My Giant List of Smorgasbord Ideas

Tiffany Hargrave

If you follow my personal or professional social media, you'll know that my family is a little bit obsessed with a smorgasbord style of eating lately. We love nothing more than wandering around a store, picking out various items to build our meal, asking our toddler what he would like to add, and coming up with new combinations. Sometimes we theme our spread- breakfast style, Italian flavors, desserts. Sometimes we just do a rotisserie chicken and add some random cheeses and fruits (and of course, wine) for a quick meal. It's a meal we always enjoy and take our time with.

If you aren't familiar with this type of meal, smorgasbord is a Scandinavian style of eating, where many different hot and cold foods are served buffet style for people to choose from. It's usually a bit of this and that- meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies, etc. You can read more about the culture and origins here

Here are just a few reasons I love eating this way:

+ Our tot actually eats. He is in such a picky phase, and this style seems to really take the pressure off. He gets to make his own plate, and can have as little ore as much as he wants of whatever is served. Does he pick veggies? Nah, never. But we have an enjoyable meal with no fuss and clean plates. 

+ It can be fancy, with more preparation, or a super quick, thrown together meal- either way, it looks and tastes great. 

+ It's perfect for busy weeks when you don't want to do a lot of meal planning or cooking. You could actually do one day of chopping and prep and eat like this for several days in a row- AWESOME way to avoid takeout. 

+ It is IDEAL for get togethers with friends. There is very little meal coordination that has to happen- people can kind of bring whatever and add it to a tray. It also allows you to prep ahead and keep it low key. When you don't have to spend too much time in your kitchen, you can spend more time with your guests.  

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These smorgasbord books are on my wishlist!



A little peek at our recent dinner with friends...

We made beautiful bacon wrapped, goat cheese stuffed dates, which I first read about in Shauna Niequist's book, Bread and Wine. This is a gorgeous book full of hospitality and faith and food and is SUCH an enjoyable read. 

We also served pork tenderloin & caramelized onions with sliced baguette, inspired by Antoni on Netflix's new reboot of Queer Eye. (A MUST watch, in my opinion! So great, and packed with simple and achievable food ideas.) 

If you're having friends over, Empty Nest Home Goods' silverware tags and place setting cards are a perfect dinner party touch! You can grab both things in the Etsy shop

For weeknight dinners, we often do things like rotisserie chicken, summer sausage, cheese, crackers, tomatoes, basil, fruits and bread. Anything you can grab easily at the grocery store for a quick meal, arranged on trays to bring some fun and thoughtfulness to the table. Don't forget the wine! 


Even more ideas for creating your meal!

(I'll keep adding to this as we come up with new ideas!)


lunchmeat // roasted meat, like chicken, pork, beef, etc. // sausages // cured meats // smoked fish // meatballs // boiled eggs // mini quiche // nuts


French bread // croissants // flatbread // naan // crackers // pretzels // breadsticks 


sliced cheese // spreadable cheese // fondue cheese

 Spreads & Dips

jellies and jams // chutney // flavored butters // hummus // guacamole // bruschetta 

 Fruits & Veggies

dried fruits // berries // grapes // grilled peaches // mango // dates // figs //  tomatoes // radish slices // grilled squash slices 


olives // pickles // artichoke hearts // caramelized onions // roasted garlic // fresh herbs // microgreens // oil & vinegar // honey // flavored salts 


    Some must-haves for the perfect smorgasbord night:

    Cute appetizer sized plates!
    Of course, platters for your food display! 

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