It’s safe to say that most of my happiest memories during the holiday season involve 2 things: FOOD & FAMILY.
Whether you are baking a family recipe to enjoy for breakfast while opening presents on Christmas day, or cooking up a storm for a family dinner around the table, spending time with family & food is what holiday traditions are all about! And while the actual cooking ins’t quite my area of specialty, I have discovered over the years that there is ONE THING I can do really well in the kitchen: BUILD A CHARCUTERIE BOARD! And Kyle, if you’re reading this, YES I KNOW that “making” a charcuterie board is simply just “assembling” pre- packaged items, but truth be told, there’s definitely an art to it…and after posting my charcuterie board on Instagram a couple of times, I decided that the time has come for me too finally share all the hacks, tips, & tricks to building the ultimate board for your holiday entertaining!
Well, first up, lets talk what you need for your board: Honestly, you can make it as over the top or simple as you want, and keep the entire thing fairly inexpensive! Everything for this holiday board was found at my neighborhood Walmart & the total was right around $80, including ALL THE FOOD, the brass handled wooden board, & the plaid cocktail forks! And mind you, this board would easily feed 4-8 people!) Because I needed to scoop up quite the assortment of so many different types of items (holiday entertaining crackers, cheeses & meats (which I was able to get the exact amount I needed sliced fresh at the Walmart deli!) , pre-packaged fruits, pickled veggies, fresh veggies, condiments, nuts, fresh bread…PLUS the actual board, serving sticks, & cocktail forks) I went to Walmart because I knew it would be a ONE AND DONE SHOPPING TRIP…not to mention the value of Walmart can’t be beat! (I know you’re probably still in shock that this whole thing comes in under $80), because I was pretty thrilled, too!) And during the holiday season, I want to spend less time shopping, planning, and stressing about all the money we are spending….and have more time to actually create memories with my family!
Okay, back to the board! First up, lets start with a shopping list:
- Meats: You can be as creative or basic as you want here! This particular board was feeding the kiddos and us for movie night so it was pretty simple: thinly sliced peppered turkey, pepperoni, & buffalo chicken!
- Cheese: Once again, its whatever you prefer! And the easiest thing to do in my opinion is to see what’s fresh inside the deli at your neighborhood Walmart and get those items! I went with sliced pepperjack cubed colby jack because I knew if we didn’t finish it, we would have it for snacking & sandwiches later on in the week!
- Veggies: I usually do a combination of fresh & pickled! This time I picked up mini bell peppers (they are so colorful!) & sliced them up, Great Value medium pitted black olives, Great Value gherkins, & pickled okra (my personal favorite!)! I’ve also been known to throw in asparagus, pickled green beans, or anything else mediterranean-ish!
- Breads & crackers for dipping: These are your only carbs, so make it count! Get the fresh french baguette in the bakery and slice it up! Also love the Great Value Entertainment Cracker Selection because its lots of different types of crackers in 1 box!
- Filler: Think nuts (I got the Great Value Deluxe Mixed Nuts), dried fruit like figs or cherries or dates, and cranberries or pomegranate seeds!
- Dips: WHEN I DIP, YOU DIP, WE DIP! Hummus, Spinach artichoke dip…heck, I even love a good old fashioned ranch or french onion dip! Don’t forget a condiment option like a chipotle mayo, or a garlicky mustard, or even cream cheese topped with red pepper jam (a childhood favorite of mine!!)
- Anything else that looks interesting: This time I saw some pre-made mini-stuffed mushrooms, so I added those for something savory & warm! Other ideas would be dolmas or sushi rolls or little mini-tortilla roll-ups…or if you were making it super kid friendly, I’d throw on mini pizza bagel bites!
- And don’t forget the garnish! Actually, it doesn’t matter…it just makes you look fancy! I like thyme or sage!
So, you’ve picked up everything you need at Walmart….now where on earth do you even begin?! Here are the best tips when its time to start building the ultimate holiday charcuterie board:
- Start with all your food items & categorize them on your countertop or workspace: meats, cheeses, crackers, veggies, dips, pickled, filler (nuts, cranberries, dried fruit)
- Then determine what would need to go into containers: dips, condiments, sometimes I also add pickled items or nuts into containers to give the board some height or dimension. Also: make sure the containers aren’t too deep and that you have toothpicks or sticks for dipping items into them so we aren’t having to use hands!
- Begin arranging the containers onto the board and that will help determine what items go next to them….take into consideration what you might actually be dipping into it?!
- Ultimately, think as if you are building a sandwich: meats, then a carb, then a cheese, then something dip-like or creamy with it, then follow it up with something sweet.
- Keep in mind your colors when you are adding items to the board…which is why having things in categories is helpful because you might need to put some filler item next to the crackers, but nuts are the same color, so reach for the cranberries instead!)
- You know what…if all else fails, buy a $4 wooden cutting board when you go to Walmart, grab a marker, and create a this charcuterie road map below! Keep it handy so you can always have a guide to follow….and then you know its bound to look beautiful every single time!
If you are not planning on feeding enough people in your home to enjoy a huge charcuterie board this season, but know a family who’s having a holiday movie night or neighbor that has a hungry household that likes to snack all day, this is the easiest last minute gift idea for them! Not to mention its also super convenient to find all these items during your next quick Walmart trip…or even take advantage of their curbside pickup option so you don’t even have to get out of the car!
For sharing as a gift, only purchase the board, the utensils, and the shelf stable items like the Great Value Entertainment Cracker Selection, the dried fruit, canned pickled items, nuts, etc. Then while you are at Walmart, head over to their holiday shop & pick up 2 rolls of plaid fabric (could also be used as an adorable table runner for a tablescape!) and some wired ribbon & VOILA! Then finish your gift with a note (or even toss in the charcuterie road map!) sharing the additional fresh items they will need to add to their board before they can enjoy! SO cute, right?!
Well, for not being the actual “cook” in our kitchen over the holidays, I’d say this board would impress even the toughest of critics….I’m looking at you, Kyle! (And I know a handful of yall might have a mother-in-law that would get wowed by this, too!) Nonetheless, I hope this can be helpful for you if you are looking to tackle a charcuterie board this holiday season! Because ultimately I know we are all busy this season, and I’m here (with the help of Walmart!) to find simple ways to make your Christmas a little more chic, while saving a little bit of cash!
*Thank you Walmart for encouraging your shoppers to find ways to spend less time planning, stressing, & shopping and more time with our families this season….and for sponsoring this creative content!