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'Eats' for a drinks party

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Last Christmas Eve we had a drinks party for friends and neighbours, about 60 people in all, with 'eats'. I am prone to 'over-cater' for any party, but this time I also planned badly in that I ended up spending far too much time in the kitchen putting things in and out of the oven and then onto platters and things. The party was also spread out over a long time frame to catch people on their way home from last minute shopping/work, and before and after an evening Carol Service at our local church. It was totally exhausting.


This year we're going to do the party the weekend before Christmas and just have it over a couple of hours or so, and I'd also really like to simplify the 'eats'.


My question to you wonderful Hive ladies (and gents), is, what 'eats' would you prepare that would take as little preparation as possible beforehand and would then just be ready to serve, without lots of messing about in the kitchen during the party?


I do hope someone can help, last year I ended up hardly able to finish a conversation with anyone at the party, and was so exhausted (and then had to face cooking Christmas lunch :sad:).

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For a recent party for about 100 people, I put together the following things:

Large trays of cubed cheeses & meats

Vegetable crudites with several dips

Soft garlic parmesan bread sticks (in halves) and homemade zesty marinara

Small meatballs tossed with sauce, either teriyaki with pineapple chunks, or bbq.


All I had to do immediately before the party was:

unwrap the cheese/meat trays

unwrap the veggie trays

Warm the marinara in the microwave

Put the pan of breadsticks in the oven for about 15 minutes (they were soft breadsticks bought at the grocery as take & bake)

uncover the crock pot that held the meatballs

I also filled some bowls of nuts for snacking and left them in strategic places away from the buffet table, to ease congestion at the buffet while still having *something* around to snack on.


It was easy. Plan more of the breadsticks than you think--they went very quickly, as did the sauce I served with them. :)

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