For a long time I have been wanting to simply write to you some party ideas. I catered for one 20 years, specializing in wedding rehearsal dinners. Most of my brides and grooms were on a budget, so they hired me to cook Mexican, Italian, American, or buffet because I was cheap. I was so fortunate to do something I loved, without having to support myself. (My hubby had a real job!)
Recently I had to plan a get together for 50 people. It was a graduation party, and I hit on what I happen to think is the easiest, best idea I’ve had in years! One of the hardest things to do when giving a party is figuring out how much food to make. Keeping that in mind, I came up with a “Slider” party. For this simply buy Hawaiian Rolls (2 per person). Then make an easy BBQ filling. To do that, purchase about a 4-5 lb. Pork Shoulder. Cut some fat off, but not all of it, as you need that flavor. Put it into a large baking pan, and pour one or two bottles of your favorite BBQ sauce over. (We like Bill Johnson’s Original, but Sweet Baby Ray’s is a close second!). Cover tightly with a lid or foil, and cook all day at 250 degrees (at least 8 hours). Of course, you can also do this in a crockpot, but it’s a pretty large piece of meat, so cut it to size.
When the meat is done, just take two forks and shred it, put it in a big bowl, set out the buns, and let people make their own sandwiches. A Potato or Macaroni salad on the side works perfectly, or a big green salad. OR, how about a salad BAR? A big bowl of chopped lettuce, and a bowl of fresh spinach. On the side, chopped tomatoes, grated cheese, croutons, olives, chopped red onion, corn, literally anything you like on a salad. Again, the guests make their own salad, and you are pleasing those who are on a diet…..3 bottled dressings on the side (Go back in my blog to see my Homemade dressings). A creamy Ranch, A Balsamic vinegar, and bottles of oil and vinegar. I love those little packets of nuts and seeds that you can sprinkle on top. Do this and you will look like a STAR!
The above is a very simple party that anyone can do. Because I like to cook so much, I’d make my own salad dressings, (see “The Prettiest Party Ever” in my Table of contents for 3 fabulous homemade dressings), and probably do an extra slider filling: egg salad, chicken pineapple salad, or maybe just some cold cuts. But I realize most people are busy and looking for more simple ideas. It’s very easy if you remember the rule: 2 sliders per person, and a side dish. Of course, you can always add more sides: how about baked beans? The Hawaiians mix potato salad and macaroni salads. I do that a lot. It’s cheap, and goes a very long way. Here are two sandwich fillings I’ve been making for 100 years:
PINEAPPLE-CHICKEN SALAD WITH ALMONDS
2 or 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken (or shredded)
1 small can crushed pineapple (no need to drain)
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
Mayo to bind. (Start with a couple of heaping tablespoons and add more if you like. )
This is also great on those little baby croissants.
1 lb. your choice of the fake seafoods (crab, lobster) or chopped cooked shrimp
1 8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
3 Tbs. mayo
Mix it all together and spread on Hawaiian Rolls or Baby croissants.
NOTE: Either of the above can be flavored with chives, parsley, or your favorite green garnish.
OH…..ONE MORE THING: My daughter reminded me that one of her favorite parties of all time was one of her birthday parties with a few girls. A BAKED POTATO PARTY. I simply baked one large potato per guest, and we put out sour cream, butter, shredded BBQ beef, grated cheese, bacon bits, chives, chopped olives–literally everything we could think of to go on a potato. So fun!