How to Make a Holiday Snack Board

Featuring Recipes from Manitoba Chicken Producers

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

Snack boards aren’t just for large gatherings! We like to enjoy them for lunch or dinner regularly. Whether you’re wrapping gifts solo or having dinner with your family, pulling a snack board together for any occasion is doable with these tips.

For this board, I scrolled the Appetizer & Snacks section of Manitoba Chicken’s new website for some make-ahead appetizers. 

My favorite part about this website is the categories in the Recipes section.  You can search recipes by type, cut, preparation and cuisine.   Also, it`s educational.  You can find absolutely anything you want to know about Manitoba Chicken Producers, from farming to food safety in the following sections:

  • Nutrition
  • Cooking School
  • Blog
  • At the Farm
  • Our Industry
  • About Us

Store-bought VS Homemade

Using a combination of homemade and store-bought ingredients will help you impress without the stress. Choosing make-ahead appetizers saves you some prep time before you assemble your board.

The Appetizer & Snacks section of the website has an assortment of fresh, make-ahead and freezer friendly recipes to choose from. Think of your main homemade ingredients as the anchors for your board, then fill in with store-bought ingredients to complete the look.

This time, I chose the BBQ Chicken Bacon Bites (assemble ahead of time) and the Chicken Empanadas (make-ahead and freeze) to anchor the board.

How to add interest to your snack board

You can try to stick to a particular color scheme or create a theme for your board, but I honestly think the best part about making a snack board, is using whatever you want and have in the house.  I like to focus on using different textures to make the board visually appealing.

Here are a few specific ways to add interest to your board and how they were used in this board.

Use a couple items from each of these categories:

  • Protein (BBQ Chicken Bacon Bites, Chicken Empanadas)
  • Cheeses & Spreads (Fresh ricotta, sliced mozzarella, habanero black pepper cheese, honeycomb, tzatziki)
  • Fresh fruits & Vegetables (cucumbers, apples, pomegranate)
  • Breads, crackers, pretzels (Whole Wheat Crackers, rustic seed & fruit crackers, beet chips)
  • Something pickled (olives)
  • Filler (to fill in the small gaps around the board)
    • Fresh herbs (dill & parsley)
    • Dried fruit (dried cranberries)
    • Nuts
    • Candy or chocolate

Assembling your snack board

Assembling your board is the trickiest part. You may have to move some ingredients around once you place them to achieve the look that you want.  The important part is to have fun!

  • Place crisp ingredients like crackers and chips on the board just before serving, to prevent them from getting soggy.
  • Contain dips, spreads and pickled items in small bowls.
  • Choose appetizers that can be served warm or at room temperature to prevent heat transfer to the rest of the board components.

Making your snack board ahead of time

If you want to assemble most of your board ahead of time, there are a few ways that you can do this. The first way is to get all your components ready, so that you can assemble the board quickly.

  • Prepare dips and spread and fill bowls.
  • Prepare hot appetizers that need to be cooked
  • Chop and slice fruits, vegetables and cheeses

The second way is to place most of the fresh ingredients on the board and to store it in the fridge.  Just before serving, add the hot appetizers and dry components to the board.

Here are some other great appetizers from manitobachicken.ca that would work well on a snack board.

Prep ahead and assemble before serving

Make-ahead and freeze

Which one will you try first?  Head to manitobachicken.ca to check out their new website and find a new recipe to add to your next snack board.

Asian Grilled Chicken Salad – Three ways

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

Something we all tend to struggle with now and again is trying to get out of a food rut.  Trying to find new ways to enjoy the foods we already love but eat way too often.  Keeping the same flavors you already enjoy, but changing the way they’re presented is an excellent way to add variety to your menu.

This Asian Grilled Chicken Salad recipe from Manitoba Chicken Producers is a great base for spinning off other recipes.  It serves 4-6 people, so you have the option of serving it family-style for dinner or splitting it up into containers for lunches. You could also make a smaller portion of the salad and use the remaining ingredients to make one of the three completely new meals that I’m sharing today. These three meals use all the same ingredients, along with a few extras:

  • Cashew Chicken Lettuce wraps
  • Asian Chicken Flatbread
  • Chicken Summer Rolls
Photo courtesy of Manitoba Chicken Producers

Why is this a good idea?

If you already have the ingredients on hand, you may as well use them to their full potential. This prevents food waste and allows for flexibility and variety on your menu.  Once you have already purchased some of these ingredients, for example, the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and sweet chili sauce, you’re going to have more than enough to use in a few more meals, so you’re going to want some ideas to mix it up a bit. Also, if you make one of these recipes for dinner, you may want to use up the remaining ingredients to make a few lunches for the rest of the week.

Jump to Recipe

Prep strategies

If your life is busy like mine is, you’re going to want to save every minute you can in the kitchen, so you can have more time for relaxing and spending time with your family.  There are many ways you can save time executing this dish. Here are a few:

  • Batch cook your chicken
    • If you plan on using these ingredients in the same week in different ways, grill up all your chicken at the same time.  Slice it up and it’s ready to go for the salad, the summer roll, the flatbread and the lettuce wraps. If it isn’t a nice day, baking the chicken works just fine. Whichever cooking method you choose, be sure to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. This chart will help you ensure your chicken is perfectly cooked.
  • Chop all your veggies at the same time
    • This will be especially helpful if you plan on using them in more than one meal in the same week.
  • Double the sauce, as needed.
    • Depending on which of the four recipes you will be making, double up the sauce if necessary. This will save you from having to make a second batch later.

