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Can anyone recommend a few good picnick-y dishes for an outdoor first bday party with 50+ guests? thanks!

We'll be making all the food (including cupcakes) ourselves, and would love to keep the budget to $150 or less (I know...). Also, would prefer stuff that we can keep out on the table without worrying about spoilage or keeping it warm. So: cheap, fast/easy/yummy. Thank you!

asked by kyliefmcd over 4 years ago
13 answers 1974 views
19f2e275 c635 488f 8322 530158a23e00  food52
added over 4 years ago

at $3 a plate?? does that include the cupcakes? I would shoot for mini sandwiches. You can do an assortment and cut them up into smaller portions.

E7b6597b db6e 4cae b9f3 699b508f4ed3  036
aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 4 years ago

I would do something like a whole grain salad (farro or quinoa) in a vinaigrette and herb type dressing, with lots of crunchy veggies chopped up in it. No dairy so you don't have to worry so much if it sits out for awhile. And inexpensive!!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 4 years ago

Agree with Benny's point: $3 a plate is not a lot. Does that include beverages, condiments, paper plates, napkins, cutlery? Perhaps some of those 50 attendees could bring pot-luck dishes too? Often people love bringing their "favorite" dishes for others to enjoy - you might need to guide them a bit so you don't wind up with 20 kinds of hummus.
The original Silver Palate cookbook's Chicken Marbella is a famous, reliable party dish, good at any temperature - cold, room temp or hot. Inexpensive if made with chicken thighs and you buy the olives & dried fruit in bulk at a discount store.
This is the cookbook: http://amzn.to/JXCObL. Your library probably has the cookbook and the recipe is also online (although some of the online versions of the recipe are poorly transcribed - i.e., mistakes.)
In any case... have a great party!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added over 4 years ago

p.s.
Here's Oprah's listing for the Chicken Marbella recipe:
http://www.oprah.com/food...

E6f5e079 1551 4472 bc70 dcc35a71edc2  110
added over 4 years ago

I'm going to duck your question for a moment and suggest that you serve everyone a cupcake with one lighted candle, and have the whole group blow them out in the same moment. Whatever you've served before that won't matter much.

Penne salad with chicken, leafy salad with green goddess, crunchy bread.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 4 years ago

How many of the crowd are going to be babies too? Or is this a party for doting friends and relatives? Also bear in mind the time of day - if it's a mid afternoon do, then people should have already eaten lunch, and shouldn't be expecting/wanting a full on meal-stuff to snack on and cake should be enough.
How about some cute hand pies? Cornish pasties, empanadas or something? You can make them well in advance, they're easy to serve, easy to eat, pastry is cheap to make, and you won't need much filling in each one. If you've got a tiny "1" shaped cutter, or some other pretty cutters, you can identify different flavours quickly and easily with a different shape on each sort (I'm guessing you'll need one meat flavour and one veggie? You could make others depending on how much time you want to spend on it)

4798a9c2 4c90 45e5 a5be 81bcb1f69c5c  junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 4 years ago

You can leave most anything out as long as there's no mayonnaise in it! That can cause real problems. However, vinaigrette dressings are delicious on pasta and potato salads, and you can avoid potential food poisoning.

I also echo the sentiment to go "pot luck" rather than to limit yourself to a $3 per person budget. That's a pretty spartan amount if you want to serve any meat at all.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 4 years ago

Cook some quinoa. Add one inch pieces of green bean and chopped walnuts. Season with salt, pepper, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Proportions don't matter- do to taste. Can sit out.

120fa86a 7a24 4cc0 8ee1 a8d1ab14c725  me in munich with fish
added over 4 years ago

Pot luck it! So much fun and you wind up with a great variety of dishes. What's more, people usually make their specialty, which is often a good thing.

3ddcf1f9 8533 4b38 93c8 64fb451abc56  fb avatar
added over 4 years ago

Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions!! We're going with a partial potluck, and luckily (should I say "unfortunately"?) a few people can't make it so now we're down to 35. Phew. Thanks again, everyone! (Bugbitten, I love your suggestion about the birthday candles--what a sweet idea.)

E6f5e079 1551 4472 bc70 dcc35a71edc2  110
added over 4 years ago

Not sure if the candle/cupcake thing was my idea, or just grew over me out of your question, or was something that actually happened on Sesame Street in about 1981. Anyway, it's yours now.

0f493ab9 068f 4498 ba2c 95c992214d52  sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 4 years ago

While certainly not in the 'foodie' catagory. Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, coleslaw are good cheap combo for the budget. A small crock pot can keep the beans warm an amazingly long time without power (which I wouldn't suggest with kids running around and extension cords). Chafing dishes would be safe for the beans and hot dogs warmed with sterno--which is pretty safe with large stable chafing dishes just be sure no table decoration can get to the flame, slaw in a chafing dish with an ice water bath can keep outside, Or the pasta salads, and green salads. You can switch out the baked beans for corn on the cob as another option: cutting the corn in thirds or half before boiling and serving for small hands or appitites. Or switch out the hot dogs for some of the meatball recipes here (a bit labor intensive tho).

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 4 years ago

How about pesto pasta or a super simple edamame bean salad (edamame beans, corn--you can use frozen, and cherry tomatoes). A wheatberry salad, of which there are a few on this site, or a curried Israeli couscous salad might also be nice. Going in a different direction, I am also a sucker for a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you can get some great strawberry or cherry jam, fresh peanut or cashew butter, and good whole grain bread, go for it. Cut into fours, there's nothing better. That said, on 3 dollars a person good jam and PB might also be hard. BUt definitely easier than chicken, meat, or fish.