Parties are for socializing with friends and family but let's face it, they are also about food and drinks. The drinking and talking thing is pretty easy, but the eating and talking thing can get a little tricky, depending on the kinds of foods the host serves. Nobody wants to try and eat a taco on a miniature plate standing on a white carpet in a cashmere sweater. It’s easy to only give thought to entrees or desserts, but don’t overlook the planning involved when selecting the best finger foods for your friends. The easy flow of conversation and food will be the sign that you’ve created a successful selection for everyone to enjoy.
Consider The Time
The timing of your party will have a direct impact on the food you provide. Are you having an evening gathering or a late night shindig? If your guests will be at your party during lunch or dinner hours, you should provide a wide variety of foods that include several savory options. Some examples include meatballs, pigs-in-a-blanket, mushroom caps, or empanadas. Planning on partying all night? Give your guests energy with grilled cheese dippers, soft pretzels, mini quiche, or egg rolls. If you’re having a post-dinner gathering, stick to sweet desserts like bite size cheesecakes, chocolate chip cookie and frosting sandwiches, chocolate dipped strawberries. Another option: go all out with a sundae bar.
Consider Your Guests
Deciding on a menu should beg the question, “Who is going to be eating this food?” If you are hosting a few close friends, consider their favorite foods and dietary preferences. Your friends will certainly appreciate that you considered their gluten allergies or aversion to dairy. Chances are, you will have people at your party you haven’t met before – the new girlfriend of a co-worker or the friend of a friend. To avoid any awkward situations, you should aim for a wide range of options. Vegetarians aren’t the only ones who love puff pastries stuffed with cheese, and there are plenty of delicious dairy free desserts to choose from when considering which sweets to provide. It can also help to consider the span of flavors you offer. It’s a good idea to include one or two spicy options and one or two sweet options and then fill in the middle with savory.
Nobody wants to miss their own party because they're in the kitchen stressing out. Do yourself a solid and make sure to plan for appetizers that can be made a day or two in advance or the morning of, and just a couple that you have to make near the time of the party. Pinwheels of any sort are nice to make ahead because they won’t dry out if you leave them un-sliced until right before putting them out. Make your cocktail sauce a day early, and then all you’ll have to do is arrange the accompanying shrimp the morning of the party and keep both in the refrigerator. Crockpot meatballs can be assembled the morning of a party and left to marinate all day. There are quite a few dips that can be made ahead of time as well, including baked spinach artichoke dip and buffalo cheese dips. Prepare the dips ahead of time and pop into the oven so that they are done as your guests arrive. Piping hot food without breaking a sweat? That’s good party planning.
As you plan your appetizers, also take into consideration whether you have the proper serving dishes and utensils. You don’t want to buy everything for shot glass desserts only to realize the night before the party that you don’t own enough shot glasses. Consider how many bowls you have for chips and dips, or count out your trivets so you know your furniture will be protected from hot dishware. And of course, make sure you have enough plates and napkins on which people can place the amazing foods you have thoughtfully prepared. If your party will be void of tables, make sure you use plates that are sturdy enough to hold the food but light enough that they are not a burden. Take it to the next level of convenience with a set of Party Pals that are sure to be a fun talking point for your guests.