food and beverage ideas

sandy523April 23, 2008

My husband and I have remodeled an older home in a small town. He is a teacher and the house is just a block from the school. The remodel has been going on since January and everyone wants to come over and see it. I am thinking of hosting on a Friday afternoon when they all get off work, a little come see the house party. They can walk or drive down, come in and have something to drink and some finger foods or something. Very informal. I need some ideas on drinks and foods that would be ok and not too ...I don't know. I'm not really good at these sort of things so any ideas and suggestions would be great. Thanks in advance for your help!

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Will you be serving wine or cocktails? or strictly coffee and lemonade?
I would offer a white or a red wine and either cokes or a fairly non sweet fruit drink.
Then simply set out, trays of cut up veggies with dip,a cheese tray or cheese ball, some cookies or brownies and coffee.
You could have more offerings or just cookies and cut up fresh fruit on toothpicks.
Decide what you want to do and then ask for recipies.
Linda C

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 8:56AM
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I wouldn't have too much "filling foods" cuz it's just before dinner time. They'll have to go home and cook for their families.

I'd just have 2-3 different bars/squares with coffee and juice. Just a little sweet something before they go for dinner.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 11:57AM
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    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 1:07PM
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I agree that you should keep the nibblies light but I much prefer savory to sweets at that time of day...however that's a personal choice. If you are not used to entertaining stay away from anything hot unless you can serve it in a crockpot or chafing dish, like cocktail meatballs (have very easy recipe if you are interested)

To keep it casual, set out food on trays a various locations and keep them all bite size. You could set it all up on an kitchen island or table but then people will tend to gather there, which is not a bad thing. So it depends whether you want people spread out or visiting in one area. Both have pluses.

The food will depend on how elegant you want this to be. You can put on a lovely showing with some very simple platters.

Prepare a cheese platter with several different cheese, try and make a selection that is a little out of the ordinary, ie not all American Cheddar and Jack ! Choose a wonderful double cream brie, an aged white cheddar, a blue, a British cheese etc. To make it special add some small pieces of rustic breads or sliced rolls to the selection of crackers. Add a pate or two as well, perhaps a plain and an herb or maybe peppercorn.

Shrimp on ice with a dipping sauce or two is always a hit.

I love to serve an anti pasta platter. They really do put on a show, for little effort. It's just so easy 'cause you pretty much buy it all at the deli counter of any large grocery store (but bonus if you have access to good Italian deli) and then arrange on platters spread with Romaine lettuce leaves.

Lots of pics on the WEB you can look at for ideas.

Typically I use:

Canned artichokes
Selection of Olives
Prosciutto , rolled up
Hot salami and a mild salami
Quartered boiled eggs
marinated mozzarella cubes or mini boccochini balls
slice cherry tomatoes marinated in Italian dressing
pickled mushrooms
jarred Italian pickled peppers
roasted red peppers

Good luck with the party and congrats on the reno!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 1:32PM
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I have two wonderful and unusual dips that I love to serve with toasted pita chips, tortilla chips, endive leaves, and other vegetables. One has cream cheese, corn, and pecans, and one has pomegranate and walnuts. I know they sound odd, but both oh so good with cocktails or wine, and a single recipe goes a long way.
If you would like the recipes, let me know.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 5:48PM
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I'd like those recipes, please. They sound great. I'm always on the look out for unusual dips & appetizers.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 5:58PM
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I like Gellchoms idea. I would do that. Maybe add some ham biscuits. Tiny ones. I do the small dinner rolls that are about a half dollar size. I mix equal parts of butter, dijon together and some poppyseeds. Then I slather on the rolls. I have shaved ham and place that on them. Then wrap in foil and heat enough to melt or make warm. They are a hit everytime.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 6:24PM
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I love dips for parties because you make them way ahead (they usually are better that way), you don't have to keep them hot, you put them out and forget them, and they are very easy for guests to eat with one hand while holding a drink; no plate or silverware needed. And I love the leftovers!

I'm happy to share. These are both excellent and also rather substantial, so they are good for hungry guests.

This one is from New Mexico Cooking, by Clyde Casey. It makes a lot, but it keeps well. MMMMM! You can use leftovers for sandwiches, too.

Corn & Pecan Dip

2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
¼ cup lime juice
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground red chiles (I used 2 t cayenne and it was plenty hot)
½ t salt
dash black pepper
¼ c vegetable oil
1 16-oz. can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 c chopped pecans
1 small onion, diced (I like more)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except corn, pecans, and onion. Beat until smooth with electric mixer on medium speed.

Stir in corn, pecans, and onion.

Serve with tortilla chips (Trader Joe has great ones).


This one is from a cooking class I took on a trip to Napa last fall with 4 other women -- we all turned 50 in 2007. It was fun. The cooking class was my favorite part. I liked the woman who did it, and the recipes were not only all fantastic, they weren't too hard or complicated -- we actually are making them at home. (If you are going to Napa, I recommend her highly. She has a good web site, too:

This is so good, you won't believe it!

Pomegranate-Walnut dip

1 cup walnuts, toasted & finely chopped (toast 350° 5 minutes)
2 small red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
3 T lemon juice
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup pomegranate molasses*
2 T sugar
1 T cumin seeds, warmed a bit and ground**
2 ½ t kosher salt
1 t cayenne
½ extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup pomegranate seeds (do underwater in a bowl to prevent staining hands)
mint or parsley garnish
endive leaves
pita toasts

Grind the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add the peppers, onion, and lemon juice. Pulse on and off until finely chopped.

Add breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, sugar, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Mix well in the processor; add the olive oil until well mixed. Place in a serving dish. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and mint or parsley. Serve with endive leaves and pita chips.

* Pomegranate molasses is NOT the same as pomegranate juice. It is kind of hard to find, but it's worth it. They have it at middle eastern markets, and it's an interesting shopping trip! Anyway, one bottle will last you maybe forever, or you can share some with all the people who will ask you for the recipe!

** I warm the whole seeds, then grind them with a little mortar and pestle. You could use the bottom of a little jar in a bowl.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 8:15PM
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Thanks for all the great tips. I will certainly use them.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 3:15PM
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