Did you know that you should only store cooked chicken for three to four days in the fridge?

This guide is helpful for storing all cuts of chicken in your fridge and freezer.

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I used romaine hearts for these because I love the crunch, but you could definitely use any larger leaf lettuce that could contain the filling. If you don’t have cashews, peanuts would be an excellent substitution.

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Asian Chicken Flatbread

chicken flatbread

This recipe is basically a salad on a pizza, minus the cheese. You will be topping it with the ingredients that can be served warm before popping it in the oven, then dressing it with a “salad” of julienned veggies, herbs and a squeeze of lime, once it comes out of the oven.

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Chicken Summer Rolls

These Chicken Summer Rolls make a great lunch or appetizer. They are a bit more time-consuming to prepare than the other recipes, so you’ve been warned! You can use any amount of the sliced veggies for these rolls and you don’t really have to measure, which I love. If you don’t have some of the listed vegetables on hand, you could also try avocado and cucumber as substitutes.

These rolls tend to stick together when stored in the fridge, so it’s a good idea to either individually wrap them in plastic wrap, or a greener option is to place a lettuce or cabbage leaf between each roll when storing them in a container.

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Chicken is versatile and nutritious

Chicken is an excellent ingredient for deconstructing and reconstructing because it is so versatile. If you’re looking for other ways to reconstruct and make the most out of the ingredients you buy, check out this post called Greek Chicken – Three Ways or head to manitobachicken.ca for more recipes using Manitoba chicken so you can try some reconstructing on your own!

Share your creations with us by tagging @toobusylivin204 and @manitobachicken on Instagram.

Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These fresh lettuce wraps make a great lunch or dinner.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Keyword chicken, lettuce wrap
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Author SL

Ingredients

  • 1 cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup baby corn, sliced in circles
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 romaine hearts
  • 1 lime

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Grill or pan fry chicken breasts until thermometer reads 170F (about 5-7 minutes per side).

  2. While chicken is cooling, chop the corn, red pepper, mint and cilantro.

  3. Wash and dry romaine leaves, keeping them whole.

  4. Combine sauce ingredients and stir.

  5. Chop chicken.

  6. Heat chicken, red pepper and corn in the frying pan until warm, about 3 minutes.

  7. Add sauce and stir until combined and heated through.

  8. Transfer to a bowl and top with a squeeze of lime, mint, cilantro and cashews.

  9. Serve in romaine leaves.

Asian Chicken Flatbread

A fresh take on a pizza, this flatbread makes a great lunch for one or cut it in triangles for an easy appetizer.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Keyword asian, chicken, flatbread
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 flatbread

Ingredients

  • 1 naan
  • 1/2 cup cooked chicken , sliced
  • 1/4 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/4 cup snow peas, julienned
  • 1/4 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1/4 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 lime

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Grill or pan fry chicken breasts until thermometer reads 170F (about 5-7 minutes per side).

  2. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes, then slice thinly.

  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

  4. Combine sauce ingredients and spread on pizza.

  5. Top with sliced chicken and red pepper.

  6. Place in the oven until heated through and crust is lightly browned. (About 5-7 minutes. )

  7. Remove from oven and top with snow peas, carrots, cashews, mint and cilantro.

  8. Finish with a squeeze of lime.

Chicken Summer Rolls

These Chicken Summer Rolls make a great appetizer or lunch and pack a lot of flavor.

Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword chicken, rice paper, summer roll
Servings 6 rolls
Author SL

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast, cooked
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 red pepper, julienned
  • 6 baby corn cobs, julienned
  • 1 handful snow peas, julienned
  • fresh mint leaves
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 cups thin rice noodles, cooked
  • 6 rice paper wraps

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 lime, juiced

Instructions

  1. Grill or pan fry chicken breasts until thermometer reads 170F (about 5-7 minutes per side). Set aside to cool.

  2. Cook noodles according to package directions and run under cold water to cool. Set aside.

  3. Combine sauce ingredients and set aside.

  4. Julienne all veggies.

  5. Wash and dry mint and cilantro leaves.

  6. In a bowl of warm water, soak one rice paper wrap at a time, gently moving around until pliable. It should not feel stiff.

  7. Spread out the wrap on a cutting board. As you're working on your first roll, place another wrap in the water to soak, so it is ready to go when you have finished making your roll.

  8. Layer fillings in the following order: mint leaves, 1/4 cup noodles, julienned veggies (small handful), 3 slices of chicken, cilantro.

  9. You don't want to overfill the wraps. It's good to make a test roll, to assess how much filling will fit in your wrap.

  10. Fold over the left and right sides of the wrap, holding in the filling.

  11. Start at the top or bottom end, and continue rolling, tucking the filling into the wrap, like you would a burrito.

  12. Dip in sauce to serve.

Recipe Notes

If you’re making this for several people, you may choose to make extra sauce, so that everyone has their own bowl for dipping.  

When storing prepared summer rolls in the fridge, individually wrap them in plastic wrap, or separate them with a lettuce or cabbage leaf in a container to prevent them from sticking together. 

Other julienned vegetables can be used here such as cucumber, avocado, snap peas, and green onion. 

Bacon cheddar stuffed jalapeno halves

I know I haven’t posted in a bit but I’ve really been trying to soak up this last bit of summer before I have to go back to work.  I wanted to get this post up asap so you could make these out of all those glorious jalapenos you have in your garden right now.  This recipe is so easy and so quick, the only measurement you need to remember is 1/2. Continue reading