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E-A-S-Y, no brainer, Party Food for 100 ?

Does anyone have any super easy party foods that can be thrown together quickly and easily?

I don't have a lot of time to spend prepping and not a lot of money to order platters.

I'm helping out some friends with their party this weekend and feeling lost as to what to serve.

Planning on getting cheese, fruit and veggies... not sure what else to do.

Would love to do easy finger foods, but nothing terribly complicated.

Will be trying to do a couple dips (spinach/artichoke & hummus w/ pita).

All ideas are greatly appreciated!

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  1. if you have guys in the party, braise some boneless rib meat or meatballs (in decent chucks), and make a light slaw = mini rib sliders! and if you are really up to it, you can make your own buns, but totally optional..

    there is always spicy tuna sashimi cubes. super easy.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jeniyo

      I did this for a party of 30+. A crock pot of pulled pork I made the day before, some mini party rolls from the grocery store, some coleslaw, a pickle slice and they disappeared.

      I also did mini burgers on the same buns and mini hot dogs using cocktail weenies, a cornichon wedge, a 1/4 of a cherry tomato and a teensy dollop of mustard.

      The crucial part of this was finding the mini party rolls. They came in sheets of 24 and I could slice and prepare whole batches at once. I even had my 11 year old niece making batches during the party.

    2. - meatballs (chicken, turkey, pork or beef) on toothpicks
      - mini salmon cakes (canned salmon is relatively budget-friendly, and the quality is certainly better than canned crab!)
      - black bean dip with corn tortilla chips: http://www.chow.com/recipes/24426
      - baba ghannouj and muhammara are additional dip options for the pita chips

      1. Roasted baby bliss potatoes. Dip in sea salt and pepper, or cut in half and top w/ sour cream and...your choice - put out toppings, if you wish. If shrimp is on sale, get a few pounds and do peel and eat shrimp. Get small taco shells and set up a mini-taco bar (seasoned,cooked ground beef, chopped onions, iceberg lettuce, salsa, crema and you could splurge with a few avocados .) Get a fondue pot, select an appropriate sauce toput into it and let people dip raviolis or tortellinis.

        1. Bacon wrapped dates with almonds in the center are classic, easy...and taste darned good at room temp.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Funwithfood

            I make these for all my parties and my friends love them. THey take a little time to assemble, but I get my husband to help and then stick them in the oven and forget about them for a little while. They are finea t room temperature, and fabulous drizzled with chili oil after the fact.

            Also: I make crostini (or you could buy them), smear with mango chutney, top half with a piece of black forest ham and the other half with a slice of cheddar. These go over REALLY well.

          2. 100 people is a big crowd! Not sure if this is drinks and snacks or what, but do you need dessert? Mounds of cookies, store-bought ice cream, a couple scoopers, and people can make their own ice cream sandwiches.

            Softened cream cheese mixed with a good amount of semi-drained horseradish makes a great dip for pretzels.

            1. What about "Smorgastarta"? A super-size, layered sandwich that is yummy and attractive:


              1. Last time's 100 plus single handed:

                Huge pot of from scratch black beans, cooked in with kale and lots of cut up beef sausage.
                Huge pot of rice.
                Big bowls of chopped cilantro & diced red chiles.
                Served rice-topped-with-beans in sturdy disposable plastic bowls (along with plastic table spoons) and topped with cilantro and chile by request.
                Well seasoned to go along with the drinking.

                Big hit, easy peasy, very inexpensive!

                6 Replies
                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  I do a chicken chili in the crock which is easy and feels a ton, some plastic bowls, it is light and creamy, black beans and inexpensive. Great with corn bread and easy to make and feeds a lot.

                    1. re: The Oracle

                      Be home in a hour and will post for you. Just don't have it on lap top. Give me just a bit and will send.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    I agree pots of beans are a life saver, rice too! Fried rice is another one that with a few veggies and a little meat, goes a long way. Chicken Chowmein, a ham with potato rolls, and German potato salad, cold slaw, and carrot slaw.

                    Chili, or green chili using pork butt with a stack of flour tortillas.
                    A tray of polenta, cut and grilled served with marinara, cheese and olives.
                    Make cookie sheet pizza, pepperoni, cheese, and or fresh tomato, basil and mozzerella
                    or sausage, cut into squares, it will feed a group.

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      chef c -- i love the chile verde idea. how does this recipe look? http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chil...

                      this one has regular tomatoes and bell peppers, too: http://www.cooking-mexican-recipes.co...

                      this recipe has masa, lager and lots of anaheims -- no tomatillos: http://www.thatsmyhome.com/texmex/sou...

                      this looks like a shortcut crockpot recipe: http://www.essortment.com/all/recipec...

                      i also love love love the cuban black beans & rice dish called "moros y cristianos."

