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Old 03-12-2006, 08:58 AM   #1
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Need some menu ideas


A friend has asked me to help her plan a birthday party for her husband's birthday (a significant one). There will be about 15 - 20 people and she hasn't got room for a sit down dinner. The food should be able to be prepared ahead and eaten without having to use a knife to cut things up. I have thought of several things, but wonder what you all would serve?

Any suggestions will be gratefully received.


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Old 03-12-2006, 09:28 AM   #2
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wow.. this is going to be interesting to see what everybody comes up with... hmmm I really don't know . hmmm what about maybe like some fish.. like scallops, shrimp, clam strips, cod fried in bite size pieces?
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Old 03-12-2006, 10:02 AM   #3
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How about a baked pasta casserole? Use pasta such as rigatoni or small shells. You said "no knives" so spaghetti and lasagna may not be a good choice. Bite sized pasta is your best bet. Use your favorite sauce, with or without meat, and lots of good cheese. Make a large salad with lots of toppings available for guests to pick from and crusty bread or garlic bread. You may also want to consider a "heavy appetizer party" with such things as meatballs, 7-layer bean dip, tiny quiches, dip with fresh veggies, foccacia squares, deli meats, fruit kabobs, etc. Have a good party!!
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Old 03-12-2006, 10:10 AM   #4
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Here's another idea ~ how about a chili party. Make a large pot of "the birthday boy's" favorite chili and put out lots of different toppings for guests to pick from, such as sour cream, chopped onion, bacon bits, different cheeses, etc. Serve with a big salad and lots of crusty bread. Have fun!!
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Old 03-12-2006, 10:32 AM   #5
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How about fried chicken? biscuits or corn bread-coleslaw?Lots of napkins though.
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Old 03-12-2006, 10:46 AM   #6
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Since you live in Florida, I'm guessing the weather is warm enough to serve lots of cold dishes. So why not have an Asian party? Asian food tends to be bite size, and many things can be made in advance.
- grilled shrimps on a stick, marinated in lime juice and chillies
- grilled chicken satay, you can keep it warm on a rechaud with peanut sauce
-little bowls with cold noodle salad, with cilantro, peanuts, spring onions and small pieces of grilled steak with a lime/chillie/palm sugar dressing
-sushi (of course)
-lychee smoothies (a can of lychees + a little fresh coconut milk + a blender)
-a spicy salad with pineapple, soy bean spouts, green apple, melon and a tamarind/sweet soy sauce/chillie dressing (very very delish)
-shrimp crackers with soy sauce and peanut dip
-curried chicken pieces in small rolls or pita bread
-fish cakes
-coconut rice with mango (as a dessert)

If you like some of these, let me know and I'll write down the recipes.
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Old 03-12-2006, 10:46 AM   #7
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Might want to consider a tapas party.

Buy, or better, borrow a few crockpots to keep a few dishes warm and the rest is room temp.

Just an idea.
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Old 03-12-2006, 02:59 PM   #8
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WOW.... I love the Asian theme. I wasn't planning a party, but I'm so impressed with that menu.... as soon as the weather warms up, the party's on. What super ideas. Thanks Suus.
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Old 03-12-2006, 03:32 PM   #9
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what kind of foods does your hubby like? but wat suus says sounds like a plan :)
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Old 03-12-2006, 03:36 PM   #10
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that is the link for Asian themed menu...(recipes also included)
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Old 03-12-2006, 04:00 PM   #11
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You could also go closer to home and do a Cuban/Latin type theme. I agree to go more tapas style as the food will be easier to serve and eat.

**Cuban sandwiches. Can be made and cut up to finger food size.
**Ceviche. Serve as is or with fried plantain or some other food for scooping/dipping
**Various grilled meat/sausages/seafood with mojo and chimichurri dipping sauces
**Cuban Avocado and Pineapple salad.
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Old 03-12-2006, 05:34 PM   #12
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Here's a couple ideas:

Broccoli Ham Ring
1/4 pound deli ham (in package)
1/4 pound fresh broccoli flowerettes
1 very small onion
1/2 cup fresh parsley
6 oz. grated Swiss cheese
2 TBS Dijon mustard
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) crescent rolls
Preheat oven to 350. Coarsely chop ham, broccoli, and onion. Finely chop parsley. Mix all ingredients (except crescent rolls ) and set aside.
Arrange crescent triangles in a circle on a stone (or on parchment paper and can be done in a straight line too) with bases overlapping in center and points to the outside. There should be a 3" diameter circle in center (unless you do it in a straight line - then it's solid).
Evenly spoon filling over base. Fold points of triangle over filling and tuck under base at center. Filling will not be completely covered. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown

Use peppered ham, horseradish cheddar instead of Swiss, or just add some horseradish. I used my homemade bacon/scallion mustard that was pretty hot and it was great!!

The Sushi Cake is a great recipe for a party. There is no raw fish in it so people who normally wouldn't eat sushi don't have to worry about the "raw" part. It makes a great presentation and is something different and a great introduction to sushi. The directions say you can do this the night before but I think that would make the nori too chewy I would do it 2 3 hours ahead of time but not much more.

