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.

Slow Cooker Marinara

This recipe has limited hands-on prep time. All you have to do is pop the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it go all day. Leftovers can be portioned and frozen for later.

Serve this marinara over pasta or chicken parm. It can also be used as a chunkier pizza sauce.

Slow Cooker or Stove-top

You’ll save the most time on this recipe by making it in the slow cooker, however, it’s also quite simple to make on the stove. I prefer the slow cooker method because it allows the flavors to develop and is hands-off.

Jump to Recipe

Uses

This sauce can be served over your favorite pasta and can be used to top your chicken parmesan. Feel free to add veggies, cooked ground meat, or meatballs to customize it. I love adding cooked Italian sausage, mushrooms, and peppers to make it hearty.

Portion and freeze the leftovers

Allow the sauce to cool before portioning and freezing it. I like to store it in medium-sized Ziploc bags, and frozen flat so the store and stack nicely in the freezer. One cup portions would be great if using for a dish like chicken parmesan, and 2-3 cup portions are better for using it as a pasta sauce if you’re adding veggies or meat. In the end, choose portion amounts based on how you intend to use the sauce in the future.

Slow Cooker Marinara

A hands-free marinara recipe using pantry staples.

Course Main Course, pasta, sauce
Cuisine Italian
Keyword easy meals, marinara, quick meals, slow cooker, slow-cooker meals
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings 7 cups
Author SL

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 28 oz.
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes 28 oz.
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Diced onion and mince garlic.

  2. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.

  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

  4. Allow sauce to cool before portioning and freezing.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be made on the stove-top.  Sauté onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil, add remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes.  It can also be pureed with an immersion blender for a smoother sauce. 

Mac &Cheese, Evolved

Move over KD, there’s a new mac & cheese in town!  I love KD, don’t get me wrong.  My aunt makes the best KD, if following instructions on a box “the best” is even a thing.  As a kid, my grandma used to make baked mac & cheese with tomato sauce and cheese.  My favorite part was the crispy, burnt-ish cheese on the edge pieces.  Another delicious mac & cheese that I had the pleasure of enjoying was a breadcrumb topped lobster mac & cheese somewhere in Vegas, made with tiny ditali pasta.  So good. Continue reading