Menu Planning for Your Party
What Kind of Party and Food? Pick a Menu You Like:
Menu Planning for a fast, easy party? Or nicer but still simple? Cheap but cool? A Dinner party? Or elegant in every way?
Every party has a story. Here’s some of ours - see where yours fits in. Food and drink are like the paints - your party is the canvas.
Start Here by Choosing a Menu Style:
When we say “Appetizer” Menu, we mean serving snacks, appetizers, maybe a salad, and desserts.
"Dinner" Menu means more food - snacks, appetizers, dinners, maybe salads and vegetables too, and desserts.
1. Fast & Easy, "Watch the Game" Menu
Who knew they would go to seven games? It’s Wednesday,
the game’s on Friday at 8pm, and so is the party.
No time to plan, about 20 guests. OK!
So it’s informal, good fun food with friends:
Ham and Boursin on French Bread . Also some bowls of chips and munchies.
Chicken Fingers. Use our BBQ sauce and have a bottle of Frank's around.
Get a helper and prep the Chocolate Ice Cream Dips at the 7th inning stretch.
Bottled Beer and Wine, maybe a bottle of Jack and some champagne (if they win!) Guests serve themselves.
Brew some coffee.
2. Cheap Menu - Wings, Pizza and Beer
You planned this party two months ago,
and then last week Bill got his hours cut.
Now what? Cancel? Bill says “no way.”
He needs this party. So let’s go.
We can do this, and it will be OK.
About 50 people are coming on Saturday from 7PM until whenever.
Friends, fun, comfortable and not fancy,
we’ll keep it simple but still serve some great food.
Crescent Pizza. We’d make a bunch – they taste yumm and go great with beer.
Chicken Wings! It’s a wing thing. You bet – ours are totally good with several sauces. Make a lot.
White Chocolate Smores have that kid thing going on, but with a grown-up twist.
Domestic Beer, One Keg, and some wine. If someone’s got a favorite (like Bill!) add it in.
Soda in 2 liter bottles, Coffee Bags and Tea Bags – cheapest way.
3. Fast, but Nice Appetizer Menu
The Baby Shower has to go forward on Sunday.
Five people are flying in, including Mom...
but your Sister just broke her foot, and is on percocet...
So the party’s not at hers, it’s at yours...
And today is Tuesday… 30 people coming from 2 pm – 6 pm.
...in 5 days...
...Deep breath… This needs to be nice.
The food has to look and taste great. Mom's coming.
Olive Bread Bowl. Call and order two loaves.
Lobster Roll Snack. Call ahead to have the shop cook and cool two small lobsters, then buy the pre-pulled meat.
Tuna Sashimi, so good – just don’t serve any to the expecting.
The Tomato & Fresh Mozzarella Salad is beautiful. Add some lemon slices to the garnish.
Chocolate Fruit Skewers. Be sure to make a few without the chocolate.
Godiva Raspberry Parfaits, use another berry fruit if raspberries are out of season.
Wine Bar, Guests serve themselves. We’d add a plate of assorted cheeses next to the wine.
Soda, juice and brewed coffee and tea, served in insulated servers.
4. Guy Gig – Fancy Combination Appetizer/Dinner Menu
It started out as a promotion party for Willy,
and then you remembered it was also Sid’s birthday,
and Ed is back home, Gary and Rick are both becoming fathers,
and it turns out that ESPN has an all day “Fight Night”
marathon… Can you feel the testosterone?!
Sunday, 4 pm until 10PM (school night…), 25 should show.
Celebration’s in the air. Lots of really great
food and drink with good pals.
You’ve got time and you love to cook.
He'll remember this day, and you, for a long time.
Nachos loaded right up with sausage, olives, onion, tomatoes – hot sauce on the side.
Lobster Roll Snacks, our most requested snack. Sometimes we serve them along side of deviled eggs.
Bacon Kielbasa Wraps. We’d make two batches, a fresh one around mid-party, nice and hot.
Why Chef Salad is such a guy thing, we’re not sure – but we’d add salami and maybe hot peppers for this party.
Barbequed Chicken, boneless, easy to eat party-style. We’d make sure to have a couple different hot sauces around.
Stuffed Shrimp never disappoints. We would have extra shrimp for this party, steamed with garlic butter.
Homemade Shortbread with Chocolate Fudge Fondue is way too much fun. We would make just enough for this party.
White Chocolate Smores bring out the kid in everyone. Easy to make days ahead.
Liquor Bar, 2/3 cases assorted Beers, 2 bottles of Wine.
Soda, Brewed Coffee and Tea
5. Easy and Fast Dinner Menu
Uncle Ed passed, your family’s on the way,
they’ll be coming to your home right from the cemetery.
You’re planning for 50. No one expects an elegant meal,
but you want to do something nice, the work
takes your mind off things, and your friends are coming to help.
You decided to put out all the food at the same time
because some people will come and go,
while others will stay all afternoon.
The Olive Bread Bowl would work nicely with a second kind of bread. We’d serve 3 bowls.
Ham and Boursin on French Bread. We’d make them with and without the ham. Delicious and easy.
Salad Nicoise is an elegant way to provide a substantial salad. Some won't have eaten.
