Party Panache, A Grits Bar

I saw this in the November 2012 Southern Living and KNEW immediately, without question, that we would do this for our annual Christmas Eve lunch.We traditionally do a ham or rib roast, but I wanted to change it up.


We set up the buffet on the kitchen island with a chalkboard announcing the Grits Bar Menu.  This would be a great menu for any season…think of the possibilities…for Easter you could add Baked Ham…for a summer party you could add more grilled seafood…SUCH AN EASY ADAPTABLE IDEA.


The children liked it too!  It was easy to individualize their plates, what a bunch of cuties!

For DD & NG’s Rehearsal Dinner, a casual affair outside on our pool deck on the coast,  we had a Mac & Cheese Bar with assorted toppings, same idea, different base.  The toppings for the Mac & Cheese bar included bacon, roasted green beans, diced tomatoes & scallions, jalapenos. A rice base would be interesting with all kinds of stir fry and Asian dishes…SKY’S THE LIMIT!


There was a flurry of activity in the kitchen the day before Christmas Eve as HHjr, a fab chef himself, helped get everything ready for the next day. We had stuff going on everywhere!


He even got his dad, HH to peel and clean the shrimp.  We tossed them in some marinade and the next morning he put them on skewers so they would be ready for the grill.  Click here for the Grilled Shrimp recipe


This is a great party meal/menu because you can do so much ahead!


HHjr got the pork butt ready for grilling. He cooked it the day before, and pulled it.  Before serving it just required a short stint in a covered casserole to warm.  We served BBQ sauce on the side.


I made the grits the day before too.


The asparagus got trimmed and rinsed and put on a foil lined baking sheet with the sliced mushrooms, a little drizzle of Olive oil and salt, and 20 minutes in the oven and they were perfect for serving. Roasted vegetables make a great topping choice and are also simple to prepare right before serving, with very little prep time.


I cooked the bacon in batches on a parchment lined baking pan the morning of the party.  Baking bacon requires very little supervision and you can do many other things while it is cooking. When it was done it went straight to a bowl on the buffet until serving time.


The morning of the party DD arrived early and made thisfabulous saladClick here for the recipe


It was full of spinach, romaine, fresh strawberries & oranges, dried cherries and walnuts.  YUM!


We had some appetizers to keep everyone happy during a round of Bloody Mary’s and Cranberry Mimosas. This tortilla tree was a big hit.   The tortillas were spread with homemade pimento cheese, a little sour cream, chopped red pepper and scallion.  Then they were tightly rolled and sealed in saran overnight.  The next day I sliced them and made the slices into a tower atop fresh spinach leaves. I wanted to sprinkle the whole thing with chopped parsley but forgot to buy it, whoops. You can see the rest of the appetizers by clicking here


Dinner was ready! I apologize for lack of photos of the finished food…it was all pretty crazy and things happened fast at serving time…I promise I am going to do another version of this soon and take LOTS of photos!

Let me know if you try this, and how it turns out! Everyone is still talking about it!

The painted tableware is from JMdesigns Gallery

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4 Responses to “Party Panache, A Grits Bar”
  1. lulu says:

    You can’t beat grits! When my daughter got married we had a grits bar, and it was the hit of the reception. If you are crazy about grits, you might check out my grits soufflé which you can find by searching my posts. Happy New Year.

  2. Babs says:

    What a great idea! I love grits in any form. It’s so nice that a lot of the ingredients can be done ahead. Thanks for the great idea.

  3. Those kids are so cute! Great party and thanks for all the ideas and tips.

    I adore grits. I think I will copy your idea next family gathering.

  4. Holly says:

    Awesome Jenna! I love the grits bar idea and your buffet was fantastic! Hope you are having a great week.

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