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Pair Your Favorite Winter Foods with the Right Beer


Winter Beer Pairings

Some of you may be well aware that wine isn’t the only beverage that pairs wonderfully with food. And some of you may be surprised to discover that beer also serves to greatly enhance a meal.

Whether you’re a veteran or novice when it comes to beer and food pairings, you’re sure to appreciate the tips and suggestions below for pairing delicious winter foods with the right beer.

Tips for Pairing Beer and Food

When the cold weather moves in, strong beers like barley wines, imperial stouts and monk-made Belgian ales are excellent choices for pairing with both savory, hearty dishes and sweet desserts. As a general guideline, you’ll want to determine if the beer and food flavors will complement or contrast one another. Then balance the intensity of both the beer and food.

Here are some additional tips to help you come up with the perfect pairing:

  • Sour beers work well with fatty cheeses

  • Hoppy beers tend to make foods seem spicier

  • Darker beers typically pair well with rich, heavy meals

  • Complementary flavors work well together. For example, brown ales/darker ales with roasted flavors go well with grilled foods that have similar roasted or smoked flavors.

  • Contrasting flavors also work well together, such as a sweet stout with a salty oyster dish.

  • It’s very important to match the intensity of the beer with that of the food. Otherwise, one will end up overwhelming the other.

Great Beer and Food Pairing Suggestions for Winter

Try some of these winter beer and food pairings, recommended by Epicurious.

  • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale pairs well with blue cheese or a nutty pastry, like pecan pie. Contrary to its name, this barley “wine” doesn’t contain any grapes. However, it does have an elevated alcohol content, making it a strong and warming ale that’s perfect for winter.

  • Brauerei Aying Ayinger Celebrator, with flavors of cocoa, dark fruit, and brown sugar, pairs beautifully with roasted pork and chocolate desserts. This strong, malt-sweet lager was originally developed by German monks for consumption during Lent.

  • Stone Brewing Co. Imperial Russian Stout has flavors of coffee, anise, and cocoa, making it a great partner for brownies and other fudgy desserts, as well as duck, steak, and cream sauces.

Try out one or more of these pairings – or come up with your own – and let us know your thoughts! If you have any other tips for winter beer and food pairings, we’d love to hear them.

Top Fall Wedding Ideas


Fall Wedding Ideas | Blue Plate Catering

With the weather often being more comfortable in the fall than in summer, and the beautiful fall foliage that provides the perfect backdrop for outdoor weddings and pictures, it’s no wonder that fall is increasingly becoming the season of choice for weddings.

If you’re planning a fall wedding, get some inspiration from the fall wedding ideas below:

  • Start with a menu that is seasonally inspired. Fall foods provide comfort while taking advantage of the bounty of garden fare that is available. Think of incorporating meats with paired sauces, creamy soups and bisques, and fresh, garden-inspired fare. Add popular fall pies to your dessert selection such as the classic apple pie or a pie featuring your favorite berry.


  • Feature a special autumn drinks menu that includes beverages like apple cider mimosas, maple bourbon cocktails, hot toddies, and hot spiked ciders, as well as an array of flavored coffees for after dinner. Our “My Favorite Godfather”  with amaro, scotch and chocolate bitters is the perfect example of creatively layering fall flavors into a unique cocktail experience.
Godfather Cocktail | Blue Plate Catering

Blue Plate Catering

  • Choose rich fall colors to use throughout your décor, such as brick, dark green, cranberry, and charcoal gray to add depth to your wedding décor. Deep jewel tones of amber, emerald, sapphire, and garnet create an exceptionally elegant atmosphere. And, if it suits your style or theme, don’t be afraid to incorporate unanticipated fall colors like light or hot pink.


  • Take advantage of the gorgeous scenery and use elements provided by nature in your décor, including twigs, leaves, and flowers. For a lovely color and texture contrast, add fall leaves to your bouquet. Or place a green garland in an entryway for the ceremony for guests to enjoy upon entering.
Tablescapes | Blue Plate Catering

Amy Aiello Photography

  • For a truly romantic fall setting, accent main colors like merlot and rust with shades of cream. Instead of trying to precisely match colors, experiment with different tones and shades within your palette to attain a more authentic look and feel.


