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Best Ways to Make Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner Easier


Make Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner Easier

For those of you who have been appointed (whether voluntarily or otherwise) with the task of hosting Thanksgiving dinner, take a deep breath. It doesn’t have to be as stressful and full of pressure as it may seem to be. With some good planning and the right preparation, it may even be fun!

So, instead of getting frenzied and panicking, read some of our tips for making hosting Thanksgiving dinner easier…and enjoyable.

Focus on the Meaning of the Holiday


Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks and being grateful for what we have, including our friends and family members – some of those very people you’ll be sharing this holiday with. Instead of focusing on making every little detail perfect, turn your focus to spending quality time with those who will be at your dinner table.

So forego making an elaborate table centerpiece from scratch, and opt for a simple table setting that allows the people around the table, rather than the décor, to take center stage.


Keep the Menu Simple


With all the exciting recipes you can find just by doing an Internet search or looking through some magazines, there’s no doubt you have a whole list of “fabulous” new recipes that are on your “must try” list. That’s all well and good, but they’ll have to wait until after Thanksgiving. Stick with what you know and, if you absolutely must, try one new recipe – two at most.


Ask for Help


Whatever you do, don’t attempt to prepare the entire Thanksgiving meal on your own – unless you really want the stress and pressure of it all! To make it easier on yourself, ask guests if they’d be willing to bring an appetizer, side dish, dessert, or beverage – or have some items catered (wink wink).


Advanced Preparation is Your Friend


Take the time to prepare as much as you can in advance: set your table the night before and include a few dishes on the menu that can be made in advance so you’re not making too much on Thanksgiving.

Determine which dishes will need the oven, which ones will cook on the stove, and which ones may require chilling. If you figure out the timing and make a schedule to follow, you’ll avoid the headache that comes along with having different parts of the meal being done at drastically different times.

It can also help to have some finger foods for guests to munch on when they first arrive. This serves two purposes: 1) It gives guests the opportunity to settle in and mingle, and 2) It gives you some time to finish up any last minute preparations in peace. Genius!


Enjoy the Day


Remember that your goal is to do whatever you can to relax and enjoy your guests and the holiday. That’s the whole point – not to have the most beautifully decorated home at the expense of your sanity.

If you’d like to ease some of the pressure of hosting Thanksgiving dinner and have some fabulous catering help, contact us today.

Happy Thanksgiving from Blue Plate!

Fun Foods for Halloween


Halloween is a holiday many of us look forward to every year, with decorating, dressing up, and getting creative in the kitchen all being part of the festivities. If you’re hosting a Halloween party – or looking to make some fun holiday treats to delight your family – we’ve selected a few of our favorite
Halloween food ideas to inspire you.

Blue Plate Chicago Halloween Treats
These foods are healthy, tasty, and cute (not creepy), making them appealing for all ages. And they’re simple to prepare (culinary arts degrees not required), so you can remain stress-free and enjoy making them.

  • Festive Sandwiches – Use seasonal cookie cutters to turn everyday sandwiches into cute little pumpkins, ghosts, bats – whatever Halloween-related shapes you have on hand.


  • Mummy Pizzas – Cut English muffins in half, spread halves with pizza sauce, tear string cheese into thin strips to use as “mummy wrappings”, and use two olive
    slices on each pizza for eyes. Bake in oven on 350 degrees F for about 7-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted.


  • Cheesy Brooms – All you need are mini pretzel sticks and cheese sticks to make adorable little broomsticks. Cut each individual string cheese into thirds, and spread
    each third into strands to make your broomstick ends. Carefully stick a pretzel into the solid end of the cheese and you have a healthy broomstick


  • Boo Bananas – Make banana ghosts by peeling bananas, cutting them in half, and placing them cut side down. Press pointed ends of mini chocolate chips into the banana for eyes and do the same with one regular size chocolate chip for the ghost’s mouth.


  • Jackentines – Using a black marker, draw jack-o-lantern faces on clementines and arrange in a bowl or on a dish. That’s about as is simple as it can get!


  • Candy Corn Fruit  – In individual glass dishes, layer pineapple chunks, then mandarin oranges or clementines, and top with whipped cream.
    • For a fruit plate, use a white serving platter and place the pineapple chunks at the bottom, the mandarin oranges or clementines in the middle, and sliced bananas at the top for the “white” candy corn layer.


  • Spooky Shakes – For ghost milkshakes, cut out ghost faces from black construction paper and tape the pieces to clear glasses. Fill glasses with vanilla milkshake. This is also a great idea for dressing up a plain glass of milk.
    • For jack-o-lantern milkshakes, cut jack-o-lantern faces out of black construction paper and tape the pieces onto clear glasses. Fill with orange milkshake (blend milk and orange sherbert, or simply add orange food coloring to a vanilla milkshake). You can keep it even simpler by just pouring orange juice into the glass.


