Double duty starters
Never underestimate the value of a starter. A great first bite will ensure everything gets off to a good start and that people’s appetites are ready for the main course. Sometimes, though, they pull double duty. In more than one party, what would normally be a starter gets pressed into entrée duty or is served to kids as their main course. These are double duty starters and they are a great tool in a party thrower’s repertoire.
Cheese boards are the original double duty starters. Originally, guests could expect to nibble on cheese while waiting for guests to arrive or as an early course. Now, however, cheese selections are finding their way into desserts, especially when paired with fruit, honey, and preserves.
Chicken fingers and wings aren’t necessarily the most refined food in the world, but they’re fun to serve as finger foods at a party because they’re fried (who doesn’t love fried) and who counts calories at a party? Chicken fingers are also good to have around when the guest list includes children because most kids will eat them and that means there won’t be hungry, cranky children on the loose.
Ravioli is a dish that can be either a starter or a main course. On one hand, many Italian restaurants serve a ravioli platter as dinner, but on the other, they will also serve one or two larger hand-crafted ravioli in a sauce as a starter. Similarly, you can choose what you want to do with your ravioli. You can make them large and serve them in individual plates for an opener or you can serve a large plate of them as a meal.
Pizza is another dish that gravitates between starter and main, especially at party time. For a quick starter, nothing beats rolling out some store bought dough and adding your favorite sauce and toppings. Of course, you can buy a lot of dough and create good main courses, too, especially for children (who love pizza) and for vegetarians who want something satisfying without meat.
Shredded pork tacos
Shredded pork tacos (or burritos), pulled pork sandwiches or anything with slow cooked pork make the list of double duty starters because they feature an ingredient that can be used twice. A large amount of pork can be slow cooked and then served in several ways over different courses. For instance, pork tacos can be the starter and pork ragu on pasta as the main or pork sandwiches as a starter and pork stir fry as the main.