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Inexpensive Party Food Ideas


Kim Shook
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I need some help. Daughter is graduating from college in May. She had originally said Indian food, but has changed her mind. We finally got together regarding the guest list and it was much larger than either of us anticipated! It will probably be about 70 people. So I am looking for something to feed that many people that will not be terribly expensive, fairly festive, not overwhelmingly 'fancy' and not 'fiddly' (I will be about 6 weeks away from carpal tunnel surgery on my hand - I had the other hand done in January). I do want to cook it myself – not cater, if possible. Daughter didn’t have any ideas the last time we talked and we are getting together tomorrow to exchange ideas. So I need some ideas to throw at her. Hope you can give me some help!

Ta, everyone! Kim

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I need some help.  Daughter is graduating from college in May.  She had originally said Indian food, but has changed her mind.  We finally got together regarding the guest list and it was much larger than either of us anticipated!  It will probably be about 70 people.  So I am looking for something to feed that many people that will not be terribly expensive, fairly festive, not overwhelmingly 'fancy' and not 'fiddly' (I will be about 6 weeks away from carpal tunnel surgery on my hand - I had the other hand done in January).  I do want to cook it myself – not cater, if possible.  Daughter didn’t have any ideas the last time we talked and we are getting together tomorrow to exchange ideas.  So I need some ideas to throw at her.  Hope you can give me some help!

Ta, everyone!  Kim

My solution is my standard suggestion. Smoked pork, and lots of it

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I need some help.  Daughter is graduating from college in May.  She had originally said Indian food, but has changed her mind.  We finally got together regarding the guest list and it was much larger than either of us anticipated!  It will probably be about 70 people.  So I am looking for something to feed that many people that will not be terribly expensive, fairly festive, not overwhelmingly 'fancy' and not 'fiddly' (I will be about 6 weeks away from carpal tunnel surgery on my hand - I had the other hand done in January).  I do want to cook it myself – not cater, if possible.  Daughter didn’t have any ideas the last time we talked and we are getting together tomorrow to exchange ideas.  So I need some ideas to throw at her.  Hope you can give me some help!

Ta, everyone!  Kim

My solution is my standard suggestion. Smoked pork, and lots of it

Not for the bbq purists, but since I didn't have a smoker I once had a large party with Carolina Style bbq I made in the oven. It came out quite well; I reheated the pork on the day of the party in steamers. Served it up with hamburger rolls and slaw. I made my own dry "mixes" of cornbread ahead of time and made fresh batches of cornbread periodically during the party. (This can be made ahead of time as well.) Then all you need is a couple of other salads, since it was summer I think I made a cold black-eyed pea salad and had sliced tomatoes with homemade cider vinegar mayonnaise. Drinks started out with mint juleps (one per person, for their own sake!) and evolved to iced tea and beer. Dessert was pecan pies and buttermilk pies... It was a great party!

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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If your daughter is looking for something a little more elegant then consider an antipasto buffet. I did this for my wedding party and it was relatively stress free. Have a few types of room temperature salads (rice salad, white bean and tuna, etc), big platters of roasted vegetables, cheeses, cured meats, fruit, etc. As long as you have a lot of variety, you don't need a lot of any one item, and you can bulk up with the less expensive bean and vegetable salad. Also very affordable if you're buying in bulk is a raw bar. I bought a ridiculous number of oysters and shrimp (already peeled) and hired an oyster shucker. All you have to do is boil the shrimp and make some cocktail sauce.

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If your daughter is looking for something a little more elegant then consider an antipasto buffet. I did this for my wedding party and it was relatively stress free. Have a few types of room temperature salads (rice salad, white bean and tuna, etc), big platters of roasted vegetables, cheeses, cured meats, fruit, etc. As long as you have a lot of variety, you don't need a lot of any one item, and you can bulk up with the less expensive bean and vegetable salad. Also very affordable if you're buying in bulk is a raw bar. I bought a ridiculous number of oysters and shrimp (already peeled) and hired an oyster shucker. All you have to do is boil the shrimp and make some cocktail sauce.

Great idea and maybe easier all around if new grads and everyone is dressed up, etc. on graduation day. Here is a nice previous thread on antipasti for other ideas.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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I think the antipasta idea is great. I have also done a little mexican party before with grilled carne asada and halibut and let everyone make their own tacos, rice, beans, ceviche , etc on the side. you could even do virgin margaritas and get some mexican sodas which are inexpensive.

