Friday, October 1, 2010

Cocktail Party Foods, Quick and Easy

While planning for our Halloween Housewarming Party, I had trouble compiling a list of simple finger foods and appetizers that were quick and easy to make and didn't cost a fortune. I also wanted items that had an elegant feel and that displayed well compliment to my previous post on a super simple dessert buffet, here's my ideas for a Cocktail Party Buffet:

*Calculator: Consider 12 bites, pieces and ounces of dip per party goer for the entire evening when no dinner is served.


Simple Quiche


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cup 2% milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 6 oz shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pie shell


  1. Lightly beat eggs then and the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Mix and pour into pie shell.
  3. Cook at 325 degrees for 30-45 minuets or until when poking it with a toothpick the toothpick comes out clean.
Try adding ham, leeks, asparagus or broccoli

Bake several and slice into thin wedges. Serve on a raised cake stand. You can bake these a day in advance and serve them cold or warm.

Savory Cake:

Bake on or two and, when cool, cut into large cubes or slices. Serve on a pretty platter. Eat with fingers or using picks. Serve tied or cold.

Verrines (glasses):

Use small juice size glasses or disposable glasses to display little bites of things. The easiest ones are placing a dallop of veggie dip in the bottom of the glass and standing a celery stick, carrot stick, slice of bell pepper or any other long veggie in the dip. Another simple one is filling the glass half full of guacamole and topping with an upright tortilla chip or two. Cold soups also work well. Include a small spoon if needed. The trick to beautiful verrines is filling them without glopping it down the sides and topping it with an accent.

Cuilleres (spoons):

Get a bunch of those flat bottomed asian soup spoons from a asian grocery or thrift store inn ceramic or plastic. You can also buy cheap soup spoons and bend the handles down. Top with a bite of something and display in rows atop a rectangular sushi plate or similar. Try a bit of guacamole toped with a cocktail shrimp or some caramelized onions with a morsel of chicken. Anything you can make full size looks awesome in mini bites.

Veggie Tray:

Always a cheap and impressive addition. Try to incorporate a variety of colored veggies and arrange them in a decorative manner. Top with veggie garnishes for even more class. Try radish roses, carrot curls, and stars or other shapes cut from slices of cucumber.


Grab a loaf of any kind of sliced bread and freeze. Once frozen cut the crusts off each slice making a square piece of bread. Top slices with various spreads like tarama (pink fish egg spread), eggplant caviar, humous, pate, flavored cram cheese, etc. Go for at least two color of spread and then cut each slice into four smaller squares. Arrange canapes on a large rectangular tray in checkerboard fashion.

Blinis (mini pancakes):

Use any plain pancake mix and, using the same size scoop, make as many mini pancakes as you can about the size of a silver dollar or a bit larger. Careful, they cook quickly. Once cool, arrange them on a tray next to a bowl of taziki sauce (plain yogurt mixed with finely chopped cucumber and a bit of salt to taste). If you have a lot of time, you can pre top the bilinis with fish eggs, sauces, or whatever and lay them out.


Popcorn is another buffet staple because it costs next to nothing and everyone loves popcorn. I's all about display here. No jumbo popcorn bowls at a cocktail party! Try paper cones in a cupcake holder or set upright in glasses. Or use newspaper or scrapbook paper to make large oragami paper cups, fill and line them up on the table.

Any other ideas? I'd love to hear what your buffet staples are!