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Cheap and Easy appetizers for summer BBQ!

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My husband is graduating university and we are having a BBQ in our back yard. I have about 15 people coming over the night of his graduation, so I won’t have a lot of time to cook. It will be a casual gathering with many hungry men in a small back yard!
For main dish, we are BBQing meat and I will have different salads – coleslaw, watermelon salad, berry salad and Caesar.
I will also have a cheese / cold cuts platter decorated with grapes.
But, I am struggling with appetizers. I wanted to have more variety, while keeping it relatively simple and inexpensive.
For smaller dinner parties (4 people or so), I often make cream cheese bacon wrapped jalapenos or crab stuffed mushrooms or escargots, but this is rather a large party and will be time consuming and pricey to make these appetizers. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance!

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  1. You can probably add bacon to this dip. It's basically jalapeno poppers in dip form.

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe...

    2 Replies
    1. re: viperlush

      You can DEFINITELY add bacon to that dip - that looks delicious! I would just make a big dish of this, put out some chips and crudites and let them go to town.

      1. re: biondanonima

        It is delicious and easy. I made it for a bbq last night (10 people) and served it with tortilla chips and pita chips. I substituted some cheddar for some of the parm. Next time I will try sour cream for some the mayo and maybe add a habenaro to spicy it up more.

    2. It sounds to me like you already have lots of food. I'd save myself the trouble and call the cheese & coldcuts apps. Maybe add some kind of bread and dessert and you're good.

      1. I agree that you have plenty of food. I can't imagine folks not noshing on chips and dips (sour cream based, or salsa, or whatever), or bowls of party mix (chex cereal, nuts, pretzels).

        4 Replies
        1. re: pinehurst

          Agree w/ this... already lots of food, so chips and salsa was the first thing that came to my mind. This one came from the recent COTM by Rick Bayless, and it's one of my new favorites because it's so easy to put together, and uses canned tomatoes which helps keep the cost down when it's not quite tomato season: http://www.pink-parsley.com/2010/01/r... I use the Muir Glen Fire Roasted diced tomatoes.

          1. re: juliejulez

            I love this salsa also. Next time I'm going to follow a rec to broil the jalapenos and garlic. Mine didn't really get soft in the skillet but the end result was great.

            1. re: c oliver

              Yeah I halved my jalapenos lengthwise and seeded them (everyone I've served the salsa to so far is heat averse, except me) then put in the skillet, so that helped to get them soft faster.

            2. re: juliejulez

              Thank you - salsa looks real simple to make and I can make a night before and refrigerate. Thanks!

          2. This Mushroom Cheese Cups recipe below from a 1993 community cookbook is wonderful and can be made ahead.

            Cucumbers on rye squares open-face sandwiches are great and very inexpensive. Use small square "party rye", usually found near the deli area. Mix 8 oz. cream cheese with 1/4 C. bottled ranch dressing in a small plastic zip bag. Slice 2 cucumbers into rounds. Place bread on serving tray (a jelly roll pan is OK), cut a corner of the zip bag and squeeze about 1/2 tsp. of cheese mixture onto each slice, firmly press a slice of cucumber on that to attach and spread cheese to edges. Can cover first layer with plastic wrap and put a second layer of appetizers on top. Cover tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can also just be assembled/served quickly.

            A 3rd idea - Purchased eggrolls, baked and then cut each into 4 appetizer-size pieces w/ toothpicks?

            Mushroom Cheese Cups

            1 cup chopped onion
            2 cups chopped mushrooms
            3 T. margarine/butter (optional)
            ¾ C. shredded mozzarella cheese
            ¼ C. grated parmesean cheese
            ½ C. chopped fresh parsley
            2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
            1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
            1 tsp. salt (optional)
            ½ tsp. pepper (optional)
            8 slices white bread or 4 10-inch flour tortillas
            ½ C. margarine/butter, melted

            Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
            (Optional – I used them uncooked – in small skillet, saute onions and mushrooms in 3 T. margarine, remove from heat) Combine onions, mushrooms, cheeses, parsley, egg yolk, oregano, and optional salt and pepper. If using tortilla, cut tortilla into approx. 1 ½ in. squares. If using bread, remove crusts from bread and cut each slice into 4 squares. Roll flat with rolling pin. Dip each bread/tortilla square in melted butter, and place in mini-muffin cup. Fill each cup with about 1 T. mushroom-cheese mixture.

            Bake 20 – 25 minutes. Makes 32 appetizers

            Tip – cups can be prepared ahead of time, frozen and reheated.

            Adapted From Potluck for 33,000 – 1993 Cookbook by Dayton’s Hudson’s and Marshall Fields Employees to benefit United Way - Carol Kalan, Dayton’s Minneapolis

            1 Reply
            1. re: MidwesternerTT

              Thank you. I really like the idea of cucumber appetizer. I might even add a little bit of lox (smoked salmon) on each

            2. Thank you guys, appreciate all the comments. I was also thinking chips and dips, but it looked a little too simple for me.
              I know it sounds like a lot of food, but there will be many men who eat a lot and I always make such feasts that the expectations are high, and since its my hubby's graduation, I wanted to do well without breaking the bank :)

              6 Replies
              1. re: Allenkii

                I often make a salmon rillettes. It disappears every time. It can get spendy depending on your source for the fish. Here's the recipe:
                http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/11/...

