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How much food do I need for my party?
December 5, 2011 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Open House food for 70: enough! or too much?

I'm having a holiday open house this sunday, and I've invited everyone I can -- about 70 people on FB, but more via email/in person. Now, not everyone will come, and not everyone will come at the same time (start at 3 pm, till midnight) so I'm not concerned about filling the house, but FOOD is an issue: I normally give house parties, where everyone just drinks and eats chips.

"Open house" implies a spread of finger food and baking, which I'm looking forward to doing. But how much food will I need? How about drinks?

And anyone got any favourite stand-around kinda munchies/finger food recipes to share? I have cookies, and I'll do spinach dip and such, pick up some frozen shrimp, cheese and crackers, etc. I've just never fed this many people and don't want to run out!!
posted by jrochest to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
Get a couple of deli trays from your local supermarket. Get more than you think you'll need and you can use the leftovers for lunch for the next week.
posted by TooFewShoes at 1:16 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


This may be helpful : 101 Simple Appetizers in 20 minutes or less
posted by NorthernAutumn at 1:27 PM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also this: Plan Appetizers for 100
posted by NorthernAutumn at 1:28 PM on December 5, 2011


The rules of thumb are:

1. One or two bites of food per person per hour if you're serving a meal, or
2. around five per person for hour if you're not.

Note that a "bite" of food means one canape, one handful of olives, or one piece of whatever.

Moreover, a web site I'm looking at now suggests about 7-9 different kinds of food for an hors d'ouerve-only party like it sounds like you're doing. They also suggest having some bites of something sweet; you've got the cookies on hand, and you've got cheese and crackers, and spinach dip (which I'm assuming is going with a crudite platter.

Some other easy things to try are:

* A couple of different kinds of thickish vegetable purees or pates on crackers. You can either just put a big bowl out and have the crackers surrounding it, or you can pre-make little crackers with dollops of stuff already on them. Or use good crusty bread; I have a recipe for a sun-dried tomato dip that is nothing more than sun-dried tomatoes (the kind that come completely dry in plastic bags, not the kind soaked in a jar in oil) dumped into a bowl with water and microwaved until they soak up all the water, then you add oregano and some chopped garlic and olive oil and microwave them again, and then you puree them. People would all but immerse their faces in the stuff and beg me for the recipe. A couple different kinds of things like that with crackers or crusty bread would be great.

* You can roast and spice your own mixed nuts; about 2 tablespoons of seasoning per pound of nuts. Melt butter or warm oil in a skillet, dump the spices in and toast them a few seconds, then stir into the nuts and pop them in the oven (kind of like making chex mix).

* Cheese puffs are dead easy. Boil a cup of water and a stick of butter together in a pot, dump in a cup of flour all at once, let it cool about 2 minutes or so, then beat in 4 eggs one by one. Then stir in about a cup of grated cheddar cheese (and maybe a little bit of parmaesan or some herbs, or hell, maybe some crumbled up bacon). Drop tablespoonfulls onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then turn down to 350 and cook another 15 minutes. That makes about 2 dozen right there, which will feed 8 people if that's all they eat.

* Mini-crustless quiches -- get a mini-muffin tray. Take your favorite quiche filling recipe (usually eggs, milk, cheese, and some other kind of vegetable substance). Grease the mini-muffin tray and pour the quiche filling directly into the cups. Bake at 350 until set. It's more "meal-like" and they look all cute.

* Cheese straws. Get some puff pastry from the supermarket, thaw it out, and sprinkle on cheese. Twist the strips and bake according to the puff pastry instructions. (they'll probably have a recipe for this right on the box.)

* Devilled eggs. Make a couple different kinds -- the last time I served those at a fancy-ass party I made the old-reliable kind, where you mix mayo and a little mustard into the yolk, and another kind where you mixed some thawed frozen spinach and a little nutmeg in. They both went like gangbusters and the spinach one looked all pretty.

I've actually catered a couple parties for about that many people; those are some of the things I've done that went over well. If I think of more I"ll let you know.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:31 PM on December 5, 2011 [20 favorites]


On the basis that your guests will be transitory, I'd get 2 cases of wine and 8 hors d’oeuvres per person. If you're baking, cookies count as 1 hors d’oeuvre. This is a good guide.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:32 PM on December 5, 2011


My absolute favorite thing to serve at almost any eating function is bacon wrapped dates. People generally go nuts over them.

