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Easy food for a party?

I am having a birthday party at my house. It will be about 40 people in their 20's that will be drinking heavily. I want to make food thats good for a crowd and not too difficult to serve or make. I was thinking pulled pork sandwiches, ziti, dips and easy one bite appetizers like stuffed mushrooms. I want something I can make in bulk and ideally the night before. Any ideas?

asked by Jandres over 2 years ago
7 answers 1030 views
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Miranda Rake

Miranda is a contributor at Food52.

added over 2 years ago

I always go for big hunks for 3 or 4 cheeses for ease and alcohol-soaking up purposes. Loads of crackers and cheese take almost no work wich is awesome. Hummus is always part of my party spread too - I make a huge batch of it the night before. I never use a recipe but I just buy a ton of garbonzos (as many as will fit in the cuisinart) and add tahini, lots of lemon juice and olive oil and salt to taste (lots). Sometimes I throw in cayenne and/or smoky paprika if I have it. I always make way more than I ever think people will be able to eat, and it always disappears. I put it out with potato chips (lots of gluten-free friends= no pita) and various vegetables for dipping. I hope this is helpful! I guess the main thing too, is that you want to just relax and have fun at your party so I am a big fan of buying a lot (cheese, olives, crackers) and making one or two simple things (hummus!). If everyone is drinking heavily, they probably won't really appreciate all the work that goes into pulled pork sandwiches and stuffed mushrooms (delicious though they sound!).

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added over 2 years ago

Spinach and Artichoke Dip is a great crowd pleaser, and holds up well to drinks of all sorts. I've got an easy recipe at home, if you'd like it email me andrew.kucko[at]gmail.com. Calamari is also good; not necessarily make-ahead, but you can prepare it ahead and then it takes just a couple minutes to make. Bruschetta is also a good call.

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added over 2 years ago

Sorry for being self-promotional, but perhaps you will find this useful: http://theroamingkitchen...

On Food52, I've made both of these for exactly the crowd you describe to huge success: http://food52.com/recipes... and http://food52.com/recipes...

Lastly, happy birthday! It is my birthday this weekend also, and I am throwing the same party you are :)

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added over 2 years ago

40 heavily drinking 20 something's...so basically you want ideas for how to feed a swarm of locusts ;). Your ideas sound fine. when I did similar grad school parties I liked to do some kind of "make your own" bar because it provides a nice focal point and ice-breaker and people can adjust for their dietary needs. (inevitably you have a vegetarian, a gluten intolerant, a lactose intolerant, and someone who doesn't ear pork for religious reasons). This way you don't have to worry about them.
For cheap and popular, I recommend make your own tacos. The Barbacoa beef cheek tacos with pickled onions on this site are delicious and easy. (sub any cheap cut of beef stew meat). make it in a crock-pot the night before and put it on the serving table on the warm setting. If you can borrow a second crock-pot, you could also do a pot of beans in a chipolte adobe sauce. Serve with a big stack of small tortillas, pickles onions, shredded lettuce, quest fresco....make a big batch of salsa and guacamole to serve with chips. maybe a fun one bite like devils on hatchback...or stuffed jalapeƱo peppers... You can do everything except the guacamole and the one bites the day before. Then all you have to do is reheat, plate, an chill the drinks!
Oh, and it is a nice touch to serve something warm around 2am when you want everyone to sober up and get the heck out of your living room. The fennel and white bean dip with baguette would be good....

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added over 2 years ago

I like the things you suggested! And most of them are things you could make ahead of time and bake and plate right before the party. I'd just add a huge mixed green salad to your menu and call it a day.

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Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Scotch Eggs. A great late night 'drinking' snack...with beer.
You can prep the day before. A dozen eggs, boiled and peeled. A couple of pounds of prepared mild breakfast sausage.
Roll out the sausage in wax paper into disks and wrap those around the peeled boiled eggs. So the egg is completely coated in a shell of sausage.
Here you can save for the final step for the next day. Roll in bread crumbs. (yes, you can use premade bread seasoned crumbs)
Put on a wire rack and bake 375 until the sausage is cooked.
It's a finger food and a breakfast.
These are normally deep fried...but baking them works well.
Let them cool a bit...and slice into quarters for service.

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added over 2 years ago

I think bruschetta is a great idea as well. And you can go with all sorts of different toppings.
Do some with traditional tomatoes, maybe some with caramelized onions and goat cheese...

If you're doing the pulled pork sandwiches, maybe throw in a pasta salad perhaps?