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one more recipe needed please!

making a cocktail/dessert party for 50 THIS WEEKEND! GULP!
Want one more hot recipe - I know I probably don't need it - but would like another alternative.

This is the menu thus far - pretty well set
Cold - veggies and dip, cheeses, (maybe dried salami - not sure of this), candied walnuts, spinach madeline, guac, salsa, eggplant and goat cheese crostini, mozz balls and cherry tomatoes on toothpick (maybe oven roasted cherry tomatoes)

Hot - crab cakes with roumalade, franks in bourbon, clam dip, turkey meatballs, spinach/mushroom/swiss rollups, potato-nik, onion gratinee, moroccan chicken, mayo parm on pumpernickel,

Salad table - mediterranean salas (israeli couscous, bowties, craisins, almonds), mango and black bean, asian spinach, pasta/pesto/peas.

Desserts - blackout cake, hungarian coffee cake, cheese cake, PB+J bars, pecan diamonds, lemon curd mini tarts, cookies.

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  1. I still remember a party years ago where they had miniature reubens on cocktail rye.

    1. another recipe? good lawdy, lady, that is plenty of food and plenty of options.
      although what is mayo parm on pumperncikel? just mayonaisse and grated cheese run under the broiler? i'm sure it's delish, but wouid seem an easy one to skip.

      5 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        yes - it is pretty delish - it also has diced red onion - easy to make - not looking to SKIP! - want to ADD! I know I know - crazy - but I'm jewish and love to cook - there can never be too much!

        1. re: smilingal

          I'd seriously consider paring down, e.g., spinach madelines, spinach rollups, spinach salad...I'd do one not all. Plus some of those things -- like the parm on pump -- would get crusty and unappealing if they're sitting out awhile, which they invariably will given this extensive menu. Kudos to you for your ambition and generosity, but fewer things done well and in quantity are more appealing in my opinion.

          Granted I may be reacting based on personal overindulgence this season...the only addition that I would offer is a colorful fruit salad.

          1. re: Niblet

            you are right - the fruit salad is a definite missing item - but one that I myself, avoid making - - will give it some thought to include it for those that go to it - I have been buying out all the butter supplies of the local stores for the other dessert goodies! lol
            The spinach salad is on the salad table - separate from the passed spinach rollups - and separate from the spinach madeline which is kind of like a dip - altho I have recently learned that it used to be served as perhaps a vegetable in the originating restaurant.

            1. re: smilingal

              Spinach Madeleine is a common side served with holiday meals in New Orleans/ around Louisiana. But I can see it as a dip, too.

      2. I'm with noodle. You have so much food already. Is there a theme here?

        1. Are you going to be preparing and storing and making into 50 or 100 pieces each all by yourself? So many pots and pans to clean (and so many items to keep hot or cold just before serving).

          Are you making 50 or more servings of each item?

          Just thinking if I were there, I couldn't even try one of each...

          7 Replies
          1. re: Cathy

            the usual math for this sort of thing is to figure about 6 pieces per person, as long as it isn't being held at dinner time, or in lieu of dinner.

            when i have worked for private events, we always tried to steer the host/planner away from serving more than 6 passed (hot) apps, especially if there were stations, like you will sort of have with your cold foods and salads. (btw, isn't the egpplant and goat cheese served hot too?) not counting the sweets, you have 21 different items. how many pieces of each are you making? how on earth will you prep, store and heat all this stuff? items like the crab cakes, the potato-nik and the mayo-parm do not hold well and are generally made to order in a restaurant setting. how do you plan to juggle all this?

            i am italian and feel your need to feed my guests well. i also entertain quite often at home. this is truly overkill. it's easier for you and your guests to make fewer dishes, but to make greater quantities. this way, you just have to refill the chafing dish or platter.

            i'm not trying to be a buzzkill, but am offering you professional advice.

            3 hots, 3 colds, 1or 2 salads is plenty, plus the sweets. (and plus-one vote for some sort of fruit salad. i like it kebab-style with grapes, kiwi and pineapple this time of year.)

