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Cheap-o Entertaining Help Needed

In a few weeks I'm having some of my girl friends over for a apt warming/pool party. Besides cocktails or beer, I want to make some good, albiet cheap munchies for everyone. I don't expect more than 10 people, of those a few are vegetarian & one vegan. Everytime we get together it seems like it is hummus, bean dip, hummus...I want something different, even though I love hummus. The big clincher is that I am on a budget. I'd love to do something under $50 (minus drinks). I have access to a nice farmer's market.

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  1. How about a taco bar? For the vegans you can offer Morning star crumbles. If you live near a COSTCO, they have a great Pollo Asada, that comes in a bag and you just throw it on the grill, or cook it in a pan.

    Shredded cheese, avacado and salsa, you are done and every one does there own thing. I would offer the soft flour tortillas, they are not as messy.

    Or to satisy everyone you can make nachos using the crumble and add SOYRIZO to spice it up. The non-vegis, will not be able to tell the difference and the vegans folks will appreciate it.

    Good luck.

    1. I just did a girls appy night and two friends were vegetarian. I did baguettes cut in half topped with carmelized onions, roasted garlic, olives and goat cheese, then thrown in the oven last minute to warm. (Baguettes, onions and garlic are cheap and you could always substitute goat cheese with feta or no cheese at all). You could also do popcorn and use different seasonings on it, such as lemon pepper, garlic powder mixed in with the melted butter then tossed in the popcorn. Or something refreshing like a watermelon feta salad with red onion, basil and mint.

      1. roasted red peppers on crostini with pesto
        heirloom tomato puff pastry tartlets or puff pastry tartlets with mushroom ragout filling
        big bowl of olives (probably would be the most expensive thing)

        1 Reply
        1. re: charlesbois

          I agree with crostini. Sooo many topping possibilities.
          Duxelle of mushroom
          fresh goat cheese with herbs or roasted peppers
          olive tapenade
          any kind of pesto
          baba ghanoush
          puree of favas with mint and lemon
          english pea puree

        2. A block of cr cheese with a nice pepper jelly is easy and delish.

          Cherry tomatoes on skewers with motz balls and a basil leave, maybe add a cheese tortolini.

          How about a fun pizza party, everyone makes their own.

          Or quasadillas are always cheap and good.

          My favorite is a layered dip (either traditional mexican) or this Italian Layered dip with pesto and sun dried tomatoes:http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

          Have fun.

          1 Reply
          1. re: lexpatti

            Just went to a party and was served a "Mediterranean style" layered dip. It had hummus, crumbled feta cheese, olives, shredded romaine, chopped tomato - can't remember what else, but it was delicious on fresh pita.

          2. Since you have access to a farmer's market, I'd go with as many fresh in-season things I could find. A huge veggie platter with sugar snap peas,grape tomatoes, cucs,zucchini,steamed asparagus,colored peppers,---well you get the idea and your fav. dip would be good. Also stuffed mushrooms, with dif. stuffings so everyone can enjoy them. Small new potatoes, cooked, cut in half, sprinkled with sea salt,a dollop of sour cream and chives is always a hit as well. Have a fun party!