  • Create an assorted floral tablescape by grouping flowers, such as mustard-yellow ranunculus and pink roses, in clusters. Displayed in clear vases of various heights and sizes, this visual arrangement is colorful, romantic, and dreamy.


  • Wheat is another fantastic fall themed wedding decoration option. Create bundles of wheat to use for centerpieces or incorporate wheat into your bouquet — or both! If using in a bouquet, stems of wheat look especially lovely when added to cream and soft pink colored roses. Wrap in burlap, and you have an ideal fall wedding bouquet.


When it comes to fall weddings, there is an abundance of creative ideas from seasonally-inspired menus to unique tablescapes to choose from. Using these ideas to spark your imagination, be sure that, in the end, your personal style, taste, and personality shines through!


Find more inspiration at our Wedding Inspiration Pinterest Board!

Tailgate Food Ideas You’ll Love


With football season in full swing, there will be a lot of tailgating taking place, and when it comes to creating a great tailgating menu, variety and ease are the name of the game. whether you’re planning on doing some traditional pre-game tailgating outdoors, or hosting a party in your home, we’ve rounded up some easy and tasty foods that are perfectly suited for such an event.

Chicago Hot Dogs | Blue Plate Catering

Chicago-Style Dogs

Nothing says “authentic Chicago tailgate” like the classic Chicago dog. Allow your guests to create their own hotdog by lining out all the essential ingredients: yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet relish, pickle spears, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers, celery salt, and of course, the poppy seed bun. This is a must for Chicago tailgaters and hot dog lovers alike.



Chili has long been a popular dish for any tailgating party. Not only is it a delicious, satisfying dish, but it’s also easy to make and can be prepared in advance and reheated when needed.


Potato Salad

Potato salad is another convenient food that can be prepared ahead of time and, with so many variations on this classic side dish, you can make your own signature version. Look to add seasonal ingredients to change things up or go for a classic version.



Quesadillas are always great to serve a crowd and a tailgate is no exception. The best part about quesadillas are the variety of combinations you can come up with. Stay traditional with cheese, veggies, and grilled chicken or get creative and incorporate some of your favorite ingredients. Feeling adventurous? Try these caramelized onion and blue cheese quesadillas.


Chicken Wings

Chicken wings, which can be grilled or baked in the oven are one of the top finger foods around. To provide variety to your guests, there are plenty of tasty sauces you can marinade them in such as buffalo sauce, homemade barbecue sauce, honey barbecue, and more. Try these four delicious options for drizzles for your next tailgate party.


Vegetables and Dip

Vegetables and dip are always a crowd favorite and are good to have on hand for vegetarians or those with dietary restrictions. Slice up some fresh, seasonal vegetables for a snack or to have with the main fare. To liven them up, be sure to have some dips such as hummus and spinach dip to accompany them.



Don’t forget about dessert! These grab-and-go Fried Pies and S’mores Cookie Bars would be a sweet way to end your tailgating party.


Serve a variety of food, including some of the suggestions above, and you’ll have something to please all palates. Preparation is key, so make as much as you can in advance and you’ll have a successful tailgating party that you’ll be able to enjoy right alongside everyone else.

Great Grilling Tips & A Bonus BBQ Sauce Recipe!


With summer in full swing, you’re probably doing a lot of grilling for yourself and your loved ones, or you’re wishing you were grilling a lot more. Whichever category you fall into, we’ve got a few great grilling tips that will help you get the most out of your grill throughout the rest of the season.

Grilling Tips | Blue Plate Chicago

Below are our top three grilling tips. Incorporate these the next time you grill and you’re in for some mouth-watering grilled fare.

As an added bonus, we’ve provided an absolutely amazing BBQ sauce recipe as well!

