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Party Planning Help!

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After a long, debilitating illness I am now returning to fairly good health and my husband and I want to throw a party to celebrate the return of some normalcy. The party date is quickly approaching and I don’t have any solid ideas on what I want to serve. The details of the party are that it is at 7:00 p.m. at a brewery. The only thing the brewery provides is the beer/glasses and the space. I want to serve some light fare with several vegetarian options. There are no facilities for heating, so for anything that needs to be served warm I’d have to bring an appropriate appliance (crockpot, portable roaster, etc.). Things that can be made in advance would be great, as I still don’t have a ton of energy and I would like to reserve some of it to enjoy the party. Any ideas and inspiration are appreciated! Thanks in advance!

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  1. first of all, best of good fortune on your rapid healing and getting better very very soon and totally back to normal.

    how many are there going to be, that could bring best ideas.

    some things I can think of that would be or could be doable. empanada's. the standard beef with raisins and hard cooked egg inside, to ease your prep you can use either prepared canned biscuits in the roll can or pastry/pie dough. easy to make the filling then spoon into the waiting bread/dough, bake and keep warm in a foil lined 5 qt crock pot.

    a white bean chili is easy enough to cook in advance and once again, keep it warm in a crock pot. you could do it without chicken too, just use everything sans the chicken, but with veggie broth/stock. couple of loaves of NYT bread, to take there and cut up as dippers in a spinach dip.

    7 layer Mexican dip with all sorts of chips. spaghetti salad with green or black olives/lemon juice and zest/garlic/parm cheese/hot pepper flakes/parsley/salt/pepper. the triple threat: jalepeno jam and cherry pie fill and seafood cocktail sauce each over individual brick of creamed cheese, served with crackers or firm chips or pretzels. tuna pasta salad or chinese chicken salad or potato salad is usually enjoyed by most as well.

    I'm with you, keep it relatively simple, they want to enjoy you and will, not an abundance of major effort on your part. don't go crazy, just do as much as you feel able and if that's a problem, ask your co-workers to bring a dish to share.

    1. With beer, how about a sausage plate for the meat eaters with a couple different mustards.

      1 Reply
      1. re: escondido123

        Great idea - sausage w/ cheese and some bread or crackers (sturdy of course). I like the idea of different mustards. One could even do some make ahead ketchups, sauces, etc. Then of course, I'd probably throw in some good chips for measure and maybe some veggies to think that we had options of healthy.

        Arp29 - Do indeed save some energy to simply mix, mingle, visit, drink and munch and not worry about the food.

      2. Congrats....and I agree with the others who've responded. Let this be all about celebrating YOU and your return to good health. This should be a celebration that you're part of....not stressing over.
        There are lots of cheeses that go great with beer....and i love the idea of lots of different sausages and mustards. A white bean dip....different kinds of hummus. Some different crostinis.

        1. How about getting a big bucket and filling it w/peel n eat shrimp. Dipping sauces/ savory mustards and the traditional horseradish sauce to go ... Costco has pre-sliced cheeses which goes well with your fav. cracker. Deviled eggs...kitchy but, always a popular one in parties I have..I take the yolks and mix w/a little mayo, plain yogurt, mustard, salt and dill weed to taste. I put the yolk mixture in a plastic ziplock and pipe back into white "boats" then top with a piece of smoked salmon, trout or caviar... (smoked trout can be found at Trader Joes). At my local Costco this week, I bought "Pita Pal" Mediterranean bean salad and their roasted eggplant dip. YUM! great for the vegetarians. Went really well with the BBQ I had on the weekend. Take the crock pot and fill w/fondue chocolate and melt. Skewer fruits, marshmallow and frozen pound cake cubes.....:)

          1. Love some of the ideas. Shrimp, pasta salads, chilli in a crock pot.

            How about a baked potato bar? The potatoes stay pretty hot in foil for a while and offer a ton of toppings. Beer + potatoes...can you think of better comb?

            Add some chips and dips and its a party.

            1 Reply
            1. re: spcnj

              again how many people or did I miss that? has the OP revisited here yet?

              love the potato idea.

            2. pulled pork (crock pork) sandwiches, cheese, crackers & meat tray, veggie tray with hummus and dip, and you need a cake! Glad you guys are in a better place.

              or, just see if you can get a variety of thin crust pizzas delivered.

              1. Thanks everyone for the well wishes and suggestions! I am expecting about 50 people. Do you think I could make the empanadas in advance and freeze them? I like the idea of the sausage plate, too. That is definitely low maintenance!

                I had a request from a friend to make queso for the party. Do you think that would stay edible/appealing in one of those little crockpots? I am concerned it would get gummy or burn. Anyone have experience with this?

                Love the pulled pork idea, too but I did that for the last party I had at this place. And I have definitely tossed around the idea of just doing pizza and wings and filling in with some little things to munch on! :-)

                2 Replies
                1. re: arp29

                  In my experience, my crockpot doesn't do well with cheese because it doesn't have a low enough heat setting. I'm sure there are higher quality ones that have more heat control and would work. I know cheese can work for a couple of hours because I attended an "all fondue" party and it was terrific. They were all served in fondue pots with low flame.

                  One of my favorite fondues is a cheddar and beer version served with Kielbasa, potatoes, little pickled onions, dense rye and pumpernickel bread cubes, apple and pear slices... a good Fall and brewery venue idea.

                  A big meat and cheese platter with an eye toward serving with beer would be great and something you can put together without cooking yourself. Served with breads, mustard, pickles, etc., it can be a nice centerpiece.

                  The empanadas can be made ahead and frozen. Almost any pastry snack works for assembling and freezing.

                  I also want to send you my best wishes for continued improving health and am happy that you are able to share it. Please let us know what you end up doing.

                  1. re: Terrie H.

                    I've successfully used my (cheap) rice cooker for cheese fondue. The "keep warm" setting is low enough and if it starts to cool I can flick it on to warm up a bit.

                2. Oh good for you on your recovery! Have a great time and enjoy~
                  Thinking about what your doing I like the sausages idea, if you can buy or borrow one of those large white roasters you can make sausages to pulled pork. You know every gathering I've had I put on a pot of beans, either adding pork chops or ham hocks. It always gets eaten, literally they clean the pot out. Beans pretty much cook themselves, and they're inexpensive and tasty.

                  You could make sandwiches up on large loaves of french bread or whatever you choose, make them up using the whole loaf, stuff with cooked sausage or roast beef, cheese and grilled onions and peppers. Wrap the loaves in foil, and load them in the roaster, keep it on the low setting and then slice when you serve them. Or let some one else slice them- even better!
                  I made meatball subs once. Of course you don't want those to sit too long, however they were really yummy but like I said, they need to be eaten sooner. I think I'm making those for the Halloween pumpkin carving party, my first one again in 3 years.