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Party Time – Party Menu, Limited Budget – A Great Time Had By All

August 26, 2008

I just finished putting away the last of the dishes from this weekends 50th birthday dinner party I threw for my guy. OK, I know it is now Wednesday and the party was Saturday night, but heck, I must have run the dishwasher a total of five times and hand washed items in my sink roughly four times before all was said and done. Was it worth all the work? Absolutely.

I had made everything by hand, except for the wine…. the menu was as follows:

  • Hummus
  • cilantro bean salad
  • zahatar with olive oil for dipping bread
  • turkish ‘flat’ bread
  • tortilla chips – yes handmade
  • tri-colored salad with tarragon and white balsamic salad dressing
  • cilantro and scallion basmati rice
  • steamed broccoli with garlic and olive oil
  • Chicken ala Leah – Stewed chicken with grapes, raisins, grape tomatoes, cloves, curry, etc….extremely good!
  • extra large creme puffs with creme filling.

The group we had over for dinner we have had before, and the six of us really get along so well, with everyone never feeling left out at any one time, the personalities mesh so well, the laughter hard-felt and general well respect for each other.

I was talking and sharing with one of the women last night that was there, that we are really really lucky for this. It is not often once coupled, you find other matching couples that go so well together. In fact when you do, you should nurture those relationships as you do your very own. Not that nothing lasts forever, but when something is working out so well, you don’t go crazy to break it up.

As we rose our glasses in cheering on different wonderful things that were recently happening to each one of us in the group last Saturday night, I really felt blessed. I knew that my guests also felt rather good about it, themselves and for one another.

In the past, we usually all gather and meet once a month at one of our places to have dinner. With the level of cooking being extremely high from each of these wonderful people involved, it’s super fun to see what the one ‘house’ will cook up for that night’s gathering.

One man was a former NYC chef, another man is from the Mediterranean and creates wonderful spiced meats on the grill and wonderful bright and spicy salads, while one women makes wonderful quiches and other baked goods from eggs that were hatched that very morning, yes, that very morning.

It’s wonderful to see what will be served for the meal with amazing foodies every time we get together. And it is for this very reason I was perplexed almost to the very last day in what I should make for this gathering of mine. Now entertaining is nothing at all very new to me. I have been entertaining and cooking for well over 20 years. It is something I really enjoy. It is one of the reasons why I created my dinner and jam blog – which originally was to share the recipes I make for my once a month ‘dinner and jam’ parties which consists of musicians, artists and eaters alike getting together and creating live music, great fun.

In fact, since I promised my peeps, I just stopped writing this post, and sent out an invitation to my email list for my next dinner and jam party. Once I send out the invitations, then I know I have to get the house ready – I personally think it is a reason why I do invite people over, so I do get the house in order for them.

I do not only think it is my duty to have a party once a month – it is always a great way to get the house in order. But back to me trying to come up with a tangible menu.

I was in particularly on a tight budget, and though at times this may not be new, but it is never a reason why you shouldn’t or can’t serve amazing food just because you are on a limited budget. In fact, I know that out of necessity, creation comes forth, and since these two other couples have had several of my party-dishes, I had to come up with something new.

I didn’t really want to do a baked ham, since it seems like an Autumn meal, my guy is not a fan of fish – so that choice was out, and this group has seen my leg of lamb – so when I decided upon my Chicken a la Leah, it was a simple solution knowing the dish has wonderful complex flavors, nearly cooks itself without much fuss allowing me to time and ability to concentrate on my other dishes.

If you are having any questions as to what to serve for a party, give me a comment, or email me. I can usually come up with some ideas for you which won’t break the bank. I was able to cook everything on the menu you see above for $40. – yes forty measly bucks…. and no one could tell! Many of the recipes are available on my dinner-and-jam blog if you want to surf over and check them out.

So are you planning a dinner anytime soon? Need some ideas? Let me help you come up with some ideas and I am sure you will have a wonderful party!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Staci Wilson permalink
    September 19, 2008 8:20 pm

    Hello There! You say if you have any questions as to what to serve for a party, give you a comment, so here I am! My Dad is turning 75 this year on September 24th, and he has asked me to give him a bonfire birthday party on September 34th.. (October 4) He wants food (dinner) and I would really like it to be nice for him, but a definite limited budget! Just Mom and Dad and us 4 kids and our spouses, kids, kids spouses and significant others, and their kids, etc will be 38 people, so I guess maybe 50 people… Any ideas? Thanks either way!
    Staci Wilson

  2. chefmaven permalink
    September 25, 2008 1:46 pm

    Hi Staci—- Sorry I havent responded earlier first of all – happened to have spilled OJ on my laptop, hence needed to replace laptop….congrats on your Dad turning 75 this year! This will mark a very special day for celebrating….

    I have several ideas, and since there is a limited budget, one idea is to have people bring their known favorites dishes they know your Dad adores of theirs… – another is if weather is good, you could do a large BBQ at a park – since many parks have the BBQ pits, you simply needed to bring the food and charcoal…

    Let me know what you do come up with – I will be more prudent in returning comments and place an email people may contact me so that I can easily respond in a reasonable time allowance….

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