Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 14, 2007 11:14 AM

Housewarming on a budget

We're having about 30 people over to an early-evening housewarming party next weekend, and our total budget is 200 bucks. Ideally, I'd like to have an assortment of finger foods/appetizers, a couple salads/cold dishes, perhaps a quiche, another main-type dish, and assorted desserts. Also, it's going to be vegetarian. Priorities are that there be a variety or tastes, textures, temps etc -- and that things be easily taken and eaten (i.e. lots of finger food). Here's what I've been thinking:

Baked Brie (either with apricot and caramelized onion or with raspberry preserves)
Spinach and Feta turnovers
Artichoke spread and Tomato confit on crostini

Asian slaw or asian noodles (which?)
spinach, pear and gorgonzola salad

Quiche (broccoli? asparagus goat cheese?) or mini quiches?
Other main?

lemon bars
apple pie?
sand dollars or other cookie
double chocolate cookies

Ok -- I'd love any suggestions/critiques you have!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. What about making a roasted vegetable torte for the main course? Barefoot Contessa/Ina Garten has a great recipe that you make in a cake pan in layers. It's easy, delicious, and beautiful presentation. You can google and get the recipe. I've also added a pesto/goat cheese layer with success. She suggests to serve it on a cake stand which looks so nice on a buffet table. It also isn't very expensive to make which should help with your overall budget. You could also keep the appetizers very simple ( so that you enjoy yourself) and just put out a large bowl of pistachios and homeade marinated olives.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JennyHunter

      I love the vegetable torte idea -- thanks! And the pistachios/olives thing is also appealing, but then again, I do love making the apps - they're just fun. Truthfully, if this week's cooking club theme weren't finger food, I'd be doing an entirely finger-food menu.

      1. re: tastytamarind

        The torte is so easy and makes such a stunning presentation. I make it for my Sister in Law who is a vegetarian at holiday time. I think vegetarians appreciate something special made just for them. It's great served at room temp which is also a plus for a party.

    2. just to update:
      yes on the vegetable torte, the artichoke/tomato app, and at least one of the listed salads. Any recs for another salad, a possible other main, and which of the desserts are best?

      2 Replies
      1. re: tastytamarind

        What about something with portabello mushrooms? They are already pre-portioned, a little different than everything else so far, easily made as upscale (blue cheese or some other kind of fancier cheese) or as 'normal' as you'd like.

        Also - I have made these eggplant roulades too:
        Eggplant sliced lengthwise, salted, and grilled
        Put a bit of mozzarella (or any kind of cheese) at one end of the eggplant slice, then a sliver of roasted red pepper and a sun dried tomato. Roll up eggplant to make a little roulade. Place roulades in a baking dish. You can top with tomato sauce (if you do this I recommend adding lots of garlic and some red pepper flakes for lots of flavor) or with a goat-cheese-bechamel.
        Bake until everything is warm and bubbly. Yum!

        1. re: tastytamarind

          How about edamame succotash? I can post the recipe, I make it every Thanksgiving and people love it. If you live near a TJs you can get almost everything for short money. The TJs frozen corn is really superior to any others I've tried out there. The salad is bright and makes a great presentation!
          Just a thought as well, for easy sweet idea, how about homemade caramel corn? I made that for a party this weekend and is was gone FAST. EASY and very yummy.

        2. Hi there - if going veggie on a budget why not make some hummus? That is one of my all time fave go to's when on a budget. A can of chick peas costs a buck, takes minutes to make and makes lots. Another great cheap veggie option is green onion cakes - they always seem to dissapear when I serve them. I'd be happy to share my recepies if needed :)

          PS: I also have agreat old family for a wild rice, broccoli/cheddar casserole that is always a hit if you're interested :)

          2 Replies
          1. re: eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife

            Do you mean the Chinese-style scallion pancakes? I'd love a recipe.

            1. re: piccola

              Yes I do - they are so fast and cheap to make and crows dig them :)

              I am heading to bed for the nite but will post my recipe tomorow!

          2. For your dessert selection, how about the spoon cookies that are on epicurious. I extol the virtues of these whenever I can because they are so good. I skip the filling -- just make them plain. They are pretty easy to make and the best thing is they benefit from being made ahead. Make them a week ahead and store in metal tins or really tight tupperware. They benefit from some aging. People love these.

            1. Previous posts have covered mains and appetizers better than I could have... I have two ideas re desserts:

              Kahula/Baileys trifle: marinated chocolate cake layered with chocolate mousse, whipping cream and toffee bits. This dish gets a wow every time and most ingredients (aside from say the whipping cream) are found in most people's pantries...


              Shortbreads: can be made in a variety of flavours, less wow factor but easy and cheap.
              I served them (and the trifle in mini cups) at a baby shower this past weekend. Variations were: chocolate swirl, traditional and a caramel and chocolate topped shortbread.

              HTH Be sure to let us know how it turned out :)