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Recommendations for housewarming party

Fellow Chow-ers!
We are planning our housewarming party and I'm trying to come up with a solid list of food items.
I would expect maybe 30 people.

So far, my list is:
Homemade tzatziki and hummus with pita chips
Phyllo cups with pesto, roasted tomatoes, and fresh mozz
Bruschetta with Ricotta, Honey and Lemon Zest
Fig and Blue Cheese Savouries
Cheese plate with condiments (quince paste, nuts, crackers)
Olives
sundried tomato pesto pinwheels

Dessert:
salted peanut butter fudge brownies
fruit kabobs

Drinks:
White wine sangria
spritzers (maybe seltzer with peach nectar with floating raspberries and mint)
(wine, beer, soda)

I'd love to hear recommendations for other quick or make-ahead options for finger foods (sweet and savory) for the housewarming party. No shellfish or pork, but I'm open to other things!

Thanks for any help!

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  1. i would add a platter of raw veggies and a non-dairy dip. bowls of homemade spiced nuts placed around the room are good.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Put the nuts in wine glasses so it forces people to pour them into their hands. I just think it is better than not really knowing where their hand have been and having them in a community bowl but I am all for nuts all around to help avoid a bottle neck and encourage multiple conversations around the room( s ).

      1. re: suzigirl

        I've read that before and it's an excellent idea!!!

        1. re: sandylc

          Thank you. I like olives in rocks glasses with tooth picks. Doesn't end the pickers but it helps. And it isn't hard to refill now and again or if you have enough back up glasses, just replace them.

          1. re: suzigirl

            yes, I'll get toothpicks for the olives, but probably won't have nuts around except as a garnish on the cheese plate (some marcona almonds or something). They always get left largely uneaten whenever I have them at functions for some reason!

            1. re: Jeserf

              Apparently your prepared food is better than store bought nuts. Take it as a compliment. Beside, nuts are expensive lately. :-)

    2. I would add a tray of veggies to go with the pita chips and dips

      10 Replies
      1. re: chinaplate

        Yeah, with the hummus and tzatziki, I'll probably add veggies - are there any atypical veggies that you recommend beyond carrots/celery/bell peppers that I might not be thinking of?

        I'd love some finger-food dessert recommendations, too - those brownies I make are amazing, but they are hard to cut small for finger food.

        1. re: Jeserf

          There is jicama, cucumber (english where you can use a peeler/grater for the skin for a decorate pattern), radishes, sugar snap peas, cherry/grape tomatoes.

          What if you cake those brownies in muffin or mini-muffin tins? Then you won't have to cut and it'll be pretty and decorative. What about another dessert--citrus or summer fruit based? It could be as simple as lemon cookies.

          What about some kind of salmon mousse? And, meat? Maybe meatballs or thinly sliced london broil or something else that works well at room temp?

          BTW, could you share your recipe for the brownies?

          1. re: chowser

            Here's the recipe I use:
            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/an...

            I cheat, though - I used boxed brownie mix! I make them earlier in the day, and I make them in a disposable pan because, when finished, they are a little difficult to cut so I use my sharp scraper that usually cuts the disposable pan! I've never had someone NOT like these brownies - they are delicious.

            That said, how would you make them in a muffin tin? I'm very curious as to how that might work...

            1. re: Jeserf

              That sounds good--I love the peanut butter frosting on it. Just use muffin cups and line the muffin tips (or use the foil ones that don't need the tins). Bake for less time--I'd start checking about 15-20 mins and keep an eye on them.

              I'd put the buttercream in a pastry bag (a zip lock bag would work, jut fill and clip a corner) and squeeze onto the brownie. I'd probably just drizzle the chocolate ganache, or I'd put that on top first and then top w/ the frosting.

              The key to cutting gooey brownies is to wash the knife often. But, I like them in muffin tins because it's almost all chewy edge then. Another cheat would be to freeze them first. Cut the lines barely into the chocolate ganache, then all the way through.

