Monday is Memorial Day, and I know this will sound completely cliche, but I can’t even handle it. How can summer be here already? Wasn’t it just Spring Break like five minutes ago? I think I’ve been working too much.
Now that summer is unofficially almost here, that means we get to start eating all of our food outside. Picnics and cookouts and barbecues and beach parties and more dining al fresco than you even knew was possible. I’m so ready. Truth be told, we do that all the time in Hawaii, but I’m ready for everybody else to join in. It’s time to get yourself a cute new hat, kids. We’re going outside.
There’s no recipe today, per se, but I have something just as awesome! Cheese!!! Constructing a cheese plate can get really expensive. My initial plan was to try to make one for $20 or less, but sadly, I failed. We may have snuck in under the radar if we had left out Geoff’s bacon cheddar spread, but we love him, so we’ll let it slide. I think if I didn’t live in the middle of the ocean where a bag of grapes costs $9, I could really make it happen. Here are a few tips for making an awesome Picnic Cheese Plate.
- My first tip for creating a low cost cheese plate is to raid your fridge. I frequently will buy a certain type of cheese for a recipe, but not use all of it up. Put out your remnants for snacking at your next picnic. I used a creamy Havarti for this cheese plate. And don’t forget to check your half empty jam jars. One of them will likely work nicely with a small wedge of brie or other double cream cheese.
- Skip the expensive fancy meats like proscuitto and embrace summer sausage. I picked up a small turkey summer sausage which had way less calories than the beef version, and it was only $4.
- I pretty much only eat grapes if they’re on a cheese plate. Hopefully you live in a place where you can pick some up for cheap.
- Go with the cheap crackers. If you’re trying to save money, you want the cheese to be the star of the show anyway, so direct your money to Ritz or Town House Crackers. They’re buttery and awesome, but also neutral and cheap.
- If it were up to me, I would have swapped out that bacon cheddar spread for an herbed goat cheese, but the right cheeses for your plate are just the cheeses you love. Think about having different textures and flavor profiles. Take your time at the cheese case to find the cheaper versions of the cheeses you love, or buy a smaller portion.
- Finally, if you’re going to be taking your cheese outside, I recommend pre-slicing as much as you can. I arranged the sausage and Havarti on the board before we left the house, wrapped it all tightly in plastic wrap, and stored it in the fridge until we were ready to go. I’d also recommend pre-cutting your grape vine into smaller stems so you can easily fill up empty spaces on your board once you’ve added the crackers, jam, and other cheeses.
Those were a lot of words about cheese. I just need you to know that you don’t need to be a bajillionaire to serve a perfectly lovely cheese plate at your next get together. You’ll be able to find plenty of stuff within your price range. And you don’t have to do any cooking, so you can take it easy and hang out at your own party. And you also get to eat cheese. Awesome!