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              eggplant and goat cheese is room temp - and actually potato-nik and crab cakes are easily kept room temp as well - I think I am going to be baking/broiling the crab cakes as opposed to frying - the mayo-parm needs to be a la minute - maybe I should exclude that one - but I was already giving in to all of my well-meaning CH friends who are twisting my arm to STOP! - and I was going to give up on my quest for that one more (which I think I was resorting to a pre-made spanikopita - so that won't be happening - and maybe I should eliminate the mayo-parm - altho it is an easy one. 50 people - that is a large crowd! And this is in place of a meal - 3:00 start time. soooooooo.........

              1. re: smilingal

                spanikopita? more spinach? lol.

                seriously, are you planning to make all this from scratch? do you have help serving? have you done an event for this many people before, and do you always cook this many different things? how many ovens/stoves do you have?, pots, pans, platters, chafers? i am not being snarky. it just sounds like no cohesive theme to the food and far too many balls in the air.

                1. re: smilingal

                  Not to jump on the band wagon but I agree about the number of dishes. Quality over quantity. I went to a dessert party last night where there were so many desserts we were all overwhelmed and then overly stuffed; and there were far fewer desserts than you're planning. The eggplant and goat cheese sounds great as do the crab cakes (serve hot, when you're out, you're out and that'll be fine). I'd cut back on the more "common" items like roll ups, salsa and guac (which likely won't get touched w/ all the other food), the non-seasonal items (cherry tomatoes in the winter can go) and things that won't last over an evening like the parm mayo, clam dip (this sounds great but I'm wondering how it'll hold up over a few hours of people dipping in it). A fruit and veggie tray would be great.

                  If you do want to add something, a frittata type dish would hold up and can start off hot but is good cold. But, I'm thinking of making just that many desserts by the weekend and I'm overwhelmed and I entertain often. Also, have you thought about how to keep all your hot dishes hot, how to time it all, heat them all at once, refrigerator space, etc?

                  1. re: chowser

                    ok ok - I will leave out the guac and salsa too! Boy - eliminating food is not my style!
                    And Clam dip is a great - also easy dish - have been making it for about 30 years - kind of dated! - with Ritz crackers - has been around forever - has to be there.
                    Ok - maybe not the cherry tomatoes and mozz too. This is painful!
                    Plus I have bought a lot of the ingredients already - and today is my first cooking day - but haven't yet started.

                    1. re: smilingal

                      since you're not looking at a lot of fresh produce, i'm sure much of you've purchased can be re-purposed. are you able to hone in on fewer dishes? for example, do you really "need" 2 pasta-type salads? where do you live? peas and pesto to me are summer, not winter. use the spinach from the roll-ups and salad to make more madeliene.

                      the moroccan chicken should be fine room temp, but none of the other "hot" items would appeal to me room temp or cold. can you narrow that down a bit?

                      1. re: smilingal

                        and a quick google-fu shows the madeleine as being served hot too... this is an awful lot of cheesey dips.

              2. my wife makes sausage balls
                .small tube of jimmy dean sausage(any flavor u like )spicy or sage are good..
                2 or 3 (dont remember exactly) cups bisquick and
                and a bag of sharp cheddar cheese (usually 2 cups)
                mix together with a little water
                form into little balls and bake at 350 for about 18 mins...

                1. You have tons of food already but here goes my suggestions. How about smoked salmon and goat cheese on toast points topped with a bit of chopped capers. Or grilled shrimp with a lime and cilantro marinade. Or scallops wrapped in duck bacon.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: CCSPRINGS

                    Duck bacon? Duck bacon! You write those words as if you can get it down at the local grocery store. Where do you live that duck bacon is an everyday shopping item? And what does it taste like? PS If I was having 50 people for a party, I would not spend money on scallops wrapped in duck bacon.

                    1. re: escondido123

                      I live in Suffolk County, NY which is 100 miles east of NYC. I am so spoiled by availability of fresh produce in season, orchards, vineyards, great fish markets and full service butchers. Not to mention a few poultry farms and friends that bless me with fresh eggs. The sea is in walking distance so I am able to go clamming or catch my own bluefish, striped bass or fluke.

                      Back to the duck bacon, it is smoky and delicious. I serve it with waffles and you can use it anywhere pancetta or chorizo is normally found in recipes like pasta or gumbo. The local market usually has it, as does my fish store. The brand is D'artanian - spell?

                      You are outside SD I assume? You have access to Mexican food I can only fantasize about.

