If you have ever hosted a holiday party, you know how difficult it can be to please everyone on your list. There are so many different expectations, likes and dislikes, that it can almost seem impossible to plan for all your guests’ preferences. But this can be done and your budget doesn’t have to suffer. Let’s take a look at a few ideas for providing your guests with the foods they love while staying within your budget.
Plenty of Special Little Choices
If you have a lot of people coming over for your holiday meal or party, this is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you please them all. Providing a wide variety of food in small portions is the perfect way to please them all. Finger foods, hors d’oeuvres, cheese trays, fruit plates, vegetables with dip, and the like are perfect for a party that is all about nibbling and mingling. However, a holiday party requires a special touch. If you are familiar with tapas, this might be a good time to search for recipes specifically served for these ‘small bites’ parties. You’ll get a lot of ideas for delicious dishes to serve, both hot and cold.
Now is the time to rethink some of your classics. You can dress up your pinwheel recipes with over-the-top ingredients for your holiday party. Rather than use ham and Swiss cheese, choose smoked salmon, arugula, and Gruyere cheese, for instance. Wrap diced honeydew melon in pancetta and broil for a surprising bite. Make tiny meat and vegetable bundles inside thin layers of fillo dough. Spoon spiced shrimp into Romaine lettuce leaves. Those are just a few ways to turn familiar appetizer foods into something special and enticing for your guests.
Be sure to have more than enough little serving plates set all over the room so your guests can sample a few bites, walk away, sample another couple dishes, and keep moving. Guests are bound to set their plates down often, so just be ready with more. Keep the food interesting with a lot of variety and no one will feel they didn’t get what they wanted to eat. This is also great for conversation because everyone is anxious to talk about the tasty item they discovered over on the other side of the room.
The Potluck Makes a Comeback
A wonderfully old-fashioned way to both host a holiday party and make sure you please your guests is to throw a potluck. This is one way to ensure that the dishes you serve will be what your guests will want to eat. Because, after all, your guests are bringing their favorite dishes! Here you are, providing your guests with bragging rights to their great-grandmother’s plum pudding recipe while, at the same time, pleasing your guests tastes and keeping your budget under control. If that sounds sneaky, it’s not. Everybody knows the score! Your guests will love providing their favorite dish just as long as you provide the place and the basics for the meal.
When you issue the invitation, keep it casual. Say something on the order of; “You’re Invited to a Holiday Potluck,” then explain that you want them to bring a favorite dish of theirs. Also, let them know to keep their dish small since everyone will be bringing something so you’ll have more than enough for everyone. This keeps them from going overboard making way more food than is needed. Be sure to ask what dish they are bringing so you can orchestrate the meal at least a little. You don’t want an endless supply of gelatin salads or pinwheels and no sweet potato casserole or veggie tray, for instance.
This is also a great way to start conversations between people as they find their favorite dishes and talk about the recipe. You can also ask your guests to bring recipe cards if they would like to share. Perhaps you could gather the cards and put them together in a book for your guests as a little Thank You gift for coming and sharing in your potluck party.
Capture Their Attention With Comfort Foods
When planning a party, you naturally want to please everyone’s taste buds. And what’s more pleasing than comfort foods? Building comfort foods into your menu helps you make sure there is something that everyone likes. Comfort foods are generally inexpensive, can be prepared with ease, and are recognized and loved by most everyone.
Think of your classic comfort foods and you’ll usually think of cheesy macaroni, green bean casserole, wild rice mushroom bake, and maybe some creamy mashed potatoes. A fragrant sage stuffing is another food that just makes you go ‘ahhhhhh.’
Whatever your comfort food, if you decide to include one or more with your meal, just have it match the style of the dinner. For instance, if you are serving a variety of ‘small bites’ for your meal, go ahead and make the comfort food, but instead of making it in a big casserole, create tiny bites in mini-muffin tin cups. Tiny bites of sage stuffing will match the finger food style of the party but still offer the comfort you and your guests are craving.
When you are trying to please a lot of people, there are three main options you have for making sure everyone is satisfied even when you have a limited budget. Offer a lot of choices in the ‘tiny bites’ style, host a potluck, and finally include comfort foods that satisfy most everyone. Your job as host is to make sure your guests are well fed and happy. With these options, you can tweak your menu and style in ways that will have your guests very pleased indeed.