10 Ways to Style Dinner Like a Pro

Tired of serving up a disheveled dinner? First impressions make a difference, especially when it comes to food. The prettier the plate, the more appetizing the meal. These 10 quick tips will help you plate food like a pro to wow your guests and, even more importantly, your picky eaters.

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Skewer It

Stacie Billis

Skewer It

Skewers aren't just for meat on the grill. Fruit, cheese, veggies -- even dessert -- can be threaded on a stick. Just be sure to cut off any pointy ends for safety.

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Serve It With Dip

Stacie Billis

Serve It With Dip

Dipping isn't just for veggies or chips. Hold the sauce back from your meal and serve it on the side instead. Not only does it look pretty, but it also allows eaters to personalize their dish, which is especially fun for little ones!

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Make It Bite-Sized

Stacie Billis

Make It Bite-Sized

Bring cocktail party style to the dinner table by serving main meals in small bites.

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Stack It

Stacie Billis

Stack It

Architectural stacks of food are a thing of the past in restaurants, but at home, stacking food can transform a messy, sprawling platter into an elegant display.

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Put It On a Puff Pastry Tart

Stacie Billis

Put It On a Puff Pastry Tart

Nothing is more sophisticated -- or easier! -- than a puff pastry tart. Open a box, unroll the dough, layer with ingredients, bake, and impress.

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Garnish It

Stacie Billis

Garnish It

A little bit of garnish makes a big bit of difference. Keep it easy with a sprinkle of bright green herbs or get crafty with (surprisingly simple!) dried pineapple flowers.

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Shape It

Stacie Billis

Shape It

Cookie cutters aren't just for cookie dough anymore! Opt for fun shapes if you're serving kids. Use simple forms to give your food clean edges and a refined look when entertaining grown ups. Quick tip: slick your cutter with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to your food.

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Layer It

Stacie Billis

Layer It

Monochromatic food is the enemy of the eye. Avoid serving unsightly bowls of drab food by layering ingredients. Leave an edge of each layer showing under the next to achieve a pretty look.

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Make It In a Muffin Tin

Stacie Billis

Make It In a Muffin Tin

Muffin tins are the secret to churning out cute individual servings without extra work. From pizza to meatloaves, mac and cheese to tarts: if you can bake or freeze it, it can be made in a muffin tin.

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Keep It Colorful

Stacie Billis

Keep It Colorful

Think color when choosing ingredients and garnishes. Grab a rainbow of veggies and experiment with new ingredient varieties: purple carrots, red lentils, yellow peppers, oh my!

Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.