                I like to make Spanish style deviled eggs that include oil packed tuna and smoked paprika but they can be fussy.

                A white bean and rosemary dip/spread also seems to disappear and it's very inexpensive to make.

                I love having fun with different crostini toppings:
                caponata and ricotta
                caramelized onion with balsamic and blue cheese
                smashed avocado and poached shrimp
                wild mushroom sautéed with anchovy and parsley
                smoked trout salad
                artichoke hearts, mascarpone, parmigiano and chives
                chicken liver pate with balasamic onions

                1. re: ChervilGeorge

                  Thank you for the salmon recipe! If not for this gathering, I will Definitely be trying it for smaller event! Looks delicious and simple!
                  I also absolutely love the idea of caramelized onion with balsamic and blue cheese.
                  Would you please give me more details about wild mushroom sautéed with anchovy and parsley. I have several cans of anchovies in my pentry that I never found bravery to cook! So, a recipe would be good. As well as recipes for smoked trout salad and artichoke hearts, mascarpone, parmigiano and chives
                  Thank you in advance!
                  Alla

                  1. re: Allenkii

                    Sorry, just now saw this. For the wild mushrooms, I just get a variety of mushrooms and chop them pretty small. You could even just use button if that's all you can find or what to spend money on. I sauté them in butter along with a couple minced anchovies and a smidge of salt. Be careful not to brown them too much. If I have sherry or white wine in the house, I'll add a splash or two and let that cook off. When just about finished, I'll throw in a bunch of minced parsley. I like lots of black pepper in mine. Place atop toasted bread.

                    I have no recipe for the artichoke, I've done it where I've mixed chopped artichoke hearts with the mascarpone and chives. Basically a spread. Then I'd top with shaved parm. But I prefer to thinly slice the choke and lay atop a smear of mascarpone. Then sprinkle with shaved parm and chopped chives.

                    For smoked trout, I like this
                    http://www.savorysimple.net/smoked-tr...

                    and this(although it's not smoked trout and is easily adapted to be a crostini topper

                    )

                    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                2. re: Allenkii

                  IF they truly are big eaters, how about a cheese and cracker platter with some sausage chunks along with. another idea, you can bake up a pan of sliced kielbasa with sauce and toothpicks for grabbing:
                  3# keilbasa or summer sausage
                  1 small jar grape jelly
                  1 jar chili sauce, bake all till bubbly or put in a crock pot for a few hours and serve it out of that too, easy cheap and filling

                  1. re: Allenkii

                    is the caesar salad for you? ;)

                    i don't like serving lots of fiddly things to guys and i dislike having too many last-minute balls in the air.

                    greens on plates when people are eating buffet style can be kind of a pain -- they take up lots of plate real estate and wilt outside in the heat. if you want greens, how about roasted green bean salad (all prepped ahead, tossed at last minute), or pea/mint/feta salad?

                    for the cold cuts, instead of the usual suspects like ham and roast beef, maybe some hard salamis and good italian cold cuts, like mortadella and capicola? those stuffed cherry peppers usually go fast too. i've bought decent ones if you don't want to bother.

                    after just a few people get into chips and dips, it looks like a train wreck, broken bits and sploshed gunk everywhere, and not everybody can be trusted to not double-dip.

                    a spanish tortilla can be made ahead and is great room-temp, so no oven or grill space.

                    buy good pizza dough, pre-assemble an assortment and grill those while the grill is heating up for meats. you could also make savory bread pudding.

                    mac and cheese cups are always a hit and can be made ahead and just reheated. make mac/cheese. line muffin cups with thin-sliced ham. top with mac/cheese, bake til golden.

                    have fun!

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      No, salads for everyone else :) The hungry guys will come with their girls, plus even guys eat lots of salads, at least my friends do. There will be no grains - meat and salads!

                  2. I agree with adding some crackers to the cheese and cold cut platter and putting that out for appetizers.

                    You could grill some corn on the cob and cut each ear into small wagon wheels. Sprinkle with a little salt and paprika, or offer some seasonings on the side, and pile the corn onto a platter.

                    1. Get a coupla diffrent types of Sausage and grill them up and pass them around with some whole grain mustard (I get the big Kilbasa's as away to start) .

                      Deviled Eggs always a hit. Make the eggs the night before along with the stuffing (yolks) simply put the plastic wrap directly over the stuffing mix so that it doesn't look funcky when you serve it.

                      For some thing diffrent you could also grill up some Korean bbq using a cheap cut of meat - london broil, Chuck Roast and served on Skews.

                      This is a really good one
                      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ka...

