We're having a Halloween party and expect to have about 50-75 guests. I'm looking for some INEXPENSIVE food ideas (besides candy ;) to feed everyone. We don't have access to any steam tables to keep everything warm but I want to feed them something hot as it will be an indoor/outdoor party. We had chili and chicken noodle soup last year, it went over really well. Any ideas??
We serve jambalaya at our Mardi Gras party each year. It's mostly rice so it stretches your food dollars. We make it with boneless skinless chicken breasts and sausages cut into bite size pieces.
The day before the party we brown the sausage, remove it to a large bowl, brown the chicken in the sausage fat then add it to the sausage, then cook the veggies in the meat drippings. Refrigerate it all, then the next day add it all to the rice, broth, tomatoes and spice. It's tasty, easy, and economical.
If you're feeling ghoulish, the wire fence border that has a scalloped top and stands about two feet tall can be covered with butcher paper to make personalized headstones for your guests. We've found these make great lawn decorations.
We just had a big football party for the evening game (giants/eagles) last sunday for about 30+ people. Among other entrees that we prepared, I would say the easiest and most popular was the carnitas. I made a huge batch (about 9 pounds of meat) out of pork shoulder the day before. Then I just rewarmed the pork in the oven for about 20 minutes and put it out on the buffet table with small corn tortillas and lots of taco fixings. You can also do warm mini sandwiches with an inexpensive cut of beef braised (brisket) or grilled (tri-tip). Slice the beef and serve on warm rolls. Finally, the first thing to go at any party is pigs in a blanket (i know, i know, but like it or not, it's always the case). you could do larger entree versions with gourmet sausages and pizza dough with different dipping sauces. Assembled ahead of time and baked before the party, these would do well warm and later at room temp. Good luck!
CrockPots are essential for hot party foods. I use them for hot chili, don't forget the chopped onions, shredded cheese, and sour cream for the top. A nice corn bread on the side.
Another favorite is seafood chowder, with hot biscuts.
You could combine the two and serve them in mugs. Easy to carry and walk.
Make a roasted butternut squash pizza. You can buy the dough for a few bucks; squash is dirt cheap this time of year; so are onions (another topping). Use pesto (or no-name cheese) as a base. To add kick, sprinkle with chili flakes.