I have my hubby's 30th bday in 2 weeks and I need help with the menu planning!

I have rented a hall so that we can fit everyone in and have access to their kitchen. I don't mind being stuck in the kitchen before the party, but I'd like to have things prepped with minimal effort to complete during the party. I've got tons of freezer room if you have suggestions for make now bake later too. I'm going with finger food/appetizers to keep it casual. Thanks a million!!!

Nicole Swenson


Author Comment
I posted the kinds of finger foods I usually serve at my own parties here: http://christinascucina.blogspot.com/2012/12/cocktail-party-finger-food-small-bites.html I like to make everything myself, so yes, making things ahead of time is a must. Good luck!
MaryDD May 3, 2013
I've made the bacon wrapped water chesnuts on this site a few times and they are really good! And they have such simple ingredients. You could probably make them, freeze them and then bake them from frozen? I would freeze them on a cookie sheet and then bag them after they are frozen.
AntoniaJames May 2, 2013
The blue cheese and fig savouries are a real crowd pleaser. I keep a log of the dough, well wrapped, in my freezer at all times because everyone, even people who say they don't like blue cheese, loves them. http://food52.com/recipes/8010-fig-and-blue-cheese-savouries And they take almost no time at all to bake up. The dough can be made and wrapped and kept in the fridge for four or five days ahead of the day you bake them. Also, you can use marmalade if you don't have any fig jam. Have fun! ;o)
Kristen W. May 2, 2013
I like an antipasto platter with roasted veg, good cheese, and some cured meat. Put some good balsamic and EVOO out with it, and it's good to go at rom temperature.
Author Comment
Similar to ChefJune, we make a big pot of our family (spaghetti) "sauce" ahead of time, or a big pot of chili. A nice salad, some good bread and a selection of appetizers will round it out. Sauce or chili also work well if you have folks coming and going. Dessert, depending on the weather, can be cake (of course) or you can do cobblers, clafoutis, or a sundae bar if you want something different.
ChefJune May 2, 2013
When I've done parties like that, I also serve one "big dish" like a pot of Red Beans and Rice, or a couple of casseroles of Turkey Tetrazzini or Pastitsio that are done ahead and just heated before serving. I bring out the Big Dish about 1/2 way through the evening. I also recommend going to to Recipes section of this site and browsing through the appetizers. I think you'll get a lot of great ideas, if not all the recipes you will possibly need.

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savorthis May 2, 2013
I love doing a make your own taco bar for those kinds of parties. We typically do grilled, chopped chicken thigh, carnitas, and/or rib eye which can be brought out warm and everything else can be cold or room temp: a few salsas, pickled onions and jalapenos, cabbage slaw, cheese, avocado, tortillas etc. Depending on the style of the party you can dress it up or down with your ingredients.
Nicole S. May 2, 2013
Great idea! Love this one too!
MaryDD May 3, 2013
You could also do some of these meats in crock pots...
ZombieCupcake May 2, 2013
http://food52.com/recipes/11937-sweet-potato-salmon-cakes-with-chipotle-mayo These are good and can be made ahead then reheated. http://food52.com/recipes/7801-potato-mushroom-caramelized-onion-pierogi and I just made this recipe this week awesome if you like indian food and meatballs always good finger food http://food52.com/recipes/6198-chicken-meatball-tikka-masala
Nicole S. May 2, 2013
Thanks for the recipe ideas. I think we may share the same snack style!
JanetFL May 2, 2013
You might want to click on "recipes" and, once that page comes up, click on "appetizers". You'll find lots of great ideas to consider. Another thought - would casual Italian food work? For example, you can make lasagna ahead and freeze it. Complete the meal with salad and garlic bread for an easy party.
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