Monday, November 8, 2010

Party Food

Chris and I are throwing our first ever party on Saturday night. We have had friends over for dinner many times, but it has never been more than one couple at a time. And Thanksgiving is don't have to be that creative with the meal...although I have been pretty creative with the deserts and potato preparation (My father in law can't have dairy at all.)

As of right now, we may have three couples and four children that come over to play! At first I was thinking burgers and dogs, but am now thinking "no way" on that idea. I don't really like hot dogs and burgers are a challenge in our house right now. Chris and I are at war over the size of the burger, the cooking method (Weber grill or gas grill), the temperature at which to cook them, and finally the temperature at which consumption is safe. I think it's just best to not have burgers in front of guests so as to avoid the...errr...loud discussion that usually ensues.

So, what should I make?
  • Ribs are good, but also very subjective (one person's yummy could be another person's yucky).
  • The skirt steak with salsa verde from Thursday was pretty awesome, but if you have a garlic aversion, you will go hungry
  • What if we did a "make your own chicken?" I could chop up a bunch of garlic and herbs, have the liquids ready (EVOO, salad dressings, tabasco, etc) and let everyone marinate their own chicken breast in whatever cooties they want. We can put toothpicks in them w/ little flags so we can tell them apart and if they are all the same size, regardless of the marinade, they will take the same amount of time to cook.
  • Even though I lived in Texas, twice, Tex-Mex isn't really my thing. I love to eat it, but can't create it to my specifications.
  • What about a "build your own" with an Italian theme? Different noodles, sauces, toppings, sausages, etc. That could be fun...and could include mac & cheese for any kiddos who come.
Ok, I am really looking for a fun, creative and impressive idea. I have never cooked for any of these friends before and I want to put my best foot forward so they will want to come back. And I love to cook! So, suggestions? And forward the blog along to your friends too. I want to hear what the world thinks!


  1. Oh, what about Fondue? Is that too hard with a group this size? I have 2 fondue pots. And I don't like the meat in oil...just veggies and bread and pre-cooked meat that can be dipped in cheese.

  2. We were invited to a gathering where the host purchased Taco Salad bowls from a local restaurant (Green Spot). The host had cooked chicken, burger, fresh chopped tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, etc., all the other usual taco salad making stuff, a build-it-your way thing.

    I LOVE the idea of a pasta building party, and the kids would we wild about it. I would use a smaller pasts shape, not strings. All you would have to do is a salad and a dessert, S'mores come to mind! Who doesn't like chocolate? Or cupcakes that everyone could frost with their favorite topping, keeping that build your own thing going, or ice cream with several toppings???

    I hope Sue Pung responds with her "mashed potato" bar, which I have never had or done, but it sound easy, fun and adult/kid friendly.

    Whatever you do I hope you have a ball, and really, don't worry, friends, real friends are very forgiving if everything isn't "perfect".

  3. Jessica, I think we do the mashed potato bar in martini glasses for Christmas Eve. It's fun AND yummy! But what goes with it? Gotta have a protein of some sort. And I think decorate your own cupcake would be a hoot! Even for the adults!

  4. I think your mom got the mashed potato bar idea from me....I got it from the great chefs at the Grand Hotel. You can use mugs for the kids. Explain that guests should make small servings s they can have several "flavors." For protien...cheese, sour cream, plain greek yogurt, bacon, ham, shrimp, lobster, or taco meat. For the traditional (read not brave) guests you can do roast beef or turkey with available gravy. There are websites that list maybe 50 ingredients that you can include.

    You could serve fresh berries or a green salad as part of the apps to cover that food group.

    It sounds like fun!

  5. Love that potato idea. But, the italian theme sounds great, too. It sounds like you really want it to be somewhat interactive (meaning the guests are involved in the process?) If you do want something with not too much prep, you could do a variety of gourmet hot dogs, brats, italian sausages, veg dogs (with sides). Check out this site for fun combos( cheese, grey poupon, and pear! You could type up little cards with all the different dog names/ingredients (maybe name them something relevant to your party/friends) so folks could put together a couple of really different dogs. OH, and definitely cut the buns and dogs in half, so people could do more smaller servings to get variety.

  6. What ever you do, make it easy on yourself. I like the dog variety that Kellie had. Easier to eat on laps while watching kids. Make your own cupcakes is perfect too. Potato bar is always fun and that can always be make ahead but it takes away Chris' fun with the grill. I love fondue but it is difficult with children around and hard if you have more than 6 people. Good wishes!