Sushi Cake

cup rice wine vinegar
1 TBS coarse salt
2 TBS sugar
3 cup water
3 cups sushi rice
2 TBS mayo
2 tsp. fresh chives, finely chopped
2 TBS powdered wasabi mixed w/ 2 TBS water
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 oz. jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
4 oz. cooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped, plus several more whole for garnish
3 sheets nori
2 TBS pickled ginger, finely shredded, plus more for garnish
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish
radish sprouts, for garnish

1. In a small bowl whisk together vinegar, salt, and sugar; set aside. Place the water and rice in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, until rice has absorbed all water, about 15 minutes.

2. Transfer rice to a large bowl. Stirring constantly, slowly add reserved vinegar mixture until fully incorporated. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally.

3. In a medium bowl whisk together mayonnaise, chives, 2 tsp. wasabi mixture, and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature. Transfer to a nonreactive bowl, and add crab, shrimp, and 1 TBS ginger. Mix well to combine.

4. Toast nori sheets to enhance their flavor: Using tongs, wave each sheet over a gas burner flipping and turning until crisp and darkened in color, 30 to 60 seconds; both changes are subtle, so watch carefully.

5. Assemble cake: Place nori sheet, shiny side down, on a dry work surface, and cover, using moistened fingers, with 2 cups rice. Cover with plastic wrap, level with rolling pin (remove plastic wrap), and brush with wasabi mixture.

Place a nori sheet on top and spread with 1 cup rice. Level with a rolling pin, and brush rice with wasabi mixture.

Arrange crab mixture evenly on top; sprinkle with remaining TBS ginger. Spread with 1 cup rice. Place remaining nori sheet on top; cover with 2 cups rice and level cake with rolling pin. Trim edges, using a wet and sharp knife, and transfer cake to a plate. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Slice in bars.

Wasabi mayonnaise 1 tsp. powdered wasabi mixed with 2 tsp water, 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, cup mayo. Stir and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
You could do crabcakes but do bite-size ones.

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Old 03-12-2006, 06:12 PM   #13
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i **love** the themed finger-foods ideas. the 'heavy appetizer' plan is definately the easiest way to manage a large group of people, especially when it's time for clean-up. in the same situation (i'm throwing my birthday party next weekend), i'll be making salmon on the grill since a)that recipe always gets raves and b)i can afford to feed a lot of people with salmon. i'll also be doing a big basket of veggies on the grill:
cut red onion, broccoli florets, green or yellow squash, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes (add or subtract veggies to suit, vary amounts for number of people you're feeding, and this keeps well in the fridge to go cold over salad in the next day or 2) into chunks. place all the veggies in a plastic sack (the kind from the grocery store is fine), and add a small splash of olive oil, whatever beer or cider or white wine you're drinking at the time (lil bit of vinegar is ok for non-alcohol folks), and a generous dash of either italian seasoning or french provencial herbs. shake bag to coat. tump veggies out into a grill basket, stir every so often till done.

that's the main dish and the side, neither of which require more than a fork and plate to eat. people tend to bring dips/snacks/desserts to bbqs, so the rest is covered.
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Old 03-12-2006, 09:00 PM   #14
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This is my favorite kind of party.
Have a couple of appetizors on hand and make sure everyon get's a good stiff drink (iff you're inclined to such) then get out the munchies.
Let everyone help with the meal...it's good for the bonding thing, and we all seem to have more fun.
I like to have one main course around which everything revolves. It could be anything from a pot of chili or gumbo, a roasted turkey or pork butt...you get the idea.
Then I plan the sides around the main dish. For instance, with chili, We start with hot cheese dip, chips, crudites, and sour cream. I serve sour cream, tortilla chipas, and grated cheddar with the chili.
Of course everyone brings something, which makes the meal that much more interesting.
We get by with a little help from our friends
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:52 AM   #15
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Wow! Thank you all so much for the ideas. My friend and I will get together later today, I can't wait to show her .

Many thanks again. You are a great bunch.
I can resist anything, but temptation. Oscar Wilde
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Old 04-10-2006, 05:50 AM   #16
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Taco bars are always fun and easy. I put out both the fried corn taco shells and/or tostadas, and flour tortillas, then you can go wild with salsas, refried beans, chili, different cheeses, lots of chopped fresh greens, tomatoes, onions. I usually make a vegetarian (bean) chili, and depending on how many people, I'll have seasoned ground beef and maybe chicken or turkey. Of course guacamole. Big bunches of cilantro (something people either love or hate, so it makes a pretty option to have it on the side), a bowl of lime wedges. This makes it so easy to please a lot of people with varying food needs, it is easy to do almost all of it in advance, and it is easy to eat sitting on the floor or lawn.

Easy Margaritas: 1 can limeade. 2 cans 7-up. fill the limeade can with tequila. Mix and freeze overnight. It will freeze only to the perfect consistency (alcohol doesn't freeze). Now you have margaritas and don't need to be sitting at the blender all day.
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