Medjool dates - cut along one side to remove pit
Parmesan or other hard Italian cheese sliced up to fit a sliver into the "slot" of the date.
Wrap with half a slice of thin bacon and use a toothpick to secure

Bake for 10-12 minutes (or until bacon appears done) at 375.

Medjool dates can be surprisingly affordable in the bulk section of Whole Foods, fyi.
posted by FlamingBore at 1:32 PM on December 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Things that can go in a crockpot and stay warm are good for things like this (meatballs, cocktail weenies etc). If you have leftovers, you can freeze them.
posted by maxg94 at 1:34 PM on December 5, 2011


I am smacking myself on the head and saying HELL YES I AM SECONDING THE BACON-WRAPPED DATES.

You can also get dates that are pre-stuffed with almonds or something instead of stuffing them yourself. People will be trying to literally CRAWL INTO YOUR OVEN because these smell AMAZING while they bake.

Along that vein: fried green olives is also an idea. You literally don't need a recipe -- just get some big horkin' green olives (sometimes you can find these pre-stuffed with things like almonds or garlic; the jarred kind in your supermarket are fine). Drain them, beat a couple eggs and get some breadcrumbs ready, and warm up some oil on your stove in a skillet. Roll the olives in the egg wash and then in the bread crumbs and fry them. That's it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A crock pot with cheese (Velveeta - don't be a hater), Rotel and cooked lean hamburger for beefy queso and a bowl of tortilla chips right next to it.

Four large bags of prepared chicken wings (BBQ, Teryaki, buffalo), they only take about 20 minutes in the oven. (Puts bags in fridge so they aren't frozen solid when you put them in the oven. Put out half a bag every couple hours. A bowl with ranch dressing and some cut up carrots/celery sticks that you buy already cut up. Get a couple of bottles of ranch and leave in fridge til ready to use.

Two large pans of some kind of casserole, one that you put out at 4:00 and another at 8:00. These can be lasagna, chicken alfredo, that you buy from your local Italian restaurant. Maybe shepard's pie...

Also, thinly sliced deli meats - ham, turkey, prosciutto, speck, mortadella, and the skinny Italian cracker/breadsticks

Fruit tray - grapes, apple slices, pear slices, strawberries, dried fruit - apricots, cranberries, mango - maybe vanilla yogurt for dipping
posted by shoesietart at 1:45 PM on December 5, 2011


Thanks, all! That's very helpful: I really needed the 'numbers' info and the recipes look wonderful.
posted by jrochest at 2:07 PM on December 5, 2011


My standby was crudite platters, artichoke dip, baked brie, a spiral ham with dollar rolls, olives, and a big ol' cheeseboard. The next day: Cream of Party Soup!

Also, a college student or server to open wine, clear dishes, and replenish trays is worth his or her weight in gold.
posted by cyndigo at 2:11 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you follow this advice, please invite me: get 2 cases of wine and 8 hors d’oeuvres per person.

Time the food to come out on a 'rolling' basis, so people who come later get fresh yummy things. The more variety there is, the more people will eat, to some extent. Just in case people are really hungry, a backup of hummus and carrots, chex mix, quiche, or other foods that can be put together fast* are a good idea. If you don't need them. they'll keep.

*crockpot of sausages, in a sweet-n-sour-n-hot sauce of red(currant) jelly & tomato sauce(add cider vinegar for more sour, hot sauce for more hot), served with sliced french bread.
posted by theora55 at 3:04 PM on December 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


AAAAAACK! I need to amend that recipe for cheese puffs, as I left out one detail:

Cheese puffs are dead easy. Boil a cup of water and a stick of butter together in a pot, dump in a cup of flour all at once [and stir until it's mixed in and the dough is in one big clump], let it cool about 2 minutes or so, then beat in 4 eggs one by one. Then stir in about a cup of grated cheddar cheese (and maybe a little bit of parmaesan or some herbs, or hell, maybe some crumbled up bacon). Drop tablespoonfulls onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then turn down to 350 and cook another 15 minutes. That makes about 2 dozen right there, which will feed 8 people if that's all they eat.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:55 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


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