It's not a party without Party Food! Good friends and music help too. Once you've chosen your Party Theme choose the menu to suit.
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Your requirements when it comes to party food will depend on the type of party you are hosting. Are you having the boss and partner over and need to impress or having close friends over and more interested in a home cooked meal and the company? Is it a Birthday Party for 100 so you're looking for easy party appetizers, or a Christmas dinner with family?
If it's a "want to impress" dinner, then you will no doubt spend a lot of time in the kitchen – get all the housework done early so you can concentrate on the meal. You can start planning your meal and prepare some dishes up to a week prior. This is a great idea for large family or friend get togethers.
Your first step would be to plan your meal: appetizers, main, dessert, beverages. Do the shopping list and when you want to buy – fresh items you'll want to buy last but any packaged goods can be bought any time. Is there anything on the meal menu that can be made in advance? Curries are better made the day before, gives a chance for the flavor to develop (and gives you time to do a taste test!)
PARTY FOOD, MENU IDEAS
If you can't think of something different for your party food menu why not try a country theme. Have an Italian dinner night or Indian, Thai, Chinese, Turkish. If you live in a small country town like I do, this is a great idea as we don't get to enjoy these foods often. Don’t be daunted if you haven't cooked these dishes before, they really aren't difficult. So select your country, do some Google'ing and find some recipes that sound easy enough, have a practice run on your family before the big night. Keep with the theme for your desserts and beverages.
Some tips: If you have a curry, make a Riata (cucumber yoghurt dip) for those that want to cool it down. Instead of buying a dozen different herbs and spices you can buy premixed spice sachets. Leave the “chicken tonight” jars at the supermarket (or buy one for emergencies, just in case your creation doesn’t quite work out!).
There will usually be more than one recipe for many dishes so look through a few if you want to find one that sounds right for you (there’s some weird ingredients out there that I’ve never heard of).
Sorbet is a great dessert option for any dinner party if you get stuck for ideas. So is anything chocolate if you’re inviting me!
If you choose a country theme – you could visit the library and see if they have any relevant music CD’s you could play to add to the ambiance.
Everyone loves an Appetizer or two before the main meal. Perhaps you are only serving finger food at your party, a great idea to cater for a larger number of guests. Easy Party Appetizers can still look fancy and taste great without taking up half your day to prepare them.
Ensure you make some vegetarian alternatives and that the waiters for the evening know which ones are vegetarian.
Dip and Cracker alternative. Make a homemade dip (or buy one that looks homemade!) and serve with pita chips. To make these, cut up pita bread into triangles and heat in the oven. This will dry them out a bit and make excellent dipping chips!
Vol-u-Vents. Go retro! Something about these makes me think "Party Food of the 70’s"… They come in a range of sizes and are easy to prepare – select a filling – line up on an oven tray – fill – heat – garnish and serve. The packet has the website address, check it out for great recipes. Add a garnish, a halved cherry tomato, parsley, etc.
Vol-u-Whats?? Do Pastries instead. You could use the above idea but instead get a muffin tray, line with pastry or bread and fill – heat – garnish and serve.
Cut a French stick or Turkish Bread into slices – spread pesto, a sundried tomato and top with a shave of Parmesan cheese.
Spring rolls and curry puffs served with sweet chilli sauce – easy (especially if you buy them!) and always disappear.
Kebabs are great - still finger food but something a bit more substantial.
Spinach and Fetta triangles Always a favorite.
PARTY PUNCH to wash down your Party Food
Have you been to a “bring a plate” dinner party. Yes, a plate with food on it (I know this isn’t a common term in some countries!) Last time I took Punch instead, there’s always so much food at parties (which is a good thing, I do like my food) and it was great – the Punch all disappeared. Did I remember to pick some pineapple sage or chocolate mint from my garden to add to it… well, no! Don’t forget if it’s a Christmas Party or a Thanks Giving party you can take Eggnog instead.
The is a basic recipe for punch
- 3 litres of Juice
- 1.25 litre bottle of Ginger Ale
- 1.25 litre bottle of Lemonade
- Tin of unsweetened fruit salad
- Add some fresh mint or other suitable herb leaves if you have some
You may not need to make this much, this is a lot of Punch! You can choose cordial instead of juice or if you’re in Australia choose the tin of Golden Circle Sunshine Punch.
You can Google for some different recipes if you are looking for something a bit different.
As this will be sitting out – you need some clever ideas to keep it cool. Freeze a few icecube trays of your juice allocation – this will keep it cool and when it melts will add to the flavor not dilute it like water would. Keep some in the fridge and top up as required.
Of course you can add alcohol but I’d prefer to leave it out. Alcoholic punch doesn’t taste alcoholic and if your guests are driving home, best they can monitor their drinking. (oh how sensible of me! OK, yes I’ve had a bad alcoholic punch experience…)
I hope you've found some party food ideas that you like. Thanks for visiting.