Most people host a huge holiday party every other year... they need a 'down year' from all of the effort and expense.
Parties shouldn't have to be stressful and extravagant to be fabulous - in fact, most great parties are just the opposite.
I've put together a budget friendly cocktail party menu for 20 that you can assemble in 2 hours for less than $50... now that is fun!
I like to do one food display table that is the centerpiece of the party, then I'll place little bowls of snacks - nuts, olives, chocolate, etc. - around the house. I'm a symmetrical person - I put two paper whites flanking the display with a boxwood wreath in the center. I like to use all cake stands as the platters to give everything a special spot.
Who says quiche is just for brunch? This tasty and simple wild mushroom, chive & white cheddar quiche is the perfect satisfying addition to a light hors d'oeuvres menu. I made this in a tart pan with removable sides so it would look pretty - I would cut this into square pieces to make it seem less 'quiche-like.' Get the Wild Mushroom, Chive and White Cheddar Quiche Recipe!
This is one of the most popular hors d'oeuvres I serve at my cocktail parties. It is made on puff pastry dough (that I buy frozen) so it is super easy, but impressive to serve. Get the Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart Recipe Here!
Canapes are hors d'oeuvres essentials - I made two varieties of canapes for this menu. Roasted Beef with a horseradish cream cheese is so simple and always the first to go. Get the Roasted Beef Canapes Recipe Here!
You can put almost anything together on a slice of baguette and it will be delicious. I like this combination for its color and tangy bite. Get the recipe for these Roasted Red Pepper and Blue Cheese Canapes here!
Who doesn't like blue cheese and bacon? I always tell my Clients that these are the elegant solution to the potato skins that all men love... steamed gourmet fingerling potatoes topped with blue cheese and bacon. They are 1-2 bites of comfort goodness. I've also done varieties with mushrooms, cheddar, sour cream and even caviar for really special occasions. Get the recipe for Blue Cheese & Bacon Potato Canapes Here!
Here is the view from above - festive! Always use lots of votives on your food table... instant atmosphere.
A cocktail party wouldn't be complete without a cocktail... this is an easy, less expensive spin on my favorite, Kir Royale. Kir Royales are typically made with Champagne and Chambord, a raspberry liqueur. I used the red raspberry and black berry gumdrop candies you can find anywhere... I found them at target for $1.50. They give a lot of berry flavor and great color to an inexpensive sparkling wine or Presecco, an Italian sparkling wine. Much cheaper than a $40 bottle of Chambord!