Pool Party: What do you serve your guests?

southernmumJuly 30, 2010

Hello! This is definitely a lighter/more entertaining topic! For those of you who already have your fabulous pool, what are your favorite menus/food items to serve at your pool parties? Entertaining with around 20 people(incl. kids) at our pool next weekend, and I'd love to make a real splash! (sorry, couldn't resist! :) I want it to be easy enough, or do-ahead, so I can actually enjoy the party myself, rather than slaving away in the kitchen while the others are poolside. Thanks!

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Beer, in plastic glasses

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 8:26PM
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We try to keep it limited to finger food that doesn't require sitting down or utensils. A fave among kids of all ages seems to be pigs in blankets using the cocktail franks. Also anything that can be put in a crock pot or slow cooker for self-service is good.....meatballs, bar-b-q, whatever. A few hot items along with veggie trays w/dip, fruit trays w/dip, and cheeses and cold cuts with crackers seem to go over well. Get plenty of disposable plates and forks and make sure you have plenty of trash cans that can be easily reached. If you're trying to impress, seafood such as shrimp platters and so forth are nice, but pricey.We stay away from steamed shrimp and chicken wings and such because of the mess. Most importantly don't stress out and enjoy yourself...most of your guests come to see you, (kids excluded) not for the food.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 1:46AM
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Assortment of BBQ. I charge it to my company on Fridays and it feeds everybody for the entire weekend.

It's kind of wrong but hey...this is America!!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 8:24AM
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We put ice in large tubs for drinks. We get sushi from Costco, shrimp salad, fruit, veggies with dip, and BBQ. If very hot or threat of rain we set up food inside. Everyone knows they can't go inside dripping wet, even the kids.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 9:30AM
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Bratwurst, baked beans, hot dogs, hamburgers. Anything easy and that can be done on the grill. That way you can be cooking and being part of the outdoor atmosphere not have to be inside. I have ice in coolers with plastic cups, turvis tumblers for the adults and adult beverages. Lots of Champagne for the adults too. Everyone will have a great time. If you have a lot of people and they want to bring a dish make sure it is something easy and have them put in foil containers or disposable containers. Most of all do have fun. Everybody has fun when it is a pool party.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:24AM
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Copious amounts of booze to make them forget food! Throw a few tri-tips on the barbie then slice it thin. It's like serving steaks without the need for 20 steak knives and a seat at a table. Another thing that works pretty well is to go to Wing Stop and get one of their bulk hot wing platters.

All this helps to avoid the sit down all at one time for eating and people will forage over the dinner period. Makes for smaller plates filled with a course at a time and everyone seems to find a spot to sit. Believe me you don't want to spend the time placing tables for twenty people to sit.

Over the years we've had many of pool parties and it helps to have folks bring a side or dessert. You know the whole thing about "what can I bring." We've found that people actually feel more comfortable when they bring something. I know this seems strange but they also seem to help with the layout and cleanup when they're making sure you try their green beans with funions and pickled kippers casserole all the while keeping tabs on their prize tupperware. Fish breath is a small price to pay for the help and a single cocktail will make it as if it never existed.

I know we don't subscribe to the Martha Stuart book of party planning but if you don't want to spend a whole lot of time cleaning up and prepping so you can focus on the fun take em up on the "what can I bring."

Partygoer:What can we bring?

You:Well we have some hot dogs but we're a little short on chateau briand, filet mignon, and caviar.

Partygoer:Maybe we can bring some potato salad.

You:Wow that will be perfect!!! It will go so well with the hot dogs.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 12:14PM
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typea that is great:)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 4:34PM
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Very funny typea!!
We usually provide burgers and dogs while our guests always bring the sides/drinks/ice. We set out tubs and/or coolers to throw the drinks in (no glass, please!) and keep the grill running. Our guests feel quite at home so they'll go ahead and cook when they are hungry. A fresh fruit bowl is a favorite w/ adults and goldfish a favorite w/ the kids. Paper and plastic for easy cleanup and hope for nice weather!!
Enjoy your party! Can we come?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 10:37PM
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BBQ chicken and sausage and peppers (or meatballs in sauce) made the day before (reheat chicken on grill). London Broil - slice it for sandwiches. Hotdogs. I stay away from grilling burgers unless I'm going to get help on the grill. Baked beans, and lots of vegetarian sides.