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        Yeah. I do black beans and sausage - a fiejoada that is always a hit. Alimento verdadeiro do campo de Brasil.

                    2. -Prosciutto wrapped melon
                      -Skewers of little mozz. balls, cherry tomatoes, basil (drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt/pepper)
                      -toasts with fig jam and crumbled mild gorgonzola
                      -steamed asparagus, chilled, with a big bowl of sesame mayo (mayo with sesame oil and toasted seeds on top)
                      -a big baked brie en croute
                      For dessert:
                      -mini brownies and blondies
                      -choc. covered strawberries
                      -big bowl of berries with big bowl of fresh whipped cream

                      1. from experience, i can tell you that the mini quiches (at least the ones sold in costco) are always devoured. http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs...
                        also, pre-made meatballs in that sauce made with grape jelly (i kid you not!) in a crockpot...or little smokies. don't laugh, people; it may not be gourmet, but people love it!
                        http://www.slowcooker101.com/crockpot... can also be made with apricot or plum preserves. or "bbq" sauce: http://appetizers-finger-food.suite10...

                        also, "pulled pork in a crockpot" served with some martin's potato rolls, and pickles and cole slaw on the side.
                        and a zillion threads on chowhound.com

                        also, very easy, filling and delicious: tortellini salad with chunks of pepperoni, mozzarella, italian vinaigrette, and roasted or fresh red bell peppers, olives and artichokes. maybe grape tomatoes....
                        and i'd be remiss if i failed to mention the all-time favorite: knorr's spinach-vegetable dip in a bread bowl! (double the green onions).
                        mushrooms a la greque.... http://wednesdaychef.typepad.com/the_...
                        cold sesame noodles

                        on sam's rice and sausage theme: faux-paella with yellow rice, red bell peppers, pimento, chorizo or smoked sausage

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: alkapal

                          I would agree with alkapal on the cold sesame noodles. I have been making this really delicious version, posted here on chowhound a couple of years back by Brownie Baker. I have made quite a few versions of sesame noodles, and this one is FANTASTIC. You can sautee up some red bell pepper, and then some ginger and garlic just for one minute, and add those to the noodles along with steamed broccoli. Pretty, filling, and sooo yummy! I like to use bow ties and they really catch the sauce well!

                          The sauce: (for about 10 ounces noodles)

                          2 tablespoons tahini
                          2 tablespoons soy sauce
                          2-1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
                          2-1/2 tablespoons water
                          2 teaspoons sugar
                          2 teaspoons vinegar
                          chili oil, to taste (optional)

                          Place sesame oil in mixing bowl. Add other ingredients one by one, and stir until smooth before adding another. Pour over hot or cold noodles.

                          (again -- credit to Brownie Baker for this recipe)

                        2. How about *sticks* of jicama with a plate of salt and lime?

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Right! And jicama holds fine in the fridge (no discoloring or limp-iness) so can be prepped ahead. Good summertime snack.

                          1. GRAPE SALAD
                            (EASY AND DELICIOUS)

                            4 Lbs Seedless grapes (red, green, or combination),
                            washed, dried, and removed from stems.
                            8 Oz Cream cheese, softened
                            1 Cup Sour cream
                            1/2 Cup Granulated sugar
                            1/2 tsp vanilla
                            1 Cup Chopped walnuts or pecans

                            Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and mix well. Add grapes and coat with mixture. Spread into a 9” x 13” pan or dish and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least a few hours before serving.

                            Platters of sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella dressed w/EVOO and fresh Basil

                            Ham Sandwiches
                            Get thee to Costco – for the sliced ham
                            Make sandwiches w/good (thin sliced) (I like Sara Lee brands for this) bread that has been spread with good (salted) butter
                            Cut in 4ths and stack on platter

                            Platters of chicken salad

                            Cook breasts, thighs whatever you choose and chill
                            Chop Romaine lettuce
                            Toss romaine with favorite Asian Dressing
                            Top with sliced chicken and sliced strawberries
                            Toss again
                            Sprinkle with honey roasted peanuts

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: laliz

                              laliz, i've actually had that grape salad, and it is like a dessert. it was made by my aunt but done with splenda and light cream cheese (which i do not usually eat). despite having those two less-than-appetizing ingredients, it was *really* quite good!!!! it doesn't sound like anything special, but it is (i got "seconds", which is unusual for me and sweets). the grape salad dessert is not-too-sweet, light and refreshing. i recommend it.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                whenever I take it, it is the showstopper. go figure.

                                I use only Thompson red seedless grapes.

                                People ask, "What do you call this?"
                                I say, "grapes."

                                1. re: laliz

                                  my aunt used green seedless grapes. like i said, i was really surprised how delicious it was.

