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Food to bring to a party?

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So, two of my friends are moving. They're having a going away party, where there will be "drinks, snacks and meats" but are asking people to being food as well. Being who they are, when I asked if there was anything in particular they wanted me to bring, they had nothing. When I asked if there was something I SHOULDN'T bring, they had nothing.

Obviously, being a chowhound, a store bought generic thing would never do. Not yet sure how many people will be attending this party, but probably around 2 dozen. Some possible thoughts have included:

-Deviled eggs
-Homemade chips (pita, veggie, etc.) and dip
-pasta salad

I'm looking for some additional suggestions. Possible dessert or drink type things are welcome, as well as savories. I've got a small kitchen and a large dog, so anything that has to sit on the counter to cool is out. Things that can be made ahead are a plus, as are things that scale up easily..

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  1. These people should really get it together a little more--if nothing else, an email of "what are you bringing" because otherwise, I'm envisioning a party where the food consists of ten veggie/dip trays and a bunch of cheese plates.

    So I guess for that reason alone. I'd avoid #2, though pasta salad could have some competetition as well and frankly, I never met one that I really loved.

    Is this an outdoor cookout-type thng or more of a cocktail party?

    4 Replies
    1. re: LeoLioness

      It's an all-afternoon informal drop-in and mingle. There will probably be some overlap in food, and about half the people will either forget food or show up with a couple liters of pop, a bag of Doritos or a 12-pack of cheap beer. As long as I avoid "baby" carrots and that supermarket dill veggie dip, there shouldn't be too much overlap.

      1. re: Terrieltr

        I agree.... go for the spinach dip lol

      2. re: LeoLioness

        I don't know LeoLioness, we go to a lot of potluck/covered dish/bring a snack to share get togethers and there's never an overlap problem. Even when I do potlucks with my college students, we don't have an overlap problem. It surprises me, but somehow it works out.

        How about something a little different for veggies and dip? Maybe a romesco sauce with grilled veggies? I think those are fine at room temperature, so they could be done ahead of time. Green beans are wonderful here this year. You could do a quick blanch/ice bath and include those as something a bit different with a veggie/dip platter.

        1. re: debbiel

          Whenever I'm in this situation (and it happens often with my husband's work crowd) I always go for the grilled vegies with a dip, all of which is served room temperature. In fact, sometimes I skip the dip and just serve the vegies with fresh herbs and a bit of olive oil sprinkled over them. A combination I really like is grilled asparagus and green onions. Sometimes I'll also sprinkle some grated parm cheese over them while they're still hot. I don't think I've ever had any left at the end of the party.

      3. Make Union Square Cafe nuts (or any spiced nuts).
        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

        Works in casual to fancy settings, and they can snack on the leftovers while moving (if there are any :). )

        1. Party pinwheels. Mix cream cheese and ranch salad dressing mix. Mix with finely diced red and/or yellow/orange peppers, green onion and celery. Spread on tortillas and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and re-fridgerate at least 2 hours. Slice 1/2" thick. Hummus, Baba Ganosh and pita chips is another option. If you have a small crock for dips crab dip or artichoke and cheese is a hit as well. Melon wrapped with prociutto (sp) with toothpicks always is welcomed. Another favorite is refried beans spread on bottom of a dish topped with a layer sour cream and then salsa. Grate some spiced Harvati and sprinkle over top and add some shredded lettuce.

          1. I don't think you can ever go wrong with deviled eggs!

            How about a pressed sandwich? It needs to be done ahead so it has time to be weighted down, so that fits.

            An antipasto platter would be good, too, and it can be at least mostly assembly rather than actual cooking.

            1. A well made Niçoise salad will always steal the show. Attached is a picture of one I made a few months ago for a party. It only lasted about 15 minutes with mere scraps remaining. A few suggestions:

              - A well-made Shrimp cocktail (especially Mexican style)
              - Asian-style lettuce wraps
              - Mini tostadas
              - Tapenade
              - Italian/Grek meatballs with toothpicks
              - Arugula and Fava Bean Crostini
              - Marinated Mushrooms
              - A sliced up Spanish Tortilla frittata
              - Russian salad
              - Shrimp stuffed avocado