                      1. re: CCSPRINGS

                        d'artagnan, which also has a great mail-order service. the duck bacon is $16 a pound off their web site, plus shipping. how much do you think the op would need to make at least 100 scallops? scallops, btw are running $16 per pound for me and you get about 16-18 in 1 pound. that's' $100 JUST for the scallops, and at least 3 pounds of the bacon, so that dish would be $150,and gone in a flash. i could easily eat at least 4 and happily bypass much else. not in my budget if i were entertaining 50 guests.

                        i live in boston, and the scallops could not be a more local product.

                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                          That's the thing about a big party. People appreciate the food at first but then everyone has a couple drinks and they're popping back scallops with duck bacon like they're cocktail franks. ;)

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            The october, 2008 issue of Gourmet did an article on the founder of D'artagan. Very interesting.

                            1. re: CCSPRINGS

                              i've met them, numerous times. fantastic folks and brilliantly passionate about excellent food.

                    2. Not hot but room temp., roasted, thin-sliced tenderloin of beef with an onion jam and some creme fraiche w/ horseradish would be hearty and easily assembled on pumpernickel - or turkey with pesto, garlic and roasted tomato cream cheese; on sourdough rounds. And then there's always good old brown sugar bacon: roll thick-sliced bacon in brown sugar, and bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour; drain on brown paperbags or butcher's paper - not paper towels. You'd be amazed at how fast this goes; can also be done with mustard-coated little smokies. Make twice as much as you think you'll need.

                      1. ratatouille! good hot, cold, and in between. need recipe? you must have one.

                        1. Sounds like it will be a great party smilingal but I agree with others that it's too much. But here is my 2 cents:
                          A baked salmon which is easy to make
                          Stuffed mushrooms
                          deviled eggs (which can be dressed up)

                          Have fun at your party - that it the most important part!

                          1. I'm so happy that you're reducing, I was getting worried for you! Plus if that were me planning all the spinach things, I'd suspect I was iron-deficient, when spinach and chicken livers are all I want to eat.

                            You'll also want to make sure you're relaxed both during prep and during your party which I'm sure will be fantastic. My instincts are the same as yours, I try to do too much, and I've had occasions when I was cooking 'til just before guests arrived and then it takes awhile to get in party mode. It's much better to keep the menu small and stress-free. I'm sending good vibes to you!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Niblet

                              A few years ago we hosted a day-after-the-wedding party for our daughter and about 40-50 others. Becuase we had MANY commitments that week, we cooked just about nothing. But just getting all that food "plated," drinks set up etc. was a huge job. And we had my brother and his wife helping. Less is not only more but better.

                            2. I must admit I save my time-intensive cooking for people who will appreciate it. When people have no idea that you spent 5 hours on a dish that they're going to eat in 15 minutes, it's hard for them to get too excited. (And for the cook to maybe feel underappreciated.)

                              1. thank you all sooooo much - wish you could all come and toast with me! I have cut back a bit -

                                Cold - veggies and dip, ONE Cheese , (Yes to dried salami), candied walnuts, spinach madeline, eggplant and goat cheese crostini,

                                Hot - crab cakes with roumalade, franks in bourbon, clam dip, turkey meatballs, spinach/mushroom/swiss rollups, potato-nik, onion gratinee, moroccan chicken,

                                Salad table - mediterranean salad (israeli couscous, bowties, craisins, almonds), mango and black bean, asian spinach w/ramen noodles and nuts, pasta/pesto/peas.

                                Desserts - blackout cake, hungarian coffee cake, cheese cake, PB+J bars, pecan diamonds, lemon curd mini tarts, cookies - and maybe a banana cake for good measure - my kids have always loved this one - for old time's sake!

                                My friends and family all recognize that I love to cook and entertain - and I do feel that they appreciate it.
                                Planning ahead is key. Apart from the liquor store and produce later in the week, most of the supplies are purchased and I will begin cooking tomorrow. The snowstorm here threw me off my gameplan today.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: smilingal

                                  with the madeleine and the crostini, ditch the single cheese. nobody will miss it. what will people be dipping into the madeleine? why not put out pita triangles and crudite for that, instead of veggies and dip?

                                  a few weeks back at a friend's party, the roll-ups went basically untouched, plus you have 2 other spinach dishes.

