Ann Taylor-Pittman

Looking for the easiest, tastiest, and most fun way to get dinner on the table tonight? The answer lies in snacks. Gather up all the fresh fruit, veggies, crackers, breads, cheeses, meats, spreads, and dips that you've got lying around your kitchen, throw them all onto a big ol' platter, and go to town on these endless snacking possibilities. A little creativity and some clever combinations will get you a lot farther than you think. The best part? No utensils required.

February 07, 2017

Are you that person who has dinners for the week picked out and fully shopped for and partially prepped by Sunday night, and every weekday you anxiously await coming home to cook your luxurious dinner? Or are you that person who drags your toes home after a long, strenuous day, desperately wanting to fall to your knees and lift your arms up to the dinner gods in the hopes that they will send you something delicious for you to eat on your couch? Well, I am certainly the latter, and to those of you that resonate with the former, I am very suspicious of your lifestyle choices. 

 Ann Taylor-Pittman

With all that said, if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t have the patience or the sheer energy to come home and whip up an impressive dinner (even if it’s on the sheet pan, or only requires one dish) every night, then congratulations because you, my friend, are the perfect candidate for the snack dinner. What is this, you ask? Well, this revolutionary way to round out your day of eating is the ultimate solution for the ever-present dinner dilemma that doesn’t sacrifice good food.

 Rebecca Longshore

The beauty of a snack dinner is that you can customize it to whatever you like/have, and like all of the finer things in life, it requires barely any preparation or prolonged commitment. Assemble a gathering of your favorite dips, spreads, butters, fruits, veggies, toasts, nuts, cheeses, meats, and pickles. If you can snack it, you can have it! Assemble all your components on anything from a fancy shmancy platter to a janky sheet pan that you’ve actively chosen to not cook with tonight (#winning).

Now, before you start worrying that a couple measly apple slices with cheese are not going to satisfy your dinner needs, allow me to explain. By gathering a variety of components to complete your snack dinner, you get the best of all worlds. A little bit of this and a little bit of that, and before you know it, you’ve just consumed the most diverse dinner full of unexpected combinations. Another plus to this dinner situation? It’s super kid-friendly, so if you’ve got some picky palates to cater to, they’re going to love this fun, build-your-own style supper. 

 Ann Taylor-Pittman

Start with some baseline dips that will serve as a hearty foundation for this dinner. Black bean hummus, tzatziki, guacamole, or a yogurt-tahini sauce. Fresh, flavorful dips like these taste good with just about everything, and they’re not so heavy that you’ll have a few bites and feel sick. For any good dip situation, it should be surrounded with plenty of freshly cut veggies and fruit, and maybe some wheaty crackers or crusty bread for a starchier bite.

Related: How to make Traditional Hummus

Next, comes a crucial component to the snack dinner—CHEESE. Again, use whatever you have. Anything from a sharp cheddar, to soft goat or Brie cheese will work great. If you have no cheese waiting in your fridge, maybe consider stopping by the grocery store on the way home to buy literally nothing but a hunk of cheese... trust me, this feels incredibly liberating. Bonus points if you have charcuterie to pair up with your cheese(s) (ain’t no shame in some bourgie meat game). While we’re building this exquisite snack board, go ahead and toss in a handful of nuts and/or your favorite nut butter. And because you’re not a heathen, make sure you’ve got a jam, chutney, or squeeze of honey out there for a pop of sweetness.

Snack Dinner

 Ann Taylor-Pittman

All in all, this should not be a dinner that you’re planning/shopping for in advance and breaking the bank for the finest and most well-coordinated components. While a fancy, intentionally curated cheese board is great if you're hosting a party, the snack dinner is all about making use of the odds and ends you already have, and that you know you like to eat. Throw it all together, don’t bother with plates or utensil, and start munching like the true #SnackBoss that you are.