Inexpensive party food
We're having a family dinner the Saturday after Thanksgiving, don't have a final count but somewhere around 40 I'm guessing. Everyone is bringing a dish; I'm doing all the appetizers. This year, I've really gotten into pickling...one dish I'm making is a veggie tray with both fresh & pickled items; last night I made refrigerator green bean pickles for the tray with garlic, onion, mustard seed, cider vinegar, sugar and salt. They will marinate until the day of the event. This weekend, I'll be making refrigerator carrot pickles and marinated beet pickles. I also have some pickled seedless red grapes with cinnamon, cloves, fresh ginger, brown sugar, star anise and cider vinegar I made in Sept. The rest of the tray will be fresh carrots, cukes, cherry tomatoes, lightly blanched broccoli and some kosher dill spears. Ranch & honey mustard for dipping.
I'll also be doing a caramelized onion dip, a roasted tomato dip and smoked gouda cheese ball or log; these will be served with a tray piled high of assorted flavored crostinis (making myself) and crackers.
Bowls of pistachio nuts in the shell and freshly toasted pumpkin seeds with herbs round out the apps. I'm making the pumpkin seeds out of seeds from a Holloween pumpkin. Simple appetizers and not expensive; perfect before a large meal like we're having.
It's soup weather in most places and soup is perfect for small gatherings like yours. You can do maybe 2-3 soups (I'd do one with beans like a navy/great northern bean with some kind of smoked meat or it can be vegetarian if needed; one kind of smooth veggie bisque like butternut squash or sweet potato and maybe a chicken noodle or a chowder) Serve these soups with toppings like oven toasted cornbread croutons, oven crispy proscuitto/salami chips to crumble over the top (this way, you only need small quantities of meat) and serve fresh toasted crostinis, crackers/cheese straws or loaves of rustic bread to break into hunks for dipping. Simple dessert on the side and is really all you need for a great party.
ground turkey - a couple of pounds
2 x of the big tins of diced tomatoes (maybe about 3 or so cups each can)
1 x can of tomato paste (the normal small tin, maybe about 1 cup per can)
2-3 tins of beans (mixed looks nice) (the size that is about 2 cups per can) -
small dice celery - frozen sweet yellow corn (good tender quality) -
a package or two of chili seasoning - sometimes i put in some taco seasoning if that's what i have on hand
serve with various "add your own" garnishes like green onions, cheese, sour cream - and cornbread ( out west here, Bob's Red Mill has a mix - and i like the Trader Joe mix too)
easy and easy
i would think that veggie crudites and veggie soups or casseroles (even pastas) would be less expensive than cheeses and meats. i used to have a weight watchers recipe for veggie chili that used pureed eggplant (peeled) instead of meat to mimic the texture of ground beef chili powder and cumin (a tiny pinch of cinnamon and a spoonful or two of jarred dark mole helps develop the flavor profile. have fun w/ your party!