German Potato Salad is wonderful comfort food. We’d make a little extra for this occasion.
The Corn with Bacon & Onion and the Rice Pilaf both need to be in a chafing dish, so they stay warm.
Rice Pilaf has so many derivations – add what your family likes.
Salmon with Fruit Salsa will be enjoyed by many, but we think more would want the chicken.
The Stuffed Chicken is delicious and family fare – the stuffing is light and nice.
White Chocolate Smores might not be an elegant dessert, but families love it.
None, with maybe a bottle or two in the kitchen for later.
Brewed Coffee served in insulated servers, and Tea
6. Cheap Dinner Menu
The Retreat Dinner’s budget was cut, along with everything else.
The Director wants the dinner to go forward,
but for as little as possible.
You have the time and help, but every penny counts.
125 people are coming for sure. Dinner begins at 6,
followed by a program.
Olive Bread Bowls are always welcome. We’d have some bowls of pretzels at the Wine Bar too.
Caesar Salad. Prep and refrigerate the romaine. Mix it after most people have arrived.
German Potato Salad is a filling and fun salad. It will take some pressure off of dinner.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes will work nicely, but for this one we’d cut the garlic down a bit.
Corn Casserole. Can’t go wrong with this one – substitute chopped tomatoes for the bacon if you need too.
Rice Pilaf will stretch your food budget. Keep it nice and warm while serving.
Chicken L’Orange isn’t our cheapest (BBQ Chicken is.) But for an evening like this, we’d go a little extra with a nicer dinner that would appeal to most people. There’s lots of veggies and salads for those who don't want the chicken.
White Chocolate Smores Use inexpensive chocolate if need be. Still tastes great.
Wine Bar. Ask your local wine shop folks for help on inexpensive wines.
Coffee and Tea Bags, Water
7. Nice, Fancy Dinner Menu
“Production Manager” – has a nice look to it, especially when
it follows your wife’s name on her new business cards.
She was shocked – God, when they called her in
- she thought they were going to let her go…
And you are totally proud. Time to celebrate!
75 family and friends can fit in the house, right? Well, we’ll see.
She’ll know about it, but the surprise will be that you can pull this off
– (you and Party-Recipes-and-Ideas together!)
Your kids and others are helping you.
Saturday, 5 pm for Cocktails, 6:30 for Dinner.
The Ham and Boursin French Bread will be served first with the Bar, so we’d make a little extra and also serve some cut up cheese.
The Bacon Kielbasa Wraps should go out right away, taking some pressure off of the French Bread.
The Strawberry Avocado Salad needs time and attention to detail. Make it look as great as it tastes!
A Tomato Mozzarella Salad is just so good. Some people will make this their meal. We like to spread the basil leaves down on the table around the salad.
This Sweet Potato Casserole. Your vegetarian friends will especially appreciate it.
Rice Pilaf always works. Garnish it nicely and keep it warm during the party.
Chicken Divan is an elegant dinner, tender and delicious, everyone seems to like.
Our Salmon with Fruit Salsa is such a surprise because it’s completely simple to make and serve. Enjoy!
The Chocolate Fruit Skewers are a favorite. Be sure to prep some without the chocolate.
Our Godiva Raspberry Parfait is our most requested dessert. Serve with pride.
Full Bar with BarMan, 1/6 Imported Beer Keg, Wine, Champagne Toast
Soda, Brewed Coffee and Tea
8. Elegant Dinner Party - Reception
She’s been like a sister, closer maybe. Your best friend for life. She wouldn’t have a wedding reception if you didn’t do it, so you’re making it happen. It’s not your gift, it’s just you. You want something really out there. 100 guests, mostly close family and friends.
The Ham and Boursin French Bread works as is, or add some other toppings, leaving one or two with just the Boursin.
Lobster Roll Snacks are delicious, but pretty pricey. We’d add a cheese plate nearby to balance things out.
Our Tuna Sashimi is so fun. Keep the tuna refrigerated until the last moment.
Caesar Salad that Caesar would have enjoyed (too bad they didn’t have romaine back then…)
Chef Salad adds that message that you’ve gone all out to serve just the best.
Broccoli and Cheese is always a hit – just be sure to keep the chafing dish warm.
The Rice Pilaf is a favorite. We’re always surprised by how many people enjoy it.
Sweet Potato Casserole. We wish we had a dollar for every compliment we’d had with his one. You’ll see.
The Salmon with Fruit Salsa is completely easy to make for large numbers.
Stuffed Shrimp is so elegant – our guests always rave about it.
The Chicken L’Orange is another easy dish to make and serve, appreciated for flavor. Kids like this one too.
A Wedding Cake you made. It’s beautiful! Made for love, with loving hands.
BarMan, 2 - 1/6 Imported Beer Keg, Wine, Champagne Toast
Soda, Waters, Brewed Coffee and Tea
Here's a great site for everything about
planning a “Pink Party”:
Pink Heaven Party Ideas
“adds sparkle to every occasion” with it’s innovative and lovely ideas.
Questions? Need an idea for your party? Use the form below to ask us about quantities, substitutions, whatever. We're here to help.
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