                      If you wanted to class it up a bit, Clams or Mussels in White Wine with Cherzio and Fennel - served with lots of bread.

                      Many of my bbq's these days are tapas style - I make make a few things to pass around with many salad's, dips etc.. The slower your guests eat the less they'll eat.

                      If you want recipes etc hit me back - congrats to your husband (and you) on his graduation.

                      37 Replies
                      1. re: sparky403

                        I believe OP has everything covered and is JUST looking for apps.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          @linguafood - sorry that's Chorizo as in Basque Sausage - despite the spelling error it's quite good with clams and mussels.

                          @ c_oliver Yes, I understood that.

                          - I think Clam's & Mussels, for instance are a great appitizer with plenty of bread 2-3 lbs will easily feed a crowd of this
                          size for appitizers.

                          My point, was trying to be that many of my bbq's are a bunch of diffrent styles of grilled meats, and vegs, past around until the main event.

                          Though everyone loves american bbq, korean, Thail, bbq, or a grilled tri-tip (or two) past around on a platter with Chimichurri etc is a pretty nice way to eat and keeps things interesting for guest and cooks alike.

                          1. re: sparky403

                            It still sounds like main dishes to me anyway. And feeding clams and mussels in a backyard to 15 people sounds pretty tedious. And she's got the meat decided on. Salads, cheese, cold cuts. Just looking for apps.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              i love seafood of all sort, but planning it as apps, even with other food, you figure 1/2 lb to 3/4 lb pp. that's 7-10 pounds of shellfish. not 2, and has to be done at the very last minute.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                Thanks for pointing out the amount of shellfish as OP is trying to keep costs reined in a bit. The minute you add that, the price goes up. And yes re last minute. I've had the clam, mussel, chorizo, broth dish a number of times and it's a seated, served when ready dish. I'm assuming OP is serving buffet style so that just adds another problem. IMO, of course.

                              2. re: c oliver

                                3lbs is ample - i assume they're going to be other appitizers dips etc to go along with it as she states.

                                i have served this many a time to raves, (it's a staple at my orphans thankgiving each year... normally more than 15 people).

                                Further, they take no more than 15 minutes from start to finish to prepare. it's in no way a challenging or tedious dish to prepare. - Spelling is a challenge cooking this is extremely easy..

                                1. re: sparky403

                                  My opinion varies wildly from yours. That's fine.

                                  1. re: sparky403

                                    nobody suggested it's tedious or difficult. :) am assuming your t-day dinner is indoors?

                                    perhaps your guests have small appetites? rule of thumb for planning events ( my career for 25 years) is 1/2-3/4 shellfish pp. op has already said these are guys with big appetites.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      Actually, h, I believe I used the word "tedious." By that I meant that here she is with 15 guests in a her backyard and she's supposed to dash back into the kitchen, Get the clams, mussels and chorizo ready to go. Get the broth simmering. Cook it. Then how's it going to be served? When I've had it, it's been in a wide soup bowl. I can't imagine any other way. Mugs aren't suitable. If she can figure out how to serve it, then what? Tell everyone to drop what they're doing and come get it NOW. Cause IMO that's not a dish that's going to sit around waiting for anyone. That's what I meant by "tedious." :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Agreed. Most people can deal without cocktail forks. Yet the expectation of bread for dipping means more set up. Plus where do they deposit the shells?
                                        The dish in itself isn't complicated, it's the environment.

                                        1. re: holypeaches

                                          agreed about the setting. as a small starter, at a sit-down, 2-4 pieces of shellfish in broth, in a wide bowl, is nice, but this is not that kinda meal.

                                      2. re: hotoynoodle

                                        Hmm - It's simpy that - an idea - the poster, asked for Ideas for classy appetizers that aren't too difficult to prepare, nor too costly for an informal yet special occassion. that screams mussels to me.. They;re easy, relatively inexpensive, classy, 5 ingrediants or so, done in ONE pan in 15 minutes.. All in your looking at 20 bucks

                                        I live in a very small place (studio in SF) So when I make them it's either outside, at someone elses place, catering kitchen, bar... etc.. actually to come clean - II am a fan of them for nice yet informal events because over the 10 years or so that I've been making them they've never lasted more than 30 minutes.

                                        Further, The secret to any succeffull event is the prep, in this case, the broth could be a couple of hours in advance and if you wish (though it's so quick anyway, why bother?) The parsley garlic, fennel, etc chopped and ready to go. Further, most gas grills, these days have an attached burner. For that matter - it could be done right on top of a charcoal grill in a covered large skillet - what's not to like? And no small appetities here - I'm over 6ft over 200 lbs with friend to match.

                                        I have a lot friends that are chefs and that work for very large catering companies, and you're right, they don't serve them either (though they should)- when I make them, they suck them up like it's their job:-) so it realy doesn't seem to crazy nor too tedious. to me or them. I mean really? Paella is tedious and crazy but lots and lots of people make right on the grill -( in spain every weekend).