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Spanish tapas are another potential theme. It's great to have a few warm tapas in the mix but there also many nice recipes for room temperature dishes.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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My solution is my standard suggestion.  Smoked pork, and lots of it

You could go "fancy" and have smoked brisket...

I did a party with smoked pork AND brisket last summer, and in addition to offering rolls, BBQ sauce (click here for the ultimate sauce recipe) and slaw, I offered tortillas, salsa, guac, etc.

If you want to know more about smoking pork butts or brisket, let us know!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Fantastic ideas. Thanks everyone! Can't wait to present to the youngun tomorrow! I think I'd like all of these parties!

I think the antipasta idea is great. I have also done a little mexican party before with grilled carne asada and halibut and let everyone make their own tacos, rice, beans, ceviche , etc on the side. you could even do virgin margaritas and get some mexican sodas which are inexpensive.

Am I the only dork in the world who can't see the phrase 'carne asada' anymore without thinking of the lion trying to get the other lion to pronounce it properly in that commercial :raz: ?

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Fantastic ideas.  Thanks everyone!  Can't wait to present to the youngun tomorrow!  I think I'd like all of these parties!
I think the antipasta idea is great. I have also done a little mexican party before with grilled carne asada and halibut and let everyone make their own tacos, rice, beans, ceviche , etc on the side. you could even do virgin margaritas and get some mexican sodas which are inexpensive.

Am I the only dork in the world who can't see the phrase 'carne asada' anymore without thinking of the lion trying to get the other lion to pronounce it properly in that commercial :raz: ?

I don't know that one! ok, let's just called it grilled flank steak than! :wink:

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Fantastic ideas.  Thanks everyone!  Can't wait to present to the youngun tomorrow!  I think I'd like all of these parties!
I think the antipasta idea is great. I have also done a little mexican party before with grilled carne asada and halibut and let everyone make their own tacos, rice, beans, ceviche , etc on the side. you could even do virgin margaritas and get some mexican sodas which are inexpensive.

Am I the only dork in the world who can't see the phrase 'carne asada' anymore without thinking of the lion trying to get the other lion to pronounce it properly in that commercial :raz: ?

I don't know that one! ok, let's just called it grilled flank steak than! :wink:

Go here. Then click on "See the Big Game Commercial" bottom left. Then click "See the Big Game Commercial" again on the right. Goofy. But I can't help laughing.

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Doh! From the thread title, "'the talk' w/ Kid" I thought this was a request for foods to accompany "facts of life" sort of talks!!

I was excited to see the number of responses.

The idea of making it a party was a bit adventurous, i thought :laugh:

flavor floozy

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Doh!  From the thread title, "'the talk' w/ Kid" I thought this was a request for foods to accompany "facts of life" sort of talks!!

I was excited to see the number of responses.

The idea of making it a party was a bit adventurous, i thought  :laugh:

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

With our crazy family, it might just have been possible!

Well, we had 'the talk' (no, not that one :wink: ) and she's decided on a Mexican theme. Beef/chicken tacos, turned on grill for DIY quesadillas, black beans, "Spanish Orzo" (she had a gastic bypass, too, and doesn't do rice either), 'Mexican' cocktails, Chile-Cornbread salad and all the attendant fixings.

Thank you everyone for your help! FYI, it was down to Tapas, BBQ and Mexican at the end!

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Doh!  From the thread title, "'the talk' w/ Kid" I thought this was a request for foods to accompany "facts of life" sort of talks!!

I was thinking the same thing and was going to suggest a birds and bees theme, poultry and honey, like a honey-glazed chicken.

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Doh!  From the thread title, "'the talk' w/ Kid" I thought this was a request for foods to accompany "facts of life" sort of talks!!

I was thinking the same thing and was going to suggest a birds and bees theme, poultry and honey, like a honey-glazed chicken.

me too but I felt to silly to tell hehehehe

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Doh!  From the thread title, "'the talk' w/ Kid" I thought this was a request for foods to accompany "facts of life" sort of talks!!

I was thinking the same thing and was going to suggest a birds and bees theme, poultry and honey, like a honey-glazed chicken.

me too but I felt to silly to tell hehehehe

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

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