Recommended Party Food Ideas
Back in ye olden days, there was a time when part of my blissfully suburban existence included hosting at least ten big parties a year. Because I LOVE TO PARTY. I love to feed people (I'm a Feeder with a capital "F") and the best part is that when you host, you don't have to fight over who drives home. You can just crack open another bottle of wine.
So, here are some last minute menu ideas for Christina:
1. LASAGNA - I know it sounds basic, but it's honestly the most ideal party food ever conceived. You can make it a day in advance and throw it in the oven while you run around like a crazy lady on the day of your big event. It tastes good hot, warm AND cold and is a complete "meal" all in one dish.
I've been honing my own recipe for so long that I'd actually have to make it before I could write it down, but Pioneer Woman's Lasagna is a good place to start. You can go crazy from there, too and modify it to fit with the foodie/non-foodie-ness of your crowd. I make mine with three meats (spicy sausage, lean beef and veal) and add a special layer of garlic-sauteed button mushrooms if I'm feeling fancy.
My suggestion is to make two lasagnas: one traditional and one either vegetarian or white lasagna. I think it goes without saying that you should use those noodles that you don't need to boil, but here's the party trick I love to pull out of my hat: BAKE THEM IN A DISPOSABLE PAN. You know those aluminum foil dealies you find at the grocery store? BUY THOSE. Because if you're anything like me, you're going to be tipsy and all those dishes are gonna sit until Monday. This will save you the trouble of drunken scrubbing. (I once ruined a Calphalon non-stick pan in a post-party margarita haze.)
2. MEAT BALLS - This is another dish you can easily make in advance. I'm a fan of Giada DiLaurentii's recipe. Or if you're not big on from-scratch cooking, just run down to IKEA and buy a few bags of theirs. The trick is to pre-cook them and then make a killer sauce.
Cook the meatballs according to your recipe, glaze them with the sauce and throw them in the oven to warm them before serving. Easy!
3. PASTA SALADS - Particularly for a lunch party, I often just throw together 2-3 types of pasta salad and call it a day. One thing I've learned over and over again is that people RARELY eat green salads at a party, so skip those. Party food should be hearty and delicious, not healthy and nutritious. That's what the crudite plate is for.
My mushroom orzo pasta is usually a hit, too.Orzo
Another party trick, particularly when there are kids in attendance, is to make a bunch of Annie's organic mac 'n cheese and then throw it into your crock pot to keep it warm. The adults will mack it down even faster than the kids, I promise.
4. BAKED POTATO BAR - Baked potatoes are the perfect base for you to get creative. You can throw a few dozen of them into the oven ahead of time and keep them on warm until your guests are ready to eat. Then you can go crazy with your toppings. Cheese (try melted velveeta!), chili, sour cream, salsa, seasoned beef, guacamole, bacon (duh), pesto, tomato sauce, seasoned butter(s). I'd even set out some sweet chili Thai sauce and see what combinations people come up with.
5. DIY PIZZA - I do this often, but usually for smaller parties since I only have a single oven.3278021858_00150ddac7_oIt's easy to make several mini pizza doughs, set out big bowls of toppings and let people go to town with their pizzas. Put each slab of dough onto a piece of parchment and let people get creative with their shapes. The kids love it too!
Get Portuguese ingredients
Anyone else have good party menu ideas?