                                        Re: the quanity - the point of mussels to me, aren't the mussels at all - IMHO it's more about the broth and a nice loaf or 3 of crusty bread to dunk Further, it doesn't sound like this is the sole appetizer? For an event like this you expect some cheese, a couple dips, etc..

                                        1. re: sparky403

                                          i LOVE mussels.

                                          you're right -- they could be cooked in a big wide covered pan on the grill. BUT! to serve and consume them, you need to ladle them out asap, into at least 15 wide-rimmed bowls, then provide enough cocktail forks. i also like a spoon. then someplace to put the shells. everybody needs to eat it at once. how do you hold the bowl, the fork and the bread, bust open the shells, and pry the meat out, while likely standing at an outdoor bbq?

                                          please don't be upset. for a seated meal, this can often be a great choice. some of us disagree with its place at an outdoor buffet where the op wants little to do at the last minute and is hosting a bunch of carnivores.

                                          it's the kind of party where stuff gets eaten with your hands and you're not messing with all different kinds of china and flatware.

                                          1. re: sparky403

                                            Splitting hairs certainly, but the OP didn't ask for "classy" food, what ever that means.

                                            And plus one to everything hotoynoodle said.

                                            And please tell us how this would be served in a backyard. Color me confused :)

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Family style - appartently no one here has ever been to belguim - cocktail forks? . http://voices.yahoo.com/video/how-bel...

                                              Because it is in a backyard with a lawn there's no need to put them in 15 bowls for a sit down app.

                                              Not sure why everyone wants to split hairs here but they do.. (with out offering any better idea's btw).

                                              When I make them I serve them in my large all clad braiser, like the photo, on a cutting board with plenty of bread and an extra bowl to discard the shells - pretty simple.

                                              If you're stil confused google mussels family style and hit images...

                                               
                                              1. re: sparky403

                                                I don't think it is strange at all...but our outdoor parties consist of oyster roasts and low country boils.

                                                1. re: sparky403

                                                  Oops, we're not talking about the same thing all of a sudden. I was referring to the clam, mussel, chorizo in a broth dish. And wondering how THAT would get served in the backyard.

                                                  And, yes, I've been to Belgium and eaten tons of mussels.

                                                  1. re: sparky403

                                                    i'm sorry, but this wouldn't be a familiar style of service for most americans, would it? and he's still seated at a table with a plate, lol.

                                                    and then, what? everybody dips their bread in that big pan? :O

                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                      For anyone that can walk and chew gum it's just as easily accomplished standing as it is sitting..

                                                      Yes, they all dip there bread in the bowl of mussels (exactly like you do with fondue).

                                                      Not that american? perhaps - the op didn't ask for it to be American - they could make cocktail weenies in bbq sauce without posting a question here. If that's what they wanted.

                                                      For most, it's a nice change, not really that far out of the box and it checks all the boxes she's asked for..

                                                      For those with an open mind and a healthy appeitite, I'm sure they would enjoy them and be happy for this "un-american" suggetion

                                                      1. re: sparky403

                                                        i like the idea in certain ways just fine. in fact, thanks to this thread, dinner tonight is mussels and chorizo, pan-seared local scallops and steamed white asparagus. :)

                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                          But I want you to eat it in the backyard standing up :)

                                                        2. re: sparky403

                                                          It actually doesn't check one box - cost ;) I don't live on the coast and good muscles here are VERY pricey (this is the reason I never cooked them - ordering in the restaurant is less pricey than cooking at home). So, won't be making it for 15 people plus its a bit messy and I would prefer the appetizer I can cook ahead of time so I spend time with my guests in the backyard. However, all that being said, I will absolutely try that recipe for a smaller sitdown dinner :) Very excited about it!

                                                          1. re: Allenkii

                                                            I've never made this but always wanted to - Not sure it fits your crowd but couple of brisket's and Julia Childs Recipe would rock the house.

                                                            http://juliachildsrecipes.com/beef/ju...

                                                            Also, I think short Ribs would be nice for a crowd - easy (and likely better) if you do the day before and just re-heat.

                                                      2. re: sparky403

                                                        This look great, sparky, I am borrowing your idea next time we have people over (almost every weekend it seems!). Need to get a nice brazier. We love to eat outside and tapa style is the best for summer.

                                                        1. re: sparky403

                                                          then there's people like me who would just about cry if mussels were served. I hate mussels.

                                                          1. re: laliz

                                                            I think that's a great point for any group gathering. I try to avoid those things that aren't pretty universally loved. For instance, I'd be willing to bet that far more people will eat shrimp than mussels.

                                                      3. re: sparky403

                                                        Mussles are a weird idea for a stand up back yard party, which, if I'm not mistaken, is the situation,

                                                        Just my opinion. And I like them.

                                            2. re: sparky403

                                              Thank you for the ideas!
                                              What stuffing are you using for devilled eggs?