  1. Invest a small amount of money in a meat thermometer and reap the rewards of perfectly grilled meats.

For most people, it’s difficult to tell whether or not meat is done just by touching it. Using a meat thermometer allows you to accurately check the internal temperature of meat so you can be confident about when it is actually ready. This one little tool will save you a lot of anxiety about serving meats under or overcooked.


  1. Avoid the temptation to flatten meats and squeeze them.

Whenever you flatten and squeeze meat, you’re squeezing out the fat. And along with the fat, you’re squeezing out delicious flavor and moisture – two important components you don’t want your meats to be missing.


  1. After cooking, set meat aside for about 5 to 15 minutes to rest before slicing it.

Letting meat sit untouched after cooking allows the juices to redistribute and ensures the meat remains juicy. Bigger pieces of meat will need more time to rest than smaller ones.


The Best BBQ Sauce

Ready for a truly amazing BBQ sauce? Check out our Blue Plate Summer Recipe card to learn how to make our very own BBQ Sauce!


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tbs butter
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onioin powder
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper


In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, molasses, liquid smoke and butter. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low, and simmer for up to 20 minutes. For thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, less time is needed. Sauce can also be thinned using a bit of water if necessary.

This BBQ sauce is one we’re sure you’ll be using over and over again with various grilled foods, so you’ll want to keep it handy.

Let us know your thoughts once you’ve tried our BBQ Sauce. We think you’re going to love it!

6 No-Bake Summer Desserts


no-bake desserts - Blue Plate CateringWhen you’re craving something sweet in the summer, the last thing you want to do on a hot day is bake. That’s what makes no-bake summer desserts a dream come true – you get your dessert fix without having to turn your oven on!

We’ve rounded up some of the yummiest no-bake desserts that feature fresh fruits. You’ll find these to be truly perfect summertime treats.


  1. Semifreddo with Honeyed Peaches

Semifreddo, a partially frozen Italian dessert with the texture of frozen mousse, is both delicious and refreshing. We love this version that incorporates the wonderfully complimentary flavors of pistachios, peaches, and honey.


  1. No-Bake Strawberry Chocolate Tart

No-Bake Strawberry Chocolate Tarts not only make for a gorgeous dessert, but super simple to make. And it’s quick too, taking just 15 minutes from start to finish! Made with a crispy Oreo crust, a soft chocolate ganache, and topped with fresh strawberries, this is one dessert that’s sure to please everyone.


  1. Chocolate-Raspberry Trifle

Trifles are traditional English desserts that are typically made with layers of cake, jam or jelly, custard, and then topped with whipped cream. These popular desserts allow for a lot of creativity, with an endless amount of opportunities to create different versions.

This Chocolate-Raspberry Trifle recipe uses slices of store-bought pound cake drizzled with a mix of coffee and liqueur, chocolate pudding, chocolate shavings, fresh raspberries, and homemade whipped cream. With an ingredient list like that, this dessert will not disappoint!


  1. Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries

While fresh strawberries are delicious on their own, these Cheesecake-Stuffed Strawberries really bring this fruit up a few notches, turning strawberries into a decadent treat!

Fill fresh strawberries with an easy (read: no-bake) cheesecake filling and you have an impressive little dessert.


  1. No-Bake Raspberry Cheesecake Pots

Grab a few glass jars and get ready to make some super creamy No-Bake Raspberry Cheesecake Pots. These little gems are layered with graham cracker crumbs, cheesecake batter, fresh raspberries, and raspberry jam. Alternating the red layers with the cheesecake batter creates a lovely presentation, making these great for serving at a dinner party or other gathering.


  1. No-Bake Mascarpone Fruit Tarts

These colorful No-Bake Mascarpone Fruit Tarts are an excellent choice when you want to make an elegant and pretty dessert without having to fuss – or for anytime you just want a special treat!

In these tarts, a homemade graham cracker crust combines with a smooth and creamy mascarpone cheese filling, which is then topped off with a mix of fresh berries…need we say more?