Happy Halloween from Blue Plate! If you’d like to add some catered foods to your Halloween party menu, contact us today. We’d love to help you celebrate!

Chicago Venue Spotlight: tesori



Blue Plate is fortunate to continuously partner with numerous fabulous venues that call Chicago home. Chicago has so many varied offerings and, if you’re planning a wedding or other type of celebration, you have a truly marvelous selection to choose from.

The first of our Spotlight Posts highlights the restaurant and private event space, tesori.
tesori chicago venue

Perfect Location and Classy Style
tesori is a modern, Italian-inspired restaurant where the focus is on creating guest experiences with an emphasis on sharing and interacting. Located in the heart of downtown, tesori is walking distance from The Art Institute of Chicago, Grant Park, and The Chicago Theatre. Its prime location, combined with a chic, friendly ambience and wonderfully delicious food, make tesori a perfect place to book an intimate dinner, cocktail reception, or other festive gathering.

Diverse Event Accommodations
tesori hosts various types of private events, for which pre-set menu options are available. However, the culinary team is always happy to design custom menus for any event.

There are several different options for accommodations, depending on your specific needs:

  • A charming glass-walled private dining room seats up to 45 and can hold 75 for a reception. The glass provides an airy, open feel, while wood tables make the space warm and welcoming. If more privacy is desired, there are curtains that can be closed.
  • The main dining room seats up to 180 and can hold 400 for a reception.
  • The lounge seats 60, as well as an additional 12 at the bar, while being able to hold 100 for a reception.
  • In season, there is also a lovely patio area for those who prefer to dine alfresco.

tesori chicagoAdditionally, tesori partners with the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Center to offer special events in the facility’s two distinct private spaces.

Be sure to check tesori out when looking for a place to dine or a fabulous venue for your next event. We’re confident you’ll love it just as much as we do!


Bank of America Chicago Marathon Event


Every year, Blue Plate caters the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. We enjoy being a part of this highly energetic event, which will take place on Sunday, October 11.

Event History
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has been held annually in the fall since 1977. This year marks the 28th anniversary of the race.

The Chicago Marathon is one of the six World Marathon Majors, alongside the Boston, New York, London, Berlin, and Tokyo Marathons. While the Chicago Marathon has historically always been one of the largest road race marathons in the world, it has experienced an outstanding increase in the number of runners coming out to race since the very first race back in 1977, which had over 4,000 runners. Now the race is limited to 45,000 runners – a cap that is typically reached months prior to race day.

blue plate chicago marathonRace Qualifications
Exceptions to the limited registration of 45,000 runners are made for elite runners and charity representatives. And only runners who finish within six and a half hours are officially timed.

In order to participate in the marathon, runners either need to register after meeting the standard qualifying time or being selected through a general lottery.

running chicago marathon

The Course
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is known for being fast and flat, with many runners loving the absence of any notable hills. The course starts in Grant Park by Lake Michigan and goes through various neighborhoods within northern Chicago, leading all the way to the south side, then heading back to Grant Park. Marathoners enjoy taking in the scenic route, filled with the beautiful colors of autumn, and seeing diverse areas of the city.

Being such a popular event, the streets of Chicago become jam-packed with spectators every year – approximately 1.5 million – adding even more energy and excitement for everyone. Along the entire route, these enthusiastic spectators create a strong community of support and encouragement, cheering runners on.

blue plate catering tent

If you’re running the marathon, or know someone who is, be sure to read our post about the best foods to eat on race day. Blue Plate Catering will be serving food to more than 3,950 marathon runners and attendees, as we have done for the last 20 years. With a unique menu that celebrates vibrant Chicago neighborhoods, we’ll have over 300 employees working the event. Hope to see you there!

For additional details about the marathon, visit the event website.


ITU World Triathlon Grand Final & World Championships


Blue Plate to Cater ITU World Triathlon Grand Final and World Championships in Chicago

chicago triathlon

We’re excited to announce that Blue Plate will be doing hospitality and sponsor catering for the 2015 International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Grand Final and World Championships. Chicago will be hosting this fabulous event from September 15-19, 2015.

Over the course of this four-day event, Chicago will welcome over 6,500 of the world’s top triathletes, who will be competing for world titles. The event will feature elite races, an aquathon, as well as top-flight sprint and Olympic-distance races. This is a great event to be a part of, as Chicago has never hosted this sporting event and it’s a qualifying event for the 2016 Olympics!

Blue Plate is looking forward to this opportunity to provide delicious and nutritious food for runners, athletes and spectators. Come out and cheer for your favorite athletes and, while you’re there, don’t forget to stop by our tents to say “hello” and fuel up.

Visit for more details about the event.