When an email goes around my hood asking friends to bring a plate to a gathering, my heart sinks. Mostly because I just know I won’t be the first to get in there and bags the super-easy-just-unwrapped-the-cheese-and-whacked-it-on-a-plate-with-some-crackers option. That honour always goes to my quick-off-the-mark pal, Ana. Damn her.
But, in the spirit of friendship and the futility of cheese-plate envy, I decided to find some other equally easy ways to fill the ‘bring a plate’ brief without breaking a sweat in the kitchen. Here are 30 of them. All simple, all delicious and all a darn sight more impressive than cheese. Take that, girlfriend.
1. Chicken nuggets
Tender chunks of chicken breast in a crispy crumb coating, these are everyone’s favourite snack. Serve with a dipping bowl of ketchup, barbecue sauce or sweet chilli for extra yum.
- Take a plate of these Delicious chicken nuggets.
2. Snazzy sausage rolls
These moist sausage rolls have a buttery pastry casing and are full of veggies to offset any guilt factor as you eat your own body weight in them. Sorta.
- Bake a batch of these Sausage rolls.
3. Honey soy chicken wings
Make sure there are plenty of napkins to go around because you’ll need them with these sticky, sweet and decidedly more-ish chicken wings. Yummo!
- Try this easy recipe for Honey soy chicken wings.
4. Spring rolls
These crispy spring rolls are surprisingly simple to make and so good paired with soy sauce. Add some fresh chilli to the soy for a really punchy dipping sauce.
- Up the game in ‘bring a plate’ ideas with these Homemade spring rolls.
5. Ham and pineapple pizza muffins
These tasty mini pizzas are the work of minutes thanks to their muffin bases. No need for kneading here (see what I did there?). Add ham and pineapple for a teeny-tiny version of your favourite Hawaiian take-out.
- Find the recipe for these Ham and pineapple pizza muffins here.
6. Cheese puffs
Gloriously buttery bites of cheese – need I say more? This divine recipe is perfect for a drinks party and only has four ingredients so it’s great for last-minute bring-a-plate panics.
- Whip up a batch of these Cheese puffs with this recipe.
7. Mini lamb burgers
Succulent lamb burgers topped with mozzarella and salad in a soft bun. Their miniature status means that one is never enough.
- Watch these Mini lamb burgers go in seconds. You’ll find the recipe here.
8. Mini chicken and cheese quiches
What’s a ‘bring a plate’ invitation without someone bringing quiches? Make these the star of the show thanks to their melt-in-the-mouth pastry and tempting chicken and cheese filling.
- Try baking a tray of these Mini chicken and cheese quiches.
9. Mini pasties
What’s better than a pastie? Why, a mini pastie, of course! Then there’s every excuse to pop one, two or even three in your mouth (not all at once though – decorum, please). It would be a crime not to.
- Be a welcome guest with a plate of these tasty mini pasties.
10. Marshmallow bubble slice
These homemade versions of LCM bars make a perfect party plate treat for big kids and small. A chewy, crispy slice that’s a winner every time.
- Find the recipe for this Marshmallow bubble slice here.
11. Lolly slice
Milo, Maltesers and mini marshmallows? There’s only one way to describe this mix and that’s magnificent!
- Watch this Yummy lolly slice disappear as soon as you set the plate down.
12. 3-in-1 biscuits
I do so love a hard-working recipe and this is one of them. One biscuit dough and three ways to make them. Splendid!
- Make and take these 3-in-1 biscuits for a picture perfect party platter.
13. Homemade doughnuts
At the risk of sounding like Homer Simpson, “Mmm … doughnuts”. Crisp on the outside, fluffy in the middle and all round delicious.
- Get the recipe for Homemade doughnuts here.
14. Mini pavlovas
It’s practically un-Kiwi to not make a pav at least once a year. Fly the flag with a batch of these melt-in-the-mouth mini meringues topped with cream and fruit. Good onya!
- Find this true-blue recipe for Mini pavlovas here.
15. Snow balls
These sweet little balls of bliss are incredibly simple to make and so popular at a party. Coconut-ty, crispy and chewy all at the same time – heaven!
- Make these Snow balls for the next gathering you’re invited to with this recipe.
16. Choc cherry fudge
Homemade fudge is to-die-for. This chocolate version studded with sweet cherries is enough to make you think you have indeed died and gone to heaven.
- Try this easy-peasy Choc cherry fudge recipe.
17. Garden party mini cheesecakes
Mini mouthfuls of cheesecake topped with a pretty fondant flower. Gorgeous!
- Whip up a platter of these oh-so-pretty Garden party mini cheesecakes.
18. Spinach cobb dip
A ’70s favourite that should be revived at every opportunity, this dip comes in its own handy bread container so it’s easy to transport and serve. Win!
- Make this retro Spinach cobb dip with this easy recipe.
19. White bean dip
This creamy, garlicky bean dip is delicious with crudités and crackers. Blitz it up in your blender and you’re good to go.
- Click here for this simple White bean dip recipe.
20. Pumpkin chilli dip
A great way to use up leftover pumpkin from a baked dinner, this colourful dip has a punchy chilli kick.
- Try this Pumpkin chilli dip with the recipe which you’ll find here.
21. Tomato and basil hummus
Tomato and basil are a marriage made in heaven. Make the most of this celestial pairing with this delectable hummus.
- Find the recipe for this Tomato and basil hummus here.
22. Beetroot dip
Vibrant in colour and vibrant in taste, this homemade beetroot dip is so much nicer than its shop-bought cousin. Make it and see.
- Enjoy dipping into this yummy Beetroot dip. You’ll find the recipe here.
23. Basil pesto dip
Wonderful on pasta and just as good as a party dip, you’ll be hard pressed not to double dip!
- Make this Basil pesto dip once and you’ll never go back. Here’s the recipe.
Fun food ideas for the kids
24. Cake pops
Kids love to eat anything on a stick and these cake pops are no exception. Try them and see.
- Find food fun on a stick with this Cake pop recipe.
25. Tic Toc tea cups
Almost too cute to eat. Almost, but not quite. Drink up!
- Try these sweet as Tic Toc tea cups with this recipe.
26. Tiny Teddy cars
Is there anything cuter than a Tiny Teddy driving a mini Milky Way and Smartie car? I think not.
- Make these uber-cute Tiny Teddy cars with the recipe you’ll find here.
27. Ballerina marshmallow pops
So simple, so pretty, so girlie, so make them.
- Click here for these gorgeous ballerina marshmallow pops.
28. Jelly boats
Easier to make than you might think. These fun jelly boats will make you smile just to look at them.
- Set sail to make these Jelly boats with this simple recipe.
29. Apple race cars
Kids love to play with their food and now there’s no reason for them not to with these healthy apple and grape race cars.
- Enjoy making these little Apple race cars thanks to this recipe.
30. Strawberry mice
Mice made out of strawberries? Oh, these are divine to look at, a cinch to make and even easier to eat.
- Fancy making these Strawberry mice? Then here’s the recipe!