                                              Also, could you please give me the recipe of muscles? I won't be making them for this gathering, but would love to make them for an elegant sit-down dinner.
                                              Thank you

                                              1. re: Allenkii

                                                I've had this version at Matt's in the Market and it IS super:

                                                http://articles.chicagotribune.com/20...

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Thank you very much! I am saving the recipe!

                                                2. re: Allenkii

                                                  recently made deviled eggs for a kentucky derby party. used bacon drippings instead of mayo, plus crushed bacon and bourbon folded into the yolk.. zowie delish.

                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                    Oh, my goodness! That's one of the most delectable sounding things :) So when the bourbon(!) mixes with the bacon drippings, does that keep the drippings from going solid? I don't make deviled eggs very often but egg salad is a real fave. Thanks for sharing this. I'm suddenly quite hungry and it's several hours til dinner :)

                                                  2. re: Allenkii

                                                    Sure - for deviled Egg's I - Roasted Garlic, Cornichons , or small or sweet dill pickels, Dejon Mustard, Mayo(or sour cream works very well too) - the secret is a bit of the Pickle Vinegar (and the roasted garlic). Fresh Parsley or Dill. My stuffing is a bit loser, than many (you can add a few talbspoons of Bread Crumbs if you want to tighten them up). Also,

                                                    there are lots of Idea's for up-scaling the delived egg - Smoked Salmon, Wasbi, etc. It depends on your crowd. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03...

                                                    Muscles with hard cider, chorizo (Spanish only - Not mexican) & saffron

                                                    2- 3 Lbs Mussels
                                                    - a good Pinch of Saffron (2 teaspoons? too much and it will taste medicinal).
                                                    - 3 or 4 cloves of garlic (or more....
                                                    )- 2 good sized shallots
                                                    - 1/2 to 1 stick of butter
                                                    - Flat leaf parsley (fresh of course)
                                                    - 1.5 to 2 bottles of hard cider Like Ace (plus one for the cook - this is important)
                                                    - 1 Spanish chorizo (make sure it's not Mexican - Spanish ones are smoked you can get at whole foods or Spanish / basque markets).

                                                    - Optional: 1 small fennel bulb thinly sliced / diced.

                                                    Method:

                                                    Brown the chorizo in some of the butter to render the fat from the sausage on medium.
                                                    as the fat renders add the shallots, garlic and some of the parsley,

                                                    after those are browned add the saffron for one minute.

                                                    -Add the cider (making sure that you're drinking one as you do). Bring
                                                    just to a boil to combine the flavors. add the rest of the butter.

                                                    - Add the mussels all at once, cover to steam for about 5 minutes or until they all open - discard the ones that don't - Top with more parsley

                                                    *Optional - one fennel bulb sliced thin - add it with the shallots and garlic (but worth it).

                                                    Make sure you have a lot of great bread - the broth is honestly the best part!!

                                                    I don't really measure things so feel free to add more or less as needed

                                                    As I've mentioned in the rest ot the thread I normally only make these for a pretty large crowd (thankgiving and the like) I serve it family style though you could easily put it in individual bowls.

                                                    1. re: sparky403

                                                      Two teaspoons of saffron from Penzeys costs thirty bucks. Too rich for my blood.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        Which is the reason I didn't post my recipe in the first place...plenty of other great recipes without Saffron.

                                                        Truthfully, you've been critical every single thing I have posted in this thread without offering one suggestion or Idea to the thread. I don't think that's what the OP had in mind and I'm sure you have other things to do?

                                                        If you shop at the most expensive places exspect to pay the highest prices... pretty simple.

                                                        This would be an enough to 1 - 2 batches... Per my recipe.

                                                        http://www.nuts.com/cookingbaking/her...

                                                        Try and inidian market far cheaper. I bought at least 5 year supply for 25 bucks earlier this year.

                                                        1. re: sparky403

                                                          Why buy a five year supply of something that goes stale, like saffron?

                                                          1. re: sparky403

                                                            Actually I've offered several suggestion. And I'm sorry if you took my comments as critical. Sometimes trying to clarify, not being critical. When OP was looking for apps and you were offering mains, it seemed appropriate. Mea culpa.

                                                  3. I'm jumping in on your query, I'm doing the same thing next Friday, I have a HS grad, & at least twice that many people (probably 30-45). I'm going heavy on smoked & grilled meat-pulled pork, brisket, grilled chicken, ribs & try to fill in w/ salads/dips/other sides. Lots of drinks in coolers, & dessert right now is poundcake, berries, & other fresh fruit...we've got a monsoon here, hope it clears up before next weekend...

                                                    1. Sweet and Sour Meatballs

                                                      1 bag turkey meatballs
                                                      1 jar chili sauce (Heinz is good)
                                                      1 jar grape jelly

                                                      Cook in crockpot. These are amazing and filling as an appetizer.

                                                      1. You might consider potato salad rather than 2 fruit salads.

                                                        I also think you don't need apps, just some dips, salsa, guac

                                                        But if you do need an app, consider deviled eggs.

