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Day After Thanksgiving Party Help

For some reason I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house for about 16 people and the next night hosting a evening/ adult only cocktail party for friends (probably about 20-30 ppl). We can talk about my poor judgement later, but first....

I plan on making a very fun and involved Thanksgiving menu, so that's my focus. For the party I'm looking for very easy recipes that will still impress. I am very open to prepackaged food, but I get nervous not making things from scratch... I want to avoid any turkey things... I was thinking more of classy-tailgating type casual food... pork sliders and the like...

All ideas are appreciated!

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  1. Puff pastry is your friend, as is filo dough. You can make a lot of great finger foods in advance, freeze and bake as needed. I've done pulled hoisin pork in filo cigars with thai chile sauce, mushrooms and blue cheese in puff pastry, spinach and feta in filo triangles, etc. Gougeres also freeze well and just need to be reheated. Or you could do an assortment of sliders, since you mentioned though, and have your pulled pork done in advance, then maybe crab cakes prepared in advanced and quickly baked and placed on the rolls?

    3 Replies
    1. re: katecm

      Could you elaborate on the hoisin pork in filo cigars? Sounds fabulous.

      1. re: nomadchowwoman

        Sure, I got country style pork ribs, seasoned with five-spice, browned and braised in a very simple broth with garlic and ginger. Once it's totally fork-tender, shred and then mix with some hoisin, sesame oil, some of the cooking liquid, soy if you need salt, and fresh grated ginger. Then depending on how bit your filo is, cut it into strips, spread some meat down one short end of a strip, and roll. Throw them in the freezer so they aren't toughing, and then once they're frozen you can throw them in a bag and take out just as many as you need. You can bake them straight from the freezer if you're making a lot of them, but they're really awesome pan-fried.

        1. re: katecm

          Thank you! I will be trying this one.

    2. Would re-purposing leftovers from Thanksgiving help you? Leftover mash potatoes can be turned into a fried or baked potato cake with some bacon, sour cream/creme fraiche, and chive topping. Crostini with a variety of toppings.
      In case you've got your heart set on the tailgating theme, I've stuffed mini burgers with cheese and condiments inside puff pastry. That's a favorite of mine.

      1. Love the idea of a barsnack menu, sliders included. Soooo far away from Txgiving that it's just about perfect. Also the above suggs. on phyllo and puff pastries are totally on the money. A taco bar would work well and involve only advance prep, too, or a pasta bar or somesuch with several diferent toppings. Bon Apetit! Happy Holidays!

        1 Reply
        1. re: mamachef

          yes! Bar food is what I was thinking, tailgaiting wasn't the right word... I love the idea of the taco bar, genius!

        2. A friend of ours in Nashville used to have an open house every post-TG Friday, with all the hot dogs you'd want to eat. Pizza, too, and maybe chili (though never TURKEY chili!). No pie, no mashed potatoes, not one damn cranberry in sight. I'd usually make coleslaw or devilled eggs to bring. Then he went and got married, and that was the end of that.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Will Owen

            well, when I get married, I'll make sure to keep the tradition alive! It's great seeing all our old college and highschool buddies come back into town and it's a nice break from the very family heavy weekend... Hopefully it's still warm enough out, i would love to grill up some good kielbasi and sausages... maybe zazz up some hot dogs...

          2. You could also do an antipasti plate, w/nice salami, cheeses, olives, other marinated veggies, all of which can be purchased.

            1. Sorry, I know you said no turkey... but I know my crowd would love turkey sliders, gravy on bottom bun, smidge of cranberry on top bun. The day after gives the option of indulging in bird, and that's when the true poultristas emerge. :)

              But for simple non-Tday: one-bite picks with pitted kalamata, cherry tomato, and pepper jack or Havarti, even Muenster. Basil leaf on each if feeling fancy.

              1. I grew up in Germany, and Thanksgiving was always the holiday we shared with our local German friends (it gave us someone to celebrate with, and they weren't required at family gatherings). It just happened that our German friends also LOVED Mexican food, so our "day after thanksgiving" was always a massive Mexican feast. Then Sat and Sunday were spent mixing and matching leftovers!

                1. In order to make room in my upright freezer for this season's half of hog and beef, I went on a cooking spree. Lots and lots of shredded, BBQ pork was one result and it freezes so well, I think your pork slider idea is a good one as you could do all the prep ahead of time. I have been "using it up" served on brand of freezer roll (I can't remember the name) and they make great little snacks.

                  1. all of these done with more upscale ingredients/variations
                    A Wings bar... different sauces?
                    Stuffed Potato Skins
                    Mini Quesadillas
                    Stuffed Mushrooms
                    Mini Cheesesteak Sliders
                    Gruyere (and/or Mozzarella) sticks
                    Crab Cake Sliders

                    1. I used to do a Fondue Friday for the day after. With both a savoury cheese and dessert chocolate fondue.

                      1. If you're thinking fancyish bar food, these bacon wrapped jalapenos are delicious:


                        I know a lot of people here think the pioneer woman is a hack (and not all of her recipes appeal/work for me) but I'll definitely vouch for these. And they're really easy, although there's a little prep time involved.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ErnieD

                          ErnieD, I made these after you sent me the recipe, and by gosh they were good. Big vote.

                          1. re: ErnieD

                            What could go wrong with bacon, jalapenos and cream cheese? They're perfection. (Although, I do occasionally cook some sausage and mix it with the cream cheese, as well as shredded cheddar.) I find myself in shock (SHOCK!) that this is something you haven't done before the PW came along.

                            But my favorite riff now is to make a spread/dip with cream cheese, some mayo to thin it a bit, chopped & sauteed to just under-crisp-tender jalapenos, shredded cheddar, sausage if I'm in the mood, and top the whole thing with cheese before popping in a hot oven until it's all bubbly. I prefer it with Triscuits because they hold up well, but bagel chips would be perfect too. (Tortilla chips sound good, but can't stand up to the thickness I prefer.) Oh, and of course I crumble crisp bacon on top.

                            If you're still with me, I also love doing good old bacon wrapped dates, but stuffed with jalapenos instead of almonds or cheese. The salty/sweet/spicy just hits me right.