable as a "bed" for your meat, placing the entree on top of rice, mashed potatoes, cooked spinach, or even cold salads.

  6) Chunk it. Present meat in different ways. For example:

  • Dress up chicken breast by cutting it into chunks and threading onto skewers before cooking.

  • Instead of slicing roast pork tenderloin into thin slices, cut thicker chunks. Serve two chunks rather than several slices.

  7) Sticky Rice. Rice that's a little sticky is perfect for shaping. Press it into greased cups, rings, or molds, then turn out onto serving plates for fun shapes.

  • Shape the rice for easy-to-make Citrus Chicken and Rice in small cups and turn out onto plates.

  8) Pick Pasta. Pasta is always a great side dish substitute. Instead of opting for a potato- or rice-based side dish, think pasta.

  9) Swap the Sauce. The sauce doesn't have to be the last thing on the plate - how about putting it down first? This not only showcases the entree, but it creates visual contrast between the meat and the sauce.

  • Pork Chops with Mustard Onion Gravy is as good as it gets. Bring it up a notch by spooning the gravy on the plate first so it won't mask the mouthwatering pork chops.

 10) Build it Up. Whenever possible, create height on the plate. For example:

  • Spoon sauce down first, then top with a mound of mashed potatoes. Lean slices of meat against potatoes, then finally, add vegetables.

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