                                  now you have 3 salads with a starch component?

                                  and more deserts? you really are a masochist, huh? ;) good luck. i hope you have help.

                                2. I must be absolutely looney! I never took into account that if I am doubling or tripling a recipe that also involves double or triple the time, effort and stress! Remind me next time! I am melting fast - and have only just begun.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: smilingal

                                    ABORT ABORT ABORT!!!! seriously. exhale and ix-nay a bunch of dishes. it also will involve triple the space in the fridge and oven.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      can't delete any more - but you're right - I never thought of needing triple the storage space in the fridge either! altho I think I can manage it - usually do these big parties or dinners - just not to this extent - made a bridal shower for 35 and a tea party for 100 - but those seemed easier! just ordered in some dinner to be delivered - LOL - and finishing the second - or is it the third glass of red - so I am more calm. tomorrow is another day!

                                      1. re: smilingal

                                        I'm onboard with hotoynoodle, you can still change course. I love figuring out menus, and this to me would be an interestingly varied and appealing menu:

                                        Cheese & salami platter
                                        Candied walnuts
                                        Spinach Madeleine (with pitas and/or veggies to dip, as per hotoynoodle)
                                        Moroccan chicken
                                        Onion gratinee
                                        Possibly potato-nik, although I don't know quite what that is

                                        1. re: Niblet

                                          Potato-nik - is an Hungarian version of a potato pudding - but very dense and peppery - made with yeast - can be served hot or room temp - cut in little squares for hor doerves - probably serving it on the same tray with the onion gratinee also to be cut in little squares. Just finished the moroccan chicken - what a freakin pain - I had made it once before but forgot the frustration of filo dough - and of course it was 3x the frustration this time!

                                        2. re: smilingal

                                          if something isn't already begun and it';s not on a bride's printed menu card, of course you can delete. i always have greater ambitions than time for my holiday party. i make a menu, but when push comes to shove i usually drop one or two things because i am too damn busy with work.

                                          btw, i have 25 years in fine dining and a culinary degree. i am not talking out of my @ss.

                                          like i said. EXHALE. nobody will know what you did not make. do yourself a favor or you will be swallowed by this party.

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                            i really appreciate all the help and advice - I have dropped three cold items and one hot - I don't think I can drop anything else and feel comfortable about it - but of course - if push comes to shove (we have such stupid sayings in our language!) - I might be forced to - or just not sleep! I decided to make this party as I did not make any other plans for NYE - so I have the entire day and the next to freak out!

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                              Hotoynoodle - BTW - I noticed you are in Bah-ston - I have been many times - I had one dinner that that has always been memorable - but it was many years ago - I have been back to Boston many times since but not to the restaurant - have you been to Mamma Maria's recently? How is it these days?

                                              1. re: smilingal

                                                mama maria remains a favorite on the boston chow board, especially for a more formal experience. i went years ago with my mom and she still raves about it, lol.

                                                give a shout on the boston board if you visit again.

                                                if i were you...

                                                a plate of cured meats with the salami, the candied walnuts and the madeleine with pita triangles and crudite

                                                morrocan chicken, clam dip (you said it's a must! lol), turkey meatballs and the franks.

                                                1 salad. fruit plate or kebabs.

                                                2 cakes, cookies.

                                                for a group that size, it's a complete p.i.t.a. to be fussing with lots of mini bites type items. it takes lots of oven space and lots of time to plate.

                                      2. How did your party turn out, smilingal? Any crowd favorites from your menu?

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: operagirl

                                          Hi operagirl! Thanks for asking! Believe it or not - today is the first day I have been able to get back into my groove and get back on here! Party was great - a real success - I think we had 52-53 people. Thankfully I listened (which I admittedly don't do too easily) to all of the well-meaning and wiser CH folks and had eliminated a few things before the party day - but when my husband and I went to bed that night, we couldn't stop laughing from giddy tiredness about the three desserts that I never got around to making - that had been planned. Anyway, I honestly can't pick out one or two hits - people literally raved (blush, blush) about everything I served - which is why I was hard-pressed to eliminate - because I knew I had selected the winning dishes. I so want to be a caterer - wish I had a business plan!