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                          Hi, what stuffing are you using for devilled eggs?

                                                          1. re: Allenkii

                                                            Devilled eggs can be time-consuming to make - about 20 minutes per half-dozen hard-boiled eggs. Here's my family's recipe based on the one in old Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, starting with 6 eggs. You'd probably want to double or even triple this.

                                                            For 6 eggs

                                                            Day before or early a.m. - Hardboil 6 eggs. Chill.

                                                            Remove shells. Cut eggs in half and remove yolks to a small bowl. Mash yolks with fork.

                                                            To the hardboiled egg yolks add

                                                            2 T. mayonnaise
                                                            1 t. vinegar
                                                            ¼ t. salt (We omit when using prepared mustard)
                                                            dash pepper
                                                            ¼ t. paprika
                                                            ½ t. dry mustard or 1 t. prepared mustard

                                                            Put filling in egg whites. May use a ziplock snack bag with corner cut out to squeeze filling into egg whites (more decorative swirls or peaks).

                                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                                              thank you

                                                              1. re: Allenkii

                                                                Just an FYI, to avoid the green color in hard boiled eggs cook as follows:
                                                                put eggs in pot with water, bring water to a boil. immediately turn off heat and cover. let sit 12 min. then cool in cold water and afterwards they are ready for peeling and look and taste perfect

                                                                1. re: Allenkii

                                                                  piping the filling makes them look much nicer and makes the whole job MUCH faster. you can cook, separate the eggs and make the filling he day before, then just pipe before the party. it takes minutes, even for large quantities.

                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                    Exactly!

                                                                    And use the oldest eggs you can find that aren't past their use by date. Older eggs are much easier to peel.

                                                                    And don't put bread crumbs in deviled egg filling.

                                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                      you can "age" the eggs on the counter too. just leave them at room temp for a few days.

                                                          2. Slices of cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto, throw some slivered parmesan over them and serve with some red and green grapes. I serve it all over some red leaf lettuce leaves for decoration, and some balsamic glaze on the side to drizzle over it all.

                                                            Bobby Flay did a simple bruscetta that was pretty good too: brush some slices of cibatta with olive oil and grill them. Then spread quince paste on them and slices of cabralese cheese. I couldn't find cabrales so I used a dutch blue cheese, which worked fine imo.

                                                            Cocktail meatballs are pretty easy, you just make some basic beef meatballs about the size of ping pong balls, then bake them and serve them in a mixture of cocktail sauce and grape jam that's been heated together. It's kind of like a sweet and sour sauce.

                                                            1. Tortilla roll ups / pinewheels would be good!
                                                              Sausage balls
                                                              Bacon crackers ala Martha Foose

                                                              1. How about grilled artichokes? simple and delish....

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: perk

                                                                  I am ashamed to admit i have never grilled an artichoke and not sure how....

                                                                  1. re: Allenkii

                                                                    No shame. It's really simple. You prep it as you would to steam them. Then steam or boil them (I usually do this the night before.) Then drain and wrap in paper towels. Put them in the fridge overnight. They need to harden, so they don't fall apart on the grill. Then before you grill, halve them and scoop out the choke. I usually do this whenever I have time during prep....and then put them back in the fridge. Then I just brush some olive oil on them and season with salt and pepper. Turn once. Cook until they start to crips a bit. I usually serve mine with a couple of sauces....chipotle mayo and mustard dill. So simple. So good.

                                                                    1. re: perk

                                                                      I've done similarly. Steamed/boiled, quartered, then marinated a few hours. before grilling.

                                                                      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/em...

                                                                2. Asparagus wrapped in pancetta (just enough to cover it, so one slice will cover 2 -3 asparagus) s and p, drizzle with olive oil,only one row deep on a sheet pan then under the broiler for 1-2 minutes - add a couple of drops of balsamic reduction when they come out of the oven. Serve.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                    My BF's sister did something similar for Easter. Bundles (4 spears) of asparagus wrapped in bacon and roasted. Really pretty and tasted good.

                                                                    Can also do it as a cold dish. Boil, cool, dry then wrap in proscuitto and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic. Could probably substitute hearts of palm for asparagus for something different.

                                                                    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ge...

                                                                  2. Thank you for all your responses! I have settled on the menu today using crostinis, dips, and and artichoke ideas from this posts, BUT (and this is a big but)...Now, it is forecasted to rain on Friday, so we cannot make BBQ. Its Monday night and I have NO idea what to make for so many people. I am back to square one...have appetizer ideas now, but no main dish :( Nothing comes to mind for easy / inexpensive for that many people :(

                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Allenkii

                                                                      Pulled pork in a crock pot, sausages with peppers in the oven, and make someone hold an umbrella and do burgers on grill.

