Party Planner and Recipes

party food  

Parties these days tend to be casual, informal and great fun, with the emphasis on the company, the food and perhaps the occasion—in that order. People delight in interacting from group to group, with an occasional stop-off to help themselves from a well-stocked buffet.

Whether it's an impromptu get together or a well-planned occasion with mailed-out invitations, the food should be lively, varied, delicious, and easy to handle with a drink in one hand.

A platter full of Spicy Marinated Shrimp will lure people from any corner of the room. These are cooked, peeled medium shrimp which have spent their last four to six hours in a light, piquant lemony marinade punctuated with garlic, onion, ketchup, horseradish, Dijon mustard, and pepper sauce to blend and underscore the flavors.

A delightful last minute snack is Zesty Bruschetta, toasted slices of French bread topped with mounds of diced fresh tomato combined with green onions, feta cheese, black olives, fresh basil, olive oil and pepper sauce. So attractive and so-o-o-o good!

Another fancy-looking but very easy offering is jalapeño Baked Brie, simply a small whole wheel of Brie cheese, with jalapeño sauce poured into fork holes poked in the cheese, encased in crescent roll dough and baked. The crust is crispy, the cheese melted and deliciously tangy.

Here are a few tips to consider in planning a party:

  • Choose a menu that balances flavors, textures and colors.
  • Do as much as you can ahead of time.
  • Be sure you have enough refrigerator space for cold foods.
  • Avoid messy foods which can drip on friends or rugs.
  • Consider foods for the health-conscious.
  • Go for quality and freshness.
  • Minimize "fussy" foods that require last minute attention.
  • Prepare more food than you think people will eat.
  • Keep table decorations simple but festive, such as hole-punch confetti and curled paper ribbon streamers.

So rustle up your courage and give a great party. It's a very satisfying thing to do!

Spicy Marinated Shrimp
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined

In large bowl, combine all ingredients except shrimp, Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

Remove to serving bowl and serve with toothpicks. For a more elegant presentation, skewer each shrimp with a tooth pick from tail to head making a crescent shape, and arrange on platter.

Makes 30 to 40

Zesty Bruschetta
  • 1 baguette French bread, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1 cup diced plum tomatoes, drained of excess juice
  • 2 to 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 ounce package feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper sauce
  • Salt to taste

Preheat broiler. Place bread slices on broiling pan and broil each side until lightly toasted. Set aside.

In medium bowl, gently combine remaining ingredients with fork until well blended. Using fork, top each toasted bread slice with generous mound of tomato mixture.

Serve on platter, garnished with large sprig of basil, if desired.

Makes 20 to 24 pieces.

Jalapeño Baked Brie
  • 2 4-ounce packages crescent roll dough
  • 8-ounce wheel of Brie cheese
  • 2 tablespoons jalapeño sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Work crescent roll dough into thin circle large enough to completely wrap the Brie. Place Brie in center of dough circle. With fork, poke top of cheese several times. Slowly pour 1 tablespoon jalapeño sauce over top of cheese, allowing it to sink in.

Add rest of jalapeño sauce, poking cheese a few more times with fork. (Some jalapeño sauce will run over side of cheese.) Fold dough over top of cheese, working it together. Brush edges with beaten egg to help seal.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes, following directions on crescent roll package. Do not overbake, as cheese will run. Serve immediately with crackers.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.


Provided by Tabasco

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified September 2007

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