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Surprise B-Day menu

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I'm planning a surprise party for my boyfriend and need a little help with the menu. I will be his escort to the big "SURPRISE", which means i will not be there to heat, plate, and otherwise do preparation stuff before the event. Here are the stats:

-About 25-30
-Have 2 people who can help re-warm, plate up food b4 the party
-we're all real foodies, so any menu type is in play
-A mix a finger food and real food (I'm assuming that attendees are assuming party includes dinner)
-within a reasonable budget
-Rewarms well or served at room temperature
-Items can be freezed and/or prepared 2-3 days in advance, anddon't require real "set up" expertise

Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks

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  1. Howabout some meatballs in sauce in a crock pot? Cook the meatballs ahead of time, then throw in the crock pot with a bunch of sauce. Serve with rolls and sliced cheese (provolone, mozz).
    You can also do this with sliced beef for roast beef sandwiches. Leave the sliced beef in beef broth and serve with rolls, cheese and horseradish.

    I'm not sure if you're looking for casual or a little more fancy...

    Wings also reheat very well and can be made ahead of time.
    Have a cheese plate with a few nice cheeses, roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes, sun dried tomatoes in oil and crostini.
    Lasagna can be made ahead and easily rewarmed.
    Same with Swiss Chicken Cutlet, and it will feed a crowd: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1739,...

    1. Mini sandwiches are always good, and can stand to be served cold or at room temp. Here are a few easy ones:

      Turkey and boursin with roasted red peppers
      Chicken Salad
      Hummus, cucumbers and sprouts
      Roast beef and cheddar with horseradish and mayo

      Add some nice antipasti and cheese plates, and you're good to go!

      1. My sister invited about 20 people over for dinner after we were going to be out all day. I thought she was nuts but she put two pans of pork shoulder butt, whole chilies, onions and garlic in the oven the night before (they were in about 20 hours), and served them shredded with tortillas, Spanish rice and pinto beans (could be made ahead in rice cooker and crock pot), and a huge array of toppings: salsa, different shredded cheeses, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, and I can't remember what all else. I think you could prep all the toppings ahead except the avocado. It was delicious, easy and cheap and everyone loved it. I can get the pork recipe if you want it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GretchenS

          Please post the pork recipe. This is a great idea!

        2. Love the shreddded pork butt idea and i think it would be fun for everyone to do their own thing.....perhaps with some steamed tamales (my friend can get that going ahead of time) and jugs of sangria, we'll be alright..

          also, i think the wing idea is swell as well...he's a wingman for sure and I recently made a to die for japanese wing recipe...good thinking..

          Any more ideas???

          1. You can make some salmon wrapped in fillo dough. I usually make a big serving size but there's no reason you can't make them bite size.
            First you'd have to make a green sauce . I usually get some yogurt,cilantro,lime juice,salt & jalapeno & process it. I usually improvise on this. I start with the yogurt & do everything else to taste.
            Once you have your green sauce refrigerate until ready to use.
            Take your salmon & cut into bite size pieces.
            Clarify some butter & let cool.
            Take 4 pieces of fillo. Brush butter on 1 sheet & then repeat with remaining sheets. Now you have to figure out how big you want to cut your pieces. 2"x3" will give you a nice spring roll size. Brush your fillo square with butter around edges, place salmon off center, top w/ sauce & roll up spring roll style. Brush w/ butter & freeze until ready to bake.
            Since they're so small bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until they are a nice golden brown.

            1. How about an "around the world" theme... Some suggestions...
              -Dim Sum dumplings, spring rolls (non-fried, served chilled anyhoo), maybe Chinese Chicken Salad in those cute to-go boxes and leave dressing on the side, so it doesn't soggify over the evening
              -Falafel, kebabs (veggies, chicken, meat), hummus, baba bhanoush, pita
              -Toasted ravioli, antipasti, grilled eggplant stacked w/ feta or mozzarella, basil, roasted peppers and/or sundried tomatoes
              -Mini sliders, braised meat of some sort, baked sweet potato fries, roasted veggies
              -Stuffed mushrooms, Cassoulet (easily reheated), mini quiches, ratatouille (easily heated), fondue, baked cheese/brie in a bread casing
              All just ideas...