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Perfect Winter Comfort Foods for Your Wedding Menu

What’s the best way to feed a room full of picky eaters at your wedding? Fall back on the most beloved classics of all: comfort food! The same foods you turn to when you need a little “edible hug” are the foods that can keep you relaxed and happy during the commotion of a wedding day. Say no to stress by filling your reception menu with comfort food classics–jazzed up a little for the special occasion, of course.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup isn’t just for helping sick people feel healthier; it’s a surefire way to boost your energy even when you start out feeling great! Best yet, you know that, unlike edgy gourmet fare, everyone at your reception already knows and loves this soup. (Except the vegetarians, of course, so be sure to cook up a tureen of veggie soup alongside it.)

The best way to jazz up chicken soup isn’t in the ingredients–just use high-quality chicken and vegetables to fill your favorite recipe–but in the serving method. Since big bowls of soup slosh around easily and aren’t convenient to carry in your best clothes, strain out the large chunks and serve the broth in shot glasses instead. Trays of “soup shots” are visually appealing, and your guests get all the flavor of a bowl of soup without filling up on a heavy meal. Garnish each shot with a sprig of parsley.

Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is a classic for a reason: it’s simple, tasty, and affordable, too. Keep even your youngest wedding guests interested in your menu by offering small cups of this delicious comfort food. It’s easy to jazz up, too–just switch around the types of cheese.

Offer several variations by mixing macaroni with melted cheddar for the standard experience, pepper jack for a spicier kick, or even blue cheese for a more sophisticated tone. Garnish with grated cheese on top just before serving. If you want to go the extra mile for your wedding feast, mix in some bacon–or even lobster!

Mashed Potatoes

It’s hard not to like mashed potatoes. Even if the butterflies in your stomach are turning somersaults, you’ll be able to grab a little energy during your wedding reception with these tasty bites.

Since mashed potatoes are a heavy food, lighten them up by keeping the servings small–and easily eaten with fingers. To prepare them as appetizers, scoop up spoonfuls of mashed potatoes and roll each spoonful into a ball. Bread the balls lightly with bread crumbs and throw them into a deep fryer for a few minutes until they turn golden-brown. Spear each one with a toothpick and serve it as an appetizer that will disappear remarkably quickly. Don’t forget the ketchup, honey mustard, and barbecue dipping sauces!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

If chocolate chip cookies don’t sound fancy enough for your wedding, think again. Unlike a cutting-edge foodie recipe like, say, cranberry-macadamia-bacon-carob cookies, if you serve chocolate chip you can be sure everyone already knows and likes the recipe. Keep in mind that, at a wedding, the main dessert in the spotlight is the wedding cake. Your decorative efforts should be channeled into the cake, which means any other dessert offerings are purely for taste. So you don’t have to worry about jazzing up your cookies too much; part of their allure is that guests will already know what they’re getting. (Plus, they offer a nice alternative to guests who are potentially allergic to the fancier flavors of cake.)

To give the cookies a little “special occasion” flair, all you need to do is use high-quality ingredients. If you usually buy store-brand, now is the time to splurge on those expensive chocolate chips. Set out three trays of cookies–dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate–so guests can sample to their hearts’ content. If you’re feeling motivated to give the cookies a little more of a wedding vibe, cut them with a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

Go With What You Know

It’s easy to get swept up in all the wedding magazine advice. When you hear that the latest celebrity served suckling pig in rhubarb sauce, it’s tempting to look at your down-home wedding menu and wonder if you’re being fancy enough. The answer is yes–you’re plenty fancy! Whether you serve barbecue sliders or you invite your guests to a garden potluck, if it seems like a fitting celebration of your love, that’s because it is.