A Make-Ahead Party Perfect for Sunday Afternoon

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My hubby recently started teaching Children's Church on Sundays at 9:00 am, and I've been helping him. This means we are often out the door by 8:30 am, and then we actually attend our own church service at 11 am. That means, we often don't get home until after 12:30 p.m.

Party Table

Normally this is not a big deal—we like how our Sunday mornings are spent! But the timing can add some extra stress if we decide to host a party, shower, or other get-together on Sunday afternoon.

I decided I needed to develop a menu for days like these that I can make entirely the day before. That way I eliminate virtually all of my "same day" preparation and can enjoy my party.

Party Table Closer Up

I chose a basic sandwich for the entree. Soft and sweet croissants are my favorite, and I don't often buy or make them, so having them seems like a special treat.

I offer two meats: A sun-dried tomato-coated turkey, and a honey-baked ham. It's easy to shred up lettuce and slice a tomato just before I serving.

Sliced meat

I make these simple sandwiches a little more sophisticated by adding a few compound butters for the guests. I love how goodlifeeats really breaks down what a compound butter is and how to make one. And this Sun-dried Tomato Butter from BevCooks makes my mouth water! It would pair perfectly with the sun-dried tomato turkey.

If you like a sweeter version, this Cinnamon Honey Butter from Tidymom would make the perfect croissant sandwich snack!

Bacon Avocado Spread

I also made a bacon and avocado spread for the sandwich—it's a tasty and fun addition, and people use it on everything!

Bacon Avocado Spread

2 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 pieces crispy bacon, crumbled
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/8 tsp garlic powder
A pinch of black pepper
Salt to taste

In a medium bowl, combine avocado, onion, lemon juice, pepper, garlic powder, and salt. Using a fork, mash together all ingredients until you have a smooth consistency.

On a cooling rack placed on a cookie sheet, place three pieces of bacon. Bake at 400 for 10-16 minutes. You want the bacon to be crispy. Let bacon cool and then crumble into small pieces.

Mix the bacon in with avocado mixture and transfer to an air-tight container for storage. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the spread and press it down. Place cover on airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

The spread will stay good for up to three days. You can garnish with bacon bits or diced tomato.

Minnesota Caviar

Next I made a Texas Caviar, or Black Bean Salsa, as my hubby calls it. I have pretty particular taste, so I really customized this recipe to what our family likes.

Minnesota Caviar (an adaptation of Texas Caviar)

1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 orange pepper, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 15oz can black beans (drained)
1 (11-15oz) can white corn (drained)
1 15oz can yellow corn (drained)
1 small zucchini, peeled and finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro
1 container cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
Up to 1 cup of prepared Italian vinaigrette

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and pour dressing over it all. Mix well and serve. This stays good in an air-tight container for up to a week.

I served it with tortilla chips, but this works great as a topping on most any bread, and even works as a garnish on burgers or hot dogs!

For dessert, I knew I wanted something light, something tasty, and something cake-like.

I can't help it—I love cake.

So, with inspiration from the amazing new book, Desserts in Jars: 50 Sweet Treats That Shine by Shaina Olmanson, I decided to make Angel Food Cake in Jars!

Angel Food cake

I used a box mix because it is so easy to make—simply add water! I then added 1/4 cup of the angel food cake batter to each of the well-greased pint-sized jars. I was able to fill 16 jars with one box of mix.

Bake the jars for about 16 minutes at 350, and remove them when the top is nice and dark. I allowed the cakes to cool right in the jar, as that is how I was serving them.

I left my cakes on the counter uncovered overnight. They remain light, airy, and moist the next day.

Topped angel food cake

To garnish the delightful and fun little cakes, I bought pie fillings. The options are endless...from cherries and strawberries to apricot and key lime.

I might be a little obsessed with blueberry.

Simply open a can and place it in a bowl next too the Angel Food Cakes in jars. The guests can choose which flavor they like best and pour it right over their cake!

And don't forget the whipped cream... Here is my favorite homemade recipe.

The best part about this whole meal? The foods are good for you! The angel food cake is naturally fat free! How sweet is that?

This post is part of the BlogHer Summer Entertaining series, which includes 100 percent editorial content presented by a participating sponsor. Our advertisers do not produce editorial content. This post is made possible by Home Depot and BlogHer.

What are your favorite make-ahead dishes for parties at your house? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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