Cheap and Easy Snack Ideas for a Social Hour?
I am the social chair for my graduate program and I host a monthly social hour for grad students to get together and have some drinks. I serve beer, wine and soda but we're working on a low budget. I usually plan for around 50 people and have done chips, pretzels, and usually a cheese plate. The cheese is a hit. With the alcohol, I usually get to spend around 200 dollars. I love being hostess and I love to cook, but is hard to do on a budget for that many people. Plus, I don't have a ton of time to put things together considering I'm a student. Any ideas for any easy to throw together snacks/appetizers/munchies that aren't going to break the bank? Thanks for the suggestions!
People always seem to like hummus drizzled with a little olive oil and baked pita chips (cut up pita halves into triangles, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and parmesan cheese, bake until crisp). You could also do a white bean dip -- lots of recipes on the web, but mainly pureed canned white beans, olive oil lemon juice and garlic. Very yummy with crackers and veggies.
You can do a lot with $200 for 50. Go to Sam's or Costco. Get a big bag of meat balls, or two. You can cook those up with a sauce made of equal parts of carsup and beer. Let them simmer until the sauce is thick, you can also do that with those "Little Smokies" sausages. Pimento Cheese as a dip with celery sticks, Make up a big bowl of Ranch Dressing, I posted one I made with yogurt last week but Epicurious has a bunch of recipes and it is quick and easy to do. Serve with more cut up assorted veggies, some people will dip pretzels and chips into it too. Baba Ganoush is pretty quick and easy to make well chilled with pita chips is a pleaser. A welcome relief from over done Hummous. Maybe a fruit salad? Another thought is if you can get a good buy on chicken breasts is chicken satays maybe grilled with a peanut sauce? Oh and I almost for got. Deviled eggs. Who turns those down and eggs are cheap. Be sure that they are not too fresh. Look for some that are close to the sell by date. They will peel much more easily. If you have to get super-fresh eggs leave them (raw) out on the counter for a day or two which will age them quickly.
Hope that helps.