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Friday, December 10, 2010

Holidays | Entertaining | Christmas Cocktail Party Menu | Budget Friendly Party Ideas

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!


  1. Just found your blog and really enjoy it! 4 stars ... Have you ever considered adding a search box for recipes..Although I enjoy going thru all the recipes, it would be helpful...and faster ... Thanks for a wonderful read.

  2. I always thought a Kir Royale is a mix of Champaigne and Cassis, which is not as expensive too ;)


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