I agree, tell the guest to bring a side or dessert, but definitely tell some to bring sides. One year we had 5 types of chocolate chip cookies. The next year was the brownie bake-off (6 types). At least that's better (to me) than 6 types of cole slaw or potato salad.

For parties I definitely enforce the "no glass on the patio" rule (referring to beverages, not serving pieces). Plastic cups work great. Get a Sharpie Marker and have everyone write their name on their cup. You will only go through about 1/3 of the cups that you would otherwise. We also have some "nice" acrylic wine glasses for those who can't stand the idea of drinking their wine from a solo cup.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 8:50AM
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We had a party yesterday, and served pre=made (purchased) pulled pork, pre-made (purchased) broasted potatoes, hot dogs with the makings for coney islands and a number of salads (fruit, green, cole slaw and fruit). Also, we had appetizers including nacho chips with queso dip, shrimp cocktail and spinach dip. It was a lot of fun - and I have a bit of a hangover today. But, it was our pool debut and totally well worth it. Have fun!!!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 10:09AM
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This sounds "GROSS" but is so good and easy. It was in my newspaper for Super Bowl snacks and they said to "trust us and try it" and I happened to have the ingredients on hand and "made it" despite being very skeptical. We had to force my B-I-L to try it (he knew the ingredients) and then he sat over the crock pot with a fork and ended up eating them all and buying himself a crock pot later.

So here it is:

1 bag frozen meatballs (I use Kroger brand homestyle)
1 regular size jar Pace Picante sauce (not that tiny jar, and not the huge jar...I think it is 12 oz. you choose the heat...we use medium)
1 can Ocean Spray Cranberry sauce (the type you serve at THanksgiving)

Mix the two sauces in your crock pot, add the meatballs and cover them by stirring, and then turn on the crockpot on low for about 6 hours or so...

Can be eaten alone for your party, or put them on toasted hoagie buns and cover with a slice of smoked provolone cheese for a great sandwich.

SO easy, and very good....it is a unique flavor of the two sauces combined...neither cranberryish or salsa-ish....more of a tangy barbecue.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 11:28AM
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Thanks, guys, for all the great suggestions! I like all the ideas, and esp. appreciate the reminder to use paper plates and plastic cups, etc. The people we're having over ARE the Martha Stewart type, and this helps me to remember to make it easy on ME, and just to have fun! Mmmmm, now I'm thinking I'd like a cold beer and some of the cheese queso or meatballs you all mentioned...Right now! :) Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 11:38PM
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We like to grill pizza- we pick them up from Papa Murphy's and then slice them in small slices after grilling. A mix of plain peperoni for the kids and some gourmet veggie for the grown ups - good for a meal or as appetizers. Hummus and chips and burgers/dogs/sausages cut up fruit.

I like to keep it simple. I'm happiest with pizza, chips/dips and cold white wine - not much to do :-)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 2:59PM
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After eating, while floating around in the pool, I've never seen adults so excited about Otter Pops, Popsicles, and the individual Ben & Jerry's ice cream cups.

My neighbor is a party planner and she showed me a great tip for keeping food cold outside. I bought some stainless steel bowls for about $3 at Ross, filled a big plastic under-bed storage box with ice and put the stainless bowls in the ice. The stainless bowls will keep your potato salad, salsa, and condiments cold.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 1:52AM
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tsip2000, I made your meatball recipe yesterday. It was a hit! Rather than the hoagie rolls, I used hot dog rolls. They are awesome with the provolone cheese! Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 6:51PM
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