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Housewarming Party ideas?

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We are having a small informal housewarming party in a couple weeks, with 15-20 adults and 6-8 young kids (6yrs and under). I'm looking for easy food ideas that I can prep or prepare ahead of time. We are Indian, and the bulk of our guests are indian, but I don't want to do indian food since, well, we eat that all the time. Alternatively, I wouldn't mind doing some Indian fusion food.

I'm a pretty good cook, and I enjoy it, but I work fulltime and have 2 young kids, so I can't devote 3 hours to making one item. I was thinking of doing it all buffet style so guests can help themselves. We'll also be serving some nice red and white wines, along with soft drinks and whiskey and vodka with mixers.

I have a few menu ideas, but would love some feedback or additional suggestions. My problem is that I've never really been able to entertain before because our kitchen was to small to cook large quantities, so now I want to cook everything! I can't seem to come up with a gameplan.

So far, I've come up with:

Italian: antipasto tray and bruschetta for appetizers, then a couple different salads (caesar and pasta?) with cheese lasagna and some type of marinara pasta, sausage and peppers and meatballs on the side.

Mexican: Chips, salsa, gucamole, maybe some taquitos for apps, then rice, beans, carne asada, chicken, bell peppers/onions, shredded cheese, etc so everyone can assemble their own tacos/fajitas. I'd also make a tray of chicken enchiladas for a second main.

Assorted: Just doing a free for all and not going with a theme. I'd probably do several appetizer type items like the antipasto tray, a pasta salad, chips/salsa, hummus and pita, samosas, a lasagna, fruit/cheese tray, sweet and sour meatballs, etc. Not quite sure what -- just a random assortment.

I'm open to suggestions. I'd prefer buffet style to plated food due to the number of guests, and we will have 3-4 vegetarians as well. TIA!!

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  1. bump...

    Forgot to mention that I am trying to keep the menu appealing to the general masses... the bulk of the group won't appreciate "fancy food", so to speak.

    3 Replies
    1. re: boogiebaby

      Is this during mid-day, evening or when?

        1. re: boogiebaby

          I choose door #3, assorted. I might include a corned beef and/or ham sliced with assorted cheeses and interesting mustards and flavored mayo spreads with cocktail size rye bread for make-your-own sandwiches.

    2. Well....IF you will give up some of your BEST Indian recipes to us....(heh, just half-kidding)
      you might try Bonnie's Buffalo Chicken dip...will try to find the link...it really is quite substantial. When I brought it to a work function, they thought it was a casserole!
      Here's the link...not EVERYONE loves this, but at every function I've brought it to, they have:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/434619

      1. Vote: Assorted with fusion. It looks like this menu can accommodate the widest range of preferences. I am Chinese-American and notice that the older generation of Chinese family friends tend to gravitate toward familiar foods, such as those containing rice.

        A few ideas popped to mind as I was typing:
        Curried dipping sauce with vegetable spring rolls- fry or bake until crispy. I have seen such items at Costco, though they are also easy to make.

        Mushrooms stuffed with fragrant cooked rice (possibly mixed with mushroom stems/onions/etc), finished in the oven.

        It sounds like you will be putting a lot of work into this meal- good luck!