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Inexpensive but GOOD Party Trays!

You blink and it's Christmas around the corner. Wifey demanded a boxing day party! (well, she is right in saying so!) So, let's put the chow-brains to work!

I am looking for food that I don't have to cook. Reheating is fine, but I prefer most to be already done!

I don't have a large budget so I can't afford it to be cartered.

We are estimating a 50-75 people walk thru Open house. So that also means that food has to be able to be reheated or okay room-temperture. I am good with dessert. (It pays to have a great baker friend!)

We like all kind of food. So varity is good. Suggestion? Party trays that worked well for your parties? Maybe even recipes which is so simple even I can do ;) Thanks guys!!

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  1. Would you consider the trays from Congee Star or Congee Queen if you are anywhere near the Don Mills hood? I believe they cost 28.88 and each feed between 5 and 8 people so a few of them would make a nice spread. Not sure about the room temp thing tho, would have to check the menu to see which items sit out well.

    3 Replies
    1. re: neighborguy

      I live right in the hood. And Congee Star is my favorite Chinese restaurant in the area. Good Call! thanks!!

      1. re: neighborguy

        I'm intrigued - what do they put on their party trays?

        1. re: peppermint pate

          i believe it's just a supersize of one dish. (fried rice/noodle. they have a list) It's actually a good chow.

      2. There is going to be a lot of "flak" from the Pickle barrel haters here, but last year we had them deliver party trays for our in house staff party.
        The price was very reasonable and the food was fresh and tasty.
        Can't remember all, but turkey, deli, coleslaw, potato salad, party sandwiches, a couple of interesting salads, if I recall one was Greek.
        Large platters of cut up fruit.
        I am only recommending them for the cold buffet.
        We are using them again this year.
        I ordered from the main location on Leslie, as having once eaten at the Yorkdale branch I would never return there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: erly

          Pickle Barrel is great, and VERY reasonable for that.

        2. What about the party trays from Costco? Personally haven't tried them but they look to be a good deal.

          1. My easy party favourites:

            Hummus and Baba ganoush with Pita from Akram's on Baldwin in Kensington Market - just cup up the pita into pie slice shapes - cheap and simple. You can also serve dips (just buy the SummerFresh ones from the grocery store - roasted red pepper, asiago with artichoke are my faves). You can also purchase those cut up veggies and dips at Dominion (and probably other grocery stores) and just use the SummerFresh ones to dip the veggies too. Also get some fruit trays there.

            Samosas from the grocery store - not sure what they are called but they come in packages of 25 for 3 bucks - it's a steal. You just have to pop them in the oven and serve it with some jalapeno jam mixed with rice vinegar.

            Guacamole and Salsa with Blue Corn Nacho chips - guac is so easy to make: peel and squash 2 avocados, cut up a couple of sprigs of coriandar, mince half a red onion and a tomato, add a couple of cloves of finely chopped garlic, et voila. Buy some Herndez salsa (very authentic) from the grocery store. Buy the organic blue corn nacho chips - you can really taste the difference!

            Go to Globo cheese store in Kensington (or a cheese monger at the St. Lawrence Market) and ask them to recommend cheeses for a tray according to your budget and according to the number of people you want to feed. They will walk you through it. Then buy a variety of olives, crackers, other savouries, which can all be found at that same cheese monger.

            Go to the dry food store in the market (Kensington or St. Lawrence) buy walnuts, pistachios, cashews, and other mixed snacks.

            Get assorted artisan breads from ACE bakery.

            Buy lots of prepared salads from a gourmet shop.

            Usually my guests are happy with appy spreads especially if it's an open door party with that many people...

            Good luck!

            1. What about picking up 100 or so samosas from Samosa King? While they are best hot, they are still tasty at room temperature. 5 for $1 and they beat anything you'll get at a grocery store. You can buy them ahead of time and freeze them if you don't have time to run up to Scarborough the day of the party.