                                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                                        We've grilled in rain and snow storms. So, yeah, move the party indoors but never stop cooking :)

                                                                      2. re: Allenkii

                                                                        First of all, you may want to start a new post since it's really a new topic. But you can still kinda/sorta grill :) We recently had to disconnect our gas grill cause we were getting tile on the patio. Our standard MO is to take ribs, cut them up into individual ones, s&p, drizzle with oo, cover tightly with foil. Into a 425 oven for an hour. At that point they're done and really tender. We baste them with our sauce of choice (ours is usually Asian) and usually toss them on the grill for a few minutes to brown them up. Not having the grill available, we put them under the broiler for a bit. I swear they didn't lose a thing in flavor. When we do chicken, we'll usually poach them a la Frugal Gourmet til they're done and again put on the grill. See no reason that you couldn't use the broiler also. Good luck. Good old Mother Nature. She'll always have the last word :)

                                                                        1. re: Allenkii

                                                                          What about oven fajitas? http://www.budgetbytes.com/2013/02/ov... It still feels summery even though it's done inside.

                                                                          Also, maybe chicken enchiladas? You could make a homemade sauce ahead of time and bake them in disposable aluminum pans.

                                                                          A taco bar would probably work pretty well too... just do one or two proteins, like chicken and ground beef, and just set out toppings for everyone to build their own.

                                                                          Pork roasts (like already mentioned for the crockpot) could also easily be done in the oven, a couple should feed quite the crowd and they're not very expensive.

                                                                          There's always the usual stuff like lasagne, baked ziti, or baked meatballs too.

                                                                          1. re: Allenkii

                                                                            Lasagna made the day before. Everyone loves Lasagna.

                                                                            1. re: SocksManly

                                                                              Chipotle brisket with tortillas.

                                                                            2. re: Allenkii

                                                                              See this recent thread - Pernil (roasted pork butt with Mojo Crillo - Orange, Lime, Garlic and Oragano) is pretty easy and Cheap for a crowd as well - If you read through the thread I've posted a recipe for Pernil.

                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/901871

                                                                              1. re: Allenkii

                                                                                For my book club, ~12 people, I did jambalaya. Served with a green salad and baguettes. It was a big hit. Save a little dough by slicing the shrimp in half.

                                                                                If ribs are on sale, there's nothing easier in the crockpot (not as amazing as ribs finished on the grill but still a crowd pleaser). I also agree with the suggestions for pulled pork or roasted pork butt. Good luck!

                                                                              2. THIS:

                                                                                http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes...

                                                                                If you get a large enough roast (9-10 lbs.), it should be enough as a main, especially if you have many side dishes.

                                                                                It is one of my go-to dinner party dishes, with the addition of toasted fennel seeds to the rub, and I also tend to add a bit more cayenne.

                                                                                I don't actually pull the pork -- I serve it on a large platter with 2 large silver forks, and people just pull off however much meat they want. I rarely have leftovers, and when I do -- we are happy!

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                  agree about pork butt. i don't wet-brine, just use a dry rub overnight and slow cook in the oven.

                                                                                  similar spices to this, but no onion/garlic powder. fresh garlic and fennel seed added to the mix.

                                                                                  slow cook @ 225, covered, in a mix of beer, orange juice and water.

                                                                                  you can make this ahead and just reheat for the party.

                                                                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                    I do Will Owen's pork shoulder http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5826...

                                                                                    If I had the time and inclination, I prepare it the day before and refrigerate. Then I can slice in thick slices and reheat either in a slow oven or the slow cooker.

                                                                                2. If you have a crockpot, this recipe could work. Put a beef roast (we use eye of the round, but other cuts could work, too) in the crockpot with a can or two of beer and a packet of powdered Italian salad dressing mix. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for about 5, then shred the meat and add it back to the broth. Serve on kaiser rolls. It's good plain, but my family likes to add sweet or hot sandwich peppers or horseradish mayo.

                                                                                  This past weekend I tried a variation of the recipe with some turkey tenderloins I couldn't grill because of bad weather, and I made my own seasoning blend using garlic and onion powders, oregano, basil, a little Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. It turned out well, so I think it would work with chicken, too.

                                                                                  The great thing about this recipe is that it can be done in advance and reheated the evening of the party.

                                                                                  1. Ok, thank you everyone for replies. Here is the menu so far. I tried to make a menu where lots of this can be prepared a day ahead. Also, I would still love to add one more “heavy” salad, like a potato salad, but something that’s fairly simple to make at home. And it will be served family style, I guess – all the food is on the table and people just help themselves.

                                                                                    Appetizers:
                                                                                    Crostini (small toasted baguette with the following toppings):
                                                                                    1. Tomatoes / olives / anchovies
                                                                                    2. Garlic mushrooms with cream cheese and chives OR mushrooms with anchovies
                                                                                    3. Smoked gouda & pear with walnuts (return to oven just to partially melt cheese) OR brie, honey and apple
                                                                                    4. Flank steak and parsley sauce (need to find recipe still)
                                                                                    Homemade Chicken Liver pâté served with crackers
                                                                                    Salmon spread served with crackers
                                                                                    Homemade Guacamole + bought salsa and chips

                                                                                    Main Dishes:
                                                                                    Pork kebab on BBQ (Russian traditional BBQ meat - 7kg for 15-17 people)
                                                                                    2 roasted chickens (one stuffed with buckwheat and one stuffed with rice, apples and cranberries and basted with honey)

                                                                                    Salads:
                                                                                    Cabbage / cucumber / dill / apple salad
                                                                                    Caesar
                                                                                    Watermelon salad
                                                                                    Carrots with garlic and mayo

                                                                                    Desert

                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Allenkii

                                                                                      Do you mean Chimchurri? (Parsely Sauce?).