                                          1. re: smilingal

                                            Wow, that's so great! Congratulations on what sounds like a wonderful event.

                                            1. re: operagirl

                                              thanks so much - it confirmed for me that I can do this - and be really good at it! I must say it is it exhausting after the fact - which is the reason that just today I am getting back to myself - party was on Sunday. I had 52-54 people but had enough food for 75! I had previously done a tea party for 100 - but that was much easier - just three tee sandwich selections of 100 each and 100 lemon tarts - I also had done a bridal shower for 45. This was my biggest full scale party thus far. I wish I could share all the leftovers with all of you! lol

                                              1. re: smilingal

                                                All those leftovers. I think that was what we were trying to help you avoid.

                                                1. re: smilingal

                                                  I think your experience with the tea party should be the template for your future entertaining. What everyone else said is to make few things but make them out of the ballpark good.

                                              2. re: smilingal

                                                Remember that the caterer isn't the host of the party. Much easier I imagine. When I've done parties of that size (it seems to be about every five years) I've been preparing less and less myself. And enjoying the parties more and more. I find Mr. Costco to be such a good caterer :) And if memory serves me correctly, I think the guests that everything fixed from scratch by me didn't enjoy the party any more than the ones where I cooked little myself. I try to remind myself that it's the coming together of friends is all that matters. And, hey, congrats. You survived :)

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Was just watching Ina Garten today and she said something along the same lines, "I realized that nobody has any more fun when I make everything myself."

                                                  1. re: operagirl

                                                    Wow, she's as wise as I am :) I think it takes some age to realize this.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      But as much time and effort that went in.... I DID love doing it!

                                            2. How about Baked Ricotta with toasts? Or bacon wrapped prunes (you can stuff them with blue cheese too) - always a party hit!


                                              Jill (from CHOW.com kitchen)

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: jsantopietro

                                                Jill - thanks for the ideas - I am saving them for a trial for next party. Funny, one of the hots that I eliminated would have been bacon wrapped water chestnuts - agree with anything wrapped in bacon (save rubber) would be great! Also it is sooo funny, as I had initially seen the ricotta recipe on here, but what had caught my eye, which I had posted about was the salami on the side. I did add salami to the colds I served, but didn't do it that way - I ended up baking them as someone on here had suggested and they were a hit as well.

                                                1. re: smilingal

                                                  Sounds like a resounding success, congratulations!

                                                  Maybe for next time, I have a killer bacon date and goat cheese strudel that I serve at holiday parties that's incredible, easy, and make ahead to freeze!

                                                  1. re: Phurstluv

                                                    OHHH Phurstluv - will you please post it so that I can keep it for next time?

                                                    1. re: smilingal

                                                      Sure. It's an old Gourmet recipe that I adapted. It used phyllo dough, I decided to use puff pastry since it's easier to work with.

                                                      Here's the link to the recipe: http://www.foodbuzz.com/recipes/31037...

                                                      Enjoy them!!

                                                      1. re: Phurstluv

                                                        thanks so much - I am wondering - can't figure out how the folding works as you described - and how the finished product looks - but I do something similar with the puff pastry sheets - filling with minced mushrooms, onions,spinach, cheese - and spreading it over the rolled out pastry, then starting from the longer side (on the side - rather than top or bottom but I suppose that doesn't really matter!) I roll it over and over itself toward the other side. Then I cut it in 1/2-3/4" slices and bake. They create such a pretty pinwheel presentation - look fancy! :) Do you think this preparation would work the same with your filling?

                                                        1. re: smilingal

                                                          Yes, but realize the filling is a little bit chunky, so it seemed to only roll over itself about twice. But it still gives the pinwheel presentation.

                                                          Here's a picture:

                                                          1. re: Phurstluv

                                                            picture looks beautiful - I also like the look you got from washing it with the egg to brown and glaze. How do you think it would be if you cut it in slices before baking?

                                                        2. re: Phurstluv

                                                          This sounds and looks great and I've saved it. Thank.

                                                    2. re: smilingal

                                                      Glad I could help! Salami is always a winner - and easy to boot!

                                                    3. re: jsantopietro

                                                      I'm glad I saw that recipe because I'm more familiar with this type of recipe with dates; just this year I thought prunes would be so much nicer. I think that dates are too sweet!