                                  in fact...now that i think about it, i posted it on chow at the time, for a low-fat, low-cal recipe request....

                              2. I had a great salmon appetizer a while back. The host bought the Nova smoked salmon at Costco and spread it with cream cheese, sprinkled it with capers, and then rolled it up in little bite sized pieces. He scattered lemon zest over the top of the whole platter. It was awesome and SO simple.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Vetter

                                  i've done the same, without the cream cheese.

                                  here's what i do:
                                  spread out salmon on platter, then capers. maybe also scatter some 2" long, very thin slices of red onion.
                                  squeeze lemon juice over it.
                                  have minced red onion and finely chopped boiled egg on the side, in separate bowls.
                                  encircle the platter with lemon slices, overlapping one another all along the perimeter of the plate.
                                  sprinkle chopped chives and/or parsley over all.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    if you would have me (notice the LC) I'd stand around that platter all day and night :) That sounds great and would have a wow-factor looks-wise.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      c, you can come on over, eat all the salmon, and i'll throw in some champers, too!

                                      (and it *is* very pretty. surprisingly, a relatively inexpensive package of scottish smoked salmon from tj's or costco goes a long way, as it is so rich). ooh, i forgot to mention, i also put out a basket of thinly sliced sourdough bread, and some water crackers, too.

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        What are champers???

                                        We fix something similar for ourselves at home but not so pretty. I toast bagels (brought from NYC) and cut them in bite-sized pieces. Put them on a platter with the lox and all the fixin's. And occasionally a bottle of champagne (lower case definitely!) if it's more brunch than breakfast. One of our favorites.

                                        And would grits, gravy, etc. go with that?!?!?!?!? :)
                                        PS: Thanks for being forgiving.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          ze bubbly! champagne! (most usually lower case!, though the french will not brook that...nor the wine-o purists;-)).

                                          and..forgiving for what? a sisterly spat? pfffft! don't be silly. now, get over here with your appetite ;-).

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            Make the sausage gravy and it's a solid yes --- one of these days :)

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              i need to find some good locally made country sausage. jimmy dean sausage is almost too lean these days. i serve the sausage gravy on biscuits, and for a big honkin' breakfast, with fried eggs and grits.

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                i make my own sausage so can bring it. Mine is definitely not too lean - 4# pork shoulder and 2# bacon :)

                                2. Once, ni an embarrassed rush to prepare a dish for a potluck Ihad forgotten about, I got a bulk package of Little Smokies, Two big bulk cans of Bush's Baked beans and threw them in a pot. I felt awful, so I added two rashers of bacon I cooked in the oven, all chopped up. The last minute, still feeling stupid, I topped it all with a big container of crumbled blue cheese I kept around for salads.

                                  People LOVED it.

                                  Pioneer WOman dot com has a few good recipes for group food. My favorites are Crash Hot potatoes and the chicken drumsticks dipped in butter/seasoning and roasted. The chicken legs come out better if you brine them for one day, then dry them for another in the fridge-but they're OK if you don't.


                                  Pioneer Woman is amazing!

                                  1. As a Personal Chef, I do LOTS of events of this size. If you have little budget and little time use Costco frozen meatballs. Good meatballs are very time consuming. The Costco ones are OK but not great. Use a turkey roasting pan and bottled BBQ sauce and warm them in the oven.

                                    Boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs sliced into "finger" size pieces, brined, then dusted with herbs and spices and baked covered are always good; and worth the money to save the butchering time.

                                    10-15 lbs of Pork Butt done in a slow cooker or braised at 300F for 1 hour per pound makes fabulous pulled pork

                                    1. UPDATE: Thank you all for the suggestions. This will definitely serve for inspiration for future parties. This particular party was all about minimal prep work and as little time in the kitchen during the party as possible. We had lots of fruit, veggies, olives, cold cuts, cheese, chips, crackers, thick pita, hummus, fried rice, chow mein, lasagna.... nothing really had a theme, but it ended up working (much to my initial horror).

                                      I tripled the black bean dip recipe and it was the HIT of the party. EVERYONE was raving about it. I cheated and omitted the red chili powder & paprika - and it still came out great. This will be a party staple for me from now on. The added bonus is how healthy (and inexpensive) it is to make!

                                      I also wanted to make the grape salad, but when i mixed the cream cheese & sour cream, the mixture was grainy (which made me think the cream cheese was bad) - so I threw it out and didn't have a chance to get more. I'll be making this soon, though!

                                      The other party hit was a random, last minute idea to make PB&J sandwiches (cut in 4's) and hot mac n' cheese... that was ready just after the cops had us stop the DJ (perfect timing!) The food was devoured in seconds and made very happy guests who professed their love for me. Hilarious (and, obviously, not for EVERY crowd).

