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Party food - cheap, quick, stress-free.....any ideas?

(20 Posts)
FruitString Mon 07-Jul-14 14:55:31

Approaching the big five-oh, I decided to have a party. Due to an Excel Spreadsheet glitch (always blame technology) I seem to have invited a few more than I realised. The list now stands at 85 and counting. I was originally going to do all the catering myself, and then decided on Waitrose Entertaining. But now I think this could be beyond my budget. While I try to decide whether it''s better to avoid stress and spend money - or save money and maybe get a little bit stressed, I will probably buy a few big bags of frozen sausage rolls etc from Iceland (tried and tested already at a Christmas party and they are fine). But I'd like to do some interesting salads etc. I'll do a big bowl of home made hummus with bread and stuff to dip into it. And some pasta salad and potato salad. I'm wondering whether anybody out there has any other good ideas and/or recipes for EASY and CHEAP party food..? I really can't spend all day cooking so needs to be stuff that is really really simple (and it all needs to be served cold or at least at room temp). And I need to know how many it serves.. Thank you!

Dancingqueen17 Mon 07-Jul-14 15:41:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Meow75 Mon 07-Jul-14 15:43:40

See what your local Subway can offer you. They do a number of platters. Might at least take some of the work of your hands.

nilbyname Mon 07-Jul-14 15:51:51

I would do-

A big round of Brie, Stilton and cheddar, loads of lovely French stick, couple of jars of chutneys and a couple of green leafy salads and job done. Add loads of grapes, big chopping boards some baskets to put the bread, some apples. Will love lovely and rustic.

Do a couple a tray bakes of brownies for afters.

Look here for presentation ideas-

FruitString Mon 07-Jul-14 16:15:12

Ooooh yes, love all the presentation ideas. Think I might go rustic - very appealing. Anybody have any ideas on how to calculate quantities? Eg. for cheese, cold meats? I suppose if I imagine what I might put on my own plate then multiply that by 85..?

nilbyname Mon 07-Jul-14 17:00:09

I would talk to your local deli/butcher to help you with that, thts what I do.

You could buy a couple of big cheapest gammon joints and prepare them yourselves and let people hand carve it. Yum!

FruitString Mon 07-Jul-14 17:29:04

Mmmmmm... good idea. Thank you.

Fruit kebabs! Sliced fruit on skewers. Colourful, easy, and goes down a treat!

Mrsgrumble Mon 07-Jul-14 17:34:36

Crusty bread and maybe other breads cut up into a basket

Defo gammon sliced or turkey

Waldorf salad is lovely

Crackers (fancy ones) with topping would be really cheap

Fruit salad/ trifle

Coronation chicken

Cheesecakes and banoffe would be lovely

Mrsgrumble Mon 07-Jul-14 17:35:19

Oh and happy birthday.. Hope you get fifty kisses grin

Clutterbugsmum Mon 07-Jul-14 17:36:27

I would probably caterer for around 60/65 people max as you don't want to be left with a tonne food left over.

AllMimsyWereTheBorogoves Mon 07-Jul-14 17:52:38

You could pick up some quiches from the reduced counter and freeze them until needed (check they can be frozen, obviously!). Or look for a good BOGOF/3 for 2/similar offer to get hold of stuff you can freeze now.

A really good pork pie (a really large one) would be nice too. You can slice that up into quite small slices. That plus some cheese, maybe a bit of bread and some pickled onions and I'd be a v. happy partygoer!

FruitString Mon 07-Jul-14 18:01:43

Ooh yes, all very good ideas. I KNEW Mumsnet was the place to ask! I like the fruit kebab idea - how about accompanying it with a chocolate dip....
And thank you Mrsgrumble.

Yes, great idea re: chocolate dip

Rosa Mon 07-Jul-14 18:11:05

Sister did a similar thing. Several small tables dotted round marquee , near to drinks table, inside , in garden with loads of bits all over ( similar on each one) people could pick as and when they wanted. Mainly finger stuff , dips, french bread hunks of cheese and pickles so DIY stuff She hired a chocolate fountain and did that with loads of fruit. Huge jugs of pimms ( pimms fuit chocolate dipped is yummy,) barrel of beer . Loads of soft drinks Hired glasses from sainsburgers as she hates plastic cups.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 07-Jul-14 18:20:33

Do you have a fish market near you? Cold poached salmon always goes down well and it's a doddle to prepare

For 85 people, I'd get some of it catered so you've got some stuff nicely presented on huge platters like cold meats

Or you could arrange a pig roast/ bbq - forget what they are called smile That would feed everyone and you would just need to do the sides.

Accept any offers to help with a request for puddings - all that fresh cream - nightmare on the day if it's hot.

FruitString Mon 07-Jul-14 18:33:26

Yes, already put out a pudding/cake request! Did look into hog roast but seemed a bit too pricey. Same with the salmon though salmon is so lovely - might investigate fish market.

StillNoFuckingEyeDeer Mon 07-Jul-14 19:03:14

You can't have a birthday party without a cheese & pineapple hedgehog.

ChippyMinton Mon 07-Jul-14 19:19:19

I would do (and have done for DH's 50th):
From Waitrose Entertaining:
ham and beef - they will slice in-store before delivery
A couple of lovely salads
free glass hire

Salmon would be a nice addition.

From Costco:
carrot cake, black forest gateaux etc
potato salad
part baked rolls (or buy fresh on the day)

Cheese to make a 'cheese cake' - Waitrose will sell you whole / round pieces. Think mine was cheddar, brie, something blue, and a goats cheese on top. Served with baskets of crackers, grapes, apples, figs etc. And a candle in the top!

And for the kids, an ice cream sundae stand - dishes, cones, wafers, sauce, sprinkles, squirty cream and a few flavours of ice cream.

Rainydayblues Tue 08-Jul-14 07:09:11

I'd do slow cooked pork, sausages, chicken - do a deal with the butcher and good quality rolls - source from a baker and a few big bowls of salad veg - humous is good for veggies, otherwise choose salads that add variety and colour and could offer a viable alternative to the meat &bread option. Keep it casual & simple, really simple. Pudding - tray bakes choc brownies, apple cake serve with custard or cream.

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