                                                                                      Everyone has a diffrent way to make this but I definitely reccomend..

                                                                                      1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
                                                                                      •1/2 cup olive oil
                                                                                      •1/3 cup red wine vinegar
                                                                                      •1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
                                                                                      • 5 garlic cloves, peeled (or more to taste)
                                                                                      •3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
                                                                                      •1/2 teaspoon salt - one large tablespoon of dried or fresh organo (I used dried)
                                                                                      - Optional - dash of sugar or honey to round out the flavors.

                                                                                      It's better if it's made the day before - since it's covered in olive oil and it lasts a long time in the fridge.

                                                                                      1. re: Allenkii

                                                                                        Veggo's chimichurri is rather famous around CH. And he destems every single piece of parsley!

                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6185...

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                          This has been the most uncomfortable thread ...

                                                                                          To stay on subject your menu looks great!

                                                                                        2. re: Allenkii

                                                                                          looks good!

                                                                                          are you in the northern or southern hemisphere?

                                                                                          one quibble -- am getting some seasonal dissonance with a table that holds both a watermelon salad and apples, pears and cranberries?

                                                                                          if it's summer for you, i'd stuff that chicken with lemon/garlic/rosemary. :)

                                                                                          the smoked gouda crostini would work with an arugula or watercress puree in place of pear.

                                                                                          same question about the cabbage/cuke salad? i'd just do cukes and mint.

                                                                                          if, in fact, it's fall for you, i'd skip the watermelon totally.

                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                            Good catch re seasonality.

                                                                                          2. re: Allenkii

                                                                                            If you don't feel confident making potato salad (it's easy, just need time for peeling the cooked/cooled potatoes), perhaps a pasta salad would be the type of side dish you want?

                                                                                            The menu looks wonderful. I'm a fan of apples, pears and dried cranberries year round. I think you have plenty of variety, good food, and will likely have great leftovers to enjoy the following week.

                                                                                          3. I think you need a starch like potato salad or something like crash potatoes, rice salad or hot rice pilaf.

                                                                                            And totally yep to the seasonal thing. Apples and cranberries are December.

                                                                                            I can give you my own recipe for a radish salad with oranges arugula, mint and chives. Besides the oranges it's picked from my garden.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                              Please share that recipe, I'm always looking for ways to use up radish.

                                                                                            2. Microwave Mexican Restaurant Sweet Corn Cakes

                                                                                              Makes 6 cups, 12 servings - On table in 15-minutes

                                                                                              Copy Cat Recipe. I wanted a quick recipe to copy the sweet corn cakes (Mexican spoon bread) that are served at Mexican restaurants like El Torito and Chi Chi's. This is ready to eat in about 15 minutes. For a less sweet dish, reduce granulated sugar to 1/3 cup. For a firmer sweet corn cake, microwave an additional 3-minutes.

                                                                                              If you've never had these at a Mexican restaurant, they are similar to a firm, sweet, grits or polenta, with a corn tortilla flavor. The corn tortilla flavor comes from the masa harina flour.

                                                                                              Ingredients

                                                                                              1 cup yellow cornmeal
                                                                                              1/4 cup masa harina flour (or 3 corn tortillas, uncooked, - process in food processor to fine bits, use in place of masa harina)
                                                                                              1/2 cup granulated sugar
                                                                                              1 tablespoon baking powder
                                                                                              1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                                              2 cups milk
                                                                                              1 cup water
                                                                                              1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
                                                                                              1 egg, beaten
                                                                                              4 tablespoons butter, melted

                                                                                              Directions

                                                                                              Stir all dry ingredients together in mixing bowl, mix well and set aside until needed.
                                                                                              Mix all wet ingredients together in another bowl. Stir until well mixed.
                                                                                              Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir out any dry lumps in batter.

                                                                                              Pour into a 3-quart covered, microwaveable casserole dish.

                                                                                              Cover and microwave on high for 6-minutes.

                                                                                              Stir well. Stir bottom and sides of dish well to remove any dry lumps.

                                                                                              Cover and microwave on high for another 6-minutes.

                                                                                              Stir a few times and serve warm using an ice cream scoop or disher.

                                                                                              This gets thicker as it cools and reaches room temperature. If you want a more gritty sweet corn cake, use polenta corn meal instead of regular corn meal.

                                                                                              1. How was the party? Did the weather cooperate for outdoor BBQ?