                                      1. Sorry it took so long, kid issues. Yes 21 and still kid issues. Never get a break even when they are grown. I guess I was the same too.

                                        Here you go. A few ingredients, but not hard.

                                        Chicken White/Black Chili

                                        1 lb ground chicken or turkey. You can used diced chicken breasts or thighs too
                                        1 large onion diced
                                        2 ribs celery diced
                                        1 yellow pepper diced
                                        1 red pepper diced
                                        4 cans cannellini beans and black beans, drain 2 and don't rinse or drain the other 2
                                        1 can of green chilis
                                        1 can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
                                        1 box of chicken broth or approximately 3 cans, 1 qt.
                                        3 tablespoons chili powder (according to taste)
                                        1 teaspoon dried oregano, and basil and
                                        3 tablespoons minced garlic or 3 large garlic cloves
                                        1 tablespoon cilantro
                                        Salt and pepper to taste
                                        3 teaspoons cumin
                                        2 teaspoons hot sauce
                                        1 bay leaf
                                        1 teaspoon cinnimon
                                        1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
                                        1 teaspoon allspice
                                        1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
                                        2 cans of white corn or you can use just frozen yellow corn is fine

                                        In a large pot, saute onions, celery, pepper and garlic in olive oil till soft, about 5 minutes, add turkey or chicken and cook until brown. Add seasoning, tomatoes, beans, chilies, and any remaining ingredients. Yes it is spicy, but adjust accordingly. It really isn't as hot as you might expect. Cook a good hour or so till everything combines well. Serve and top with pepper jack cheese, sour cream and scallions.

                                        If using the crock pot, Just add the chicken first, veggies next then the liquids and seasoning. Let cook 6 hours on high and dinner is done. It can also sit on the stove for hours too and be just as good.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          Thank you SO much! I really appreciate it!!

                                          1. re: kchurchill5

                                            Thanks. I have copied. It looks terrific.

                                          2. for an easy dessert you can make black forest brownies. Make brownies in a 13x9, when cool, top with canned cherry pie filling and then top with whipped cream (or cool whip if time is an issue, do this as a last resort though). top the whole thing with chocolate curls with whatever chocolate you have. keep chilled until you serve it. might be nice to brush the brownie with kirsch before you put the pie filling on top. this always goes over really well. people have even asked me what the "crust" is. to serve, i just put a spoon in the dish and people can scoop out however much they want.

                                            1. Large parties sound like fun until you have to do the work and not many want to help. I had 200 for an ox roast and by the end of the day I didn't even have eyebrows. All my body hair was gone. And guests were hesitant to scoop salad from a plastic garbage can bought for the purpose; how else do you serve a salad that has 30 heads of lettuce?

                                              12 Replies
                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                put the prepped salad sans dressing in large plastic bags, serve in punch bowls adding dressing at serving time. Replenish as needed

                                                1. re: laliz

                                                  can also buy large lexans from restaurant supply houses.

                                                2. re: Veggo

                                                  poor veggo!

                                                  ..."guests were hesitant to scoop salad from a plastic garbage can..."

                                                  i can't imagine why! ;-).

                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                    Well, I'd say his guests were a bunch of weinies who don't live in a magic house and good riddance to them. More for the rest!

                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                      Hey, alka, I was in my 20's, budget was tight, volunteers were lacking, got it done:)

                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                        git 'r done, bro! hey...i'm a salad fiend, so i would've eaten it -- esp. if you had croutons and good home-made buttermilk ranch dressing! ;-)).

                                                        <you gotta admit, that had to be a funny sight. but...it had to be frustrating to see the ungrateful diners letting good food go to waste>.

                                                        (funny, those "volunteers" -- 90% of members of any organization slack as 10% (if that) do all the work.).

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          There was no organization - just my worthless drunken golf foursome. I was busy with the ox starting about 3:00 am.

                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                            where was this -- in florida? i don't recall if i've ever even seen an ox "up close and personal."

                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                              Maybe it was a bull ... a lot of bull.

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                Lackawanna County Pennsylvania

                                                                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                    I didn't know it was that low. We roasted a whole side of beef over hickory in the middle of summer, for about 14 hours. Never again. Ox sounded sexier on the invitations, so we called it ox. To repeat, my golf partners are scratch handicap but they were worthless. We had some celebrities, but I don't gossip. I was really, really, burned, literally.

                                                    2. For a potluck in December, I brought Mario's chicken cacciatore -- I did it as a stew. It is delicious, filling, unusual, and everyone went crazy over it. I just pulled the meat off the bone and shredded it. Basically -- onions, celery, mushrooms, pancetta, wine, basic tomato sauce, and chicken thighs. You can make it in advance and since it's chicken thighs, you won't break the bank.

                                                      People go crazy over this dish, really. Just serve it in bowls and watch them slurp it up.