"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Menu Planning > Today's Menu
Click Here to Login
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-21-2005, 02:52 PM   #1
Master Chef
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Galena, IL
Posts: 7,970
Entertaining help for newbies

After cohosting a couple of parties for freinds who were a bit 'scared to just jump in themselves (we're talking people in their 40s, 50s and 60s), it occurs to me that there isn't a subject here for people planning their first parties, be they small dinner parties (to me 8 or less), big family to-dos, or huge bashes. What are your favorite foods, themes, tricks, etc., when you want to have people over? I see young people very much afraid to "entertain", and it always cracks me up. It's so easy when you're young.

Claire is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2005, 03:44 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA,Indiana
Posts: 69
I started hosting annual xmas parties (since we just bought our first house with tons of room). I like to see and other people that helped me on the menu, like to see, mini meatballs, any kind of chip or veggie dips, the lil sausages, I made an artichoke dip, different kinds of cheeses with diff kinds of crackers.
I love munchie foods. Just something you can grab a handful and eat. Nothing you need forks, knives etc.
I can't wait for the next one. Everyone loved it and I am planning the food already.
Mom to Sean and wife to Jason
chris629 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2005, 09:07 PM   #3
Head Chef
auntdot's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,418
Chris and Claire are exactly right, almost anyone can put on a do with limited effort and almost no cooking knowledge (am certainly not including the previous posters in that category).

And one does not need to be able to do much more than cut up a few items and use the oven and microwave.

Go to Costco, Sam's, BJ's, or even the supermarket and you can find many frozen items that will make great finger food. Just heat and serve.

Can always buy frozen meatballs, or the mini sausages, and toss them into a crock pot with a simple sauce (just Google) and let people help themselves.

Can make an antipasto platter. Buy some deli meats (Italian preferable), cheeses (again Italian) , marinated artichoke hearts, olives (as many types as you wish), pickled mushrooms, halved cherry tomatoes or the grape like ones, pepperoncini peppers, the jarred red peppers, canned anchovies, just go to the store and go crazy. And hummus with pita wedges would work well with that (can buy it prepared but it is just so easy to make).

Cheese balls, cheese platters, the crudites with the dip, you can buy premade shrimp cocktail platters (OK, I would toss the stuff attractively on a plate maybe with a few lettuce leaves and a garnish or two snd make some more sauce, my favorite for shrimp cocktail being Marie Rose sauce, but that is a post in itself. Or just toss some horseradish with the catsup).

If you have an ethnic market available, just walk about and use your imagination.

Have had to put together a few get togethers at a place where we could essentially not cook and had no problem doing it.

Of course it is a lot more fun if we can cook, but there is no reason someone can't put together a party with little muss or fuss.
auntdot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2005, 01:07 PM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA,Indiana
Posts: 69
Gosh this is getting me excited for our Halloween party and Xmas party.
I would have a New Yrs party but that is 3 parties with a lot of food in 3 mos. Geesh!
Mom to Sean and wife to Jason
chris629 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2005, 03:49 PM   #5
choclatechef's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,680
I used to have an annual Christmas tree trimming party a few years ago. I will have to start the tradition again when I move to a larger space.

I would serve a big pot of chili or stew, a big salad, rolls, and some sort of dip and chips or easy appetizer. Buffet style is the way to go.
choclatechef is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2005, 03:54 PM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA,Indiana
Posts: 69
I love buffet style parties (in fact I don't think I have ever been to one that wasn't). Thats why I love stuff that you don't really need a fork. That is nice. So people can just munch all night and pick.
Mom to Sean and wife to Jason
chris629 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2005, 04:38 PM   #7
Executive Chef
marmalady's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: USA,SouthCarolina
Posts: 2,642
From a catering perspective, lists are the most important thing you can do! Lists for everything! Your shopping list; a prep list (more below); a list of your finished dishes and what bowls/platters you're going to use.

Shopping list - I broke mine out according to where I was going to shop - ie, everything I needed from Costco, including paperware; then, butcher, florist, specialty shop, liquor store, etc. Don't forget garnishes when you do your shopping - a bunch of kale or curly cabbage makes a pretty 'bed' for say, a shrimp or chicken platter.

Prep List - This is probably the most important, imo - make a chart of all of your dishes, and break out each component; even something as simple as 'chips + dip". Then make columns for 3 days prior (usually shopping day); 2 days, 1 day, and day of. Go down your list and put a check mark on whatever you can get done as far in advance as you can do it! Lots of sauces and vegetable prep can be done 2-3 days in advance, and stored in the fridge. Most desserts can be made 1-2 days ahead, and that's a huge item to get out of the way. Make sure to even mark down when to take the meat or whatever out of the freezer!!

Plating list - Take out your prettiest platters and bowls, and think about what the dishes will look like on them.

Organization is the key - this is your planning 'mise en place', and once you get in the habit of doing this, things - should! - run like clockwork!
marmalady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2005, 06:04 PM   #8
Certified Executive Chef
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 3,615
I always do finger food and some things that can be made ahead. Also, try to have some vegetarian dishes, just in case. Cheese boards and fruit are always a hit, as are vegies and ranch dip.
norgeskog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2005, 07:13 AM   #9
Chef Extraordinaire
mudbug's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: NoVA, beyond the Beltway
Posts: 11,166
I will repeat my number one rule for any party:

Lay in a good supply of ice and toilet paper.
Kool Aid - Think before you drink.
mudbug is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:26 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.