              1. re: chowser

                hm, this is a great idea - they aren't gooey, they just are hard to cut - the ganache hardens and they can easily fall apart. The muffin tin version might eliminate that!

                They are amazing brownies, though!

          2. re: Jeserf

            jicama, sugar snap peas, cucumber sticks, blanched asparagus,endive, baby tomatoes,green onions, zucchini

            1. re: LaLa

              Sugar snaps are great -- just remember to de-string them. They're not the same as snow peas.

            2. re: Jeserf

              I like blanched cauliflower, broccoli, beans.

              1. re: Jeserf

                Chocolate dipped strawberries are easy and make for a nice presentation.

                1. re: letsindulge

                  oh, good call - I used to make them all the time

            3. jicama is great. people really like it.
              cucumber slices and radishes too.

              for dessert: lemon bars, nut cups (I'd do a mix of cashews, white chips, twice as many dark chips, and dried cherries.

              1. As someone who is lactose intolerant, the first thing that stood out to me was that almost every item has cheese in it, or a form of dairy (tzatziki, fresh mozz, ricotta, blue cheese, cheese plate). Also, are you vegetarian? I know you said no shellfish or pork, but there's no meat anywhere. How about sliced roast beef on small slices of bread with a horseradish sauce? Or grilled chicken skewers with a dipping sauce.

                6 Replies
                1. re: boogiebaby

                  no one on our invite list is vegan or lactose intolerant (I know who is invited), but do you have a recommendation for a non-cheese based item you look for?

                  We personally are vegetarian and my husband, who is more religious than I am, prefers not to have pork or shellfish in the house.

                  Is there anything I can do with salmon to entertain a crowd that isn't very expensive? I was thinking mini blinis with smoked salmon, but the mini blinis at Wegmans are like $10 a container

                  1. re: Jeserf

                    Blini are easy to make but time consuming and you really should make and serve them right away. Instead you could poach whole salmon the day before, keep it in the poaching liquid and plate the day of. Take the skin off, brush little mayo on top, and decorate with very thinly sliced cucumbers to resemble fish scales. Make a simple sauce - fage, dill, garlic and a bit of salt and let people slice a piece of salmon, take a spoonfull of the sauce. Once the top side is consumed, simply flip it without decorating the other side. It is very summery and beautiful on the table.

                    Here is a recipe from the web and there are many more: http://www.chefdecuisine.com/seafood/...

                    If you do not have fish poacher, use deep roasting pan - the salmon needs to be submerged, so, anything big enough will work.

                    1. re: herby

                      You can roast it rather than poaching it.

                    2. re: Jeserf

                      I live in a spot that knows its smoked salmon (Nova Scotia). A common way to serve it here is on a platter with some baguette slices and slices red onion for people to assemble on their own, often with cream cheese. You could also Pre-assemble for your guests.

                      1. re: CanadaGirl

                        That's an excellent suggestion, CanadaGirl! I usually serve on rye and add capers on the side. But I love your baguette idea - next time will do that. I do not buy smoked often but make gravlax frequently - would be lovely on baguette too.

                        However, smoked salmon for 30 will be expensive. On the other hand, the whole poached salmon will feel substantial and cost maybe 30% of the cost of smoked. Just saying...

                        1. re: herby

                          Poached is good too. I sometimes forget that smoked salmon is a lot cheaper here than most places.

                          Edit: rather than poaching, try broiling the salmon. I like to brush a side of salmon with maple syrup and then broil it. A bit of brown sugar rubbed on top is almost as good. By the time the top is browned and crusty, the salmon will be perfectly cooked. Just be sure to line the pan with foil, or it will never be clean.

                  2. Uh...I recommend that you invite me! LOL

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Novelli

                      It all looks so good! I agree with the vegie tray recommendations, and I'd also add a big pitcher of water.

                      1. re: SAHCook

                        Oh, yes - we'll have some water! That doesn't take any planning, though, fortunately