Need help wth munchies for Chamber networking event

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Kay Nein's picture
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We've been on the waiting list for hosting the monthly Chamber of Commerce networking events for quite awhile.  We finally got scheduled for March 19th.  They are very well attended and we're excited to open our doors to everyone.  And I'll be mailing personal invitations to all the realtors since we get alot of house-hunters staying with us.

I need to have munchies/finger-foods for the crowds.  There are no rules, except no alcohol.  So, I thought it best to keep it breakfast & sweets themed though it's from 5:30-8pm.  I want to offer things that we actually make here for our guests.

Here are some ideas I'm considering - what do you recommend?

  • Crepes, misc fillings, cut to 2" pieces.  (I only know sweet fillings)
  • Mini fruit muffins
  • Home-made cookies, various types
  • mini egg casseroles (muffin-tin size)
  • Chocolate cake sandwich cookies
  • French toast sticks
  • Fruit salad
  • Hot apple cider (apple orchard is a big deal here)
  • Coffee & Tea bar
  • We're getting some chocolates donated by one of the downtown businesses 

Most of this can be done ahead of time & served room temp.  My main concern is that I don't really have any buffet equipment for warming food.  And I'm hosting so I don't want to be in the kitchen most of the night.  I will have some people to help me, but I'd rather do most of it myself (being the control freak that I am)

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K9 whatever you end up doing, have your camera ready! We can't wait to find out.  Smiling

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Kay Nein's picture
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Oh, the pressure *lol*

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Here's a super simple recipe using puff pastry to make mini herb quiche. I'm sure you can make them ahead and then just serve them at room temp. Very easy to add your own ingredient ideas too.

Kay Nein's picture
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That looks good AND easy!  Thank you =)

Breakfast Diva's picture
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You're probably overwhelmed with choices, but when I saw this today I thought of you. Looks easier than the puff pastry, can be made ahead of time and can probably be served room temp or nuke for just a few seconds to warm.

Easy Broccoli, Cheese and Ham Muffins

All these apps are making me want to have a party!

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Those look tasty!  Not low fat, but tasty!  Smiling

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Kay Nein's picture
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It's a networking event, so everyone will be noshing, wandering, talking.  Easy, mess free, finger foods are the plan.  

I have a little scavenger hunt/trivia game that I put together last year for a ladies group that we hosted.  I might do that too because they have to check out all the rooms to find the answers.  I had good feedback on it.  Everyone with all the right answers went into a prize drawing.

Thanks for all the GREAT ideas!  I feel better about this now knowing I can make a great spread all in-house.  

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I attend many meetings (cocktail receptions) that are held in that time frame.  People are expecting mostly savory items, with some sweets too.  Seems like people don't dive into the sweets.

Popular savory items:  Cheese (& fruit), sausage or meat balls, mini quiches, mini puff pastry shells filled with something, mini sandwiches, hot dips with crackers, mini biscuit sandwiches, bacon rolled around something served via toothpick, etc.

I would keep it simple, regional, and reflective of your B&B!  Have fun!

 

Kay Nein's picture
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Good point.  I have redirected my focus to more savory things.  I'll even make some finger sandwiches.  They're not our usual fare, but it will still be homemade from our kitchen.  I think that's the most important at this point.  Showing our creativity.

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I agree!  It is the homemade and tasty aspect.  One of my go-to quick apps is using a wonton wrapper, put some cheese in it, and top with something.  Here is an example.  I've actually made something similar, but not pre-baked the wrapper.  5 minute app. 

Kay Nein's picture
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Just yesterday I saw a "fried cheese" version that was a string cheese stick wrapped with a small tortilla and baked until brown.  Looked good & probably tastes great!  (a little crumbly though - don't need anything that will make more work for me!)

I was also thinking about lil' smokies wrapped in bacon & deep fried.  *lol*  Yum!  The place would smell like bacon!

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You can do the L'il Smokies wrapped in bacon and broil them.  They're another go-to app for these stand up and eat events.  Sounds like you're going to have to choose wisely and well from all the options!  Eye-wink

 

Kay Nein's picture
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Yes, I have a ton of ideas now.  We are going to sit down and pare it down considering time, materials and man-power.  I want to prep/make as much as possible ahead of time and will have some friends to help day of.  It's going to be alot of work, but it needs to be perfect as this will probably be the last time for awhile that we'll have a chance to host such a big gathering of local businesses.

OnTheShore's picture
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We did a scavenger hunt/trivia game with our cottages when we hosted our Chamber networking event last spring. The people who participated in the hunt (not everyone did) had a lot of fun checking out each of the cottages and trying to figure out the answers to questions we asked about each one. We had an additional door prize drawing just for those who participated in the hunt (they didn't have to have the right answers, they just had to have taken the tour Eye-wink

Overall it was a fun event.

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Country Girl's picture
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5:30 to 8 is dinnertime so I would focus more on hearty foods and less on sweets. Mini-quiche, calzones, and fruit/cheese platters are always nice.

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Madeleine's picture
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Mini quiches, made in a mini muffin tin. They can be served and eaten cold unless you have a warmer you'll be using. Mini everything. Is this a sit down or a wander around kind of thing? If wander around, then definitely mini and nothing with a sauce or that needs a fork and nothing that will splurt out all over a suit or blouse when someone takes a bite.

Bacon-cheddar pinwheels. Mini apple turnovers (there's not really enough apple in there to splurt). Maple-bacon muffins (a bit on the sweet side, you can adjust the sweetness if need be.) Baked brie with apples and walnuts, served on crostini.

JB's sliced fruit idea is excellent.

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Or you can make is cheese, crackers and fruit (this is one we serve to guests) so it is a B&B item

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If you dip the cut ends of the bananas into some chocolate, you don't risk brown 'naners if you're not sure exactly when your guests are arriving.  Just a thought...

Kay Nein's picture
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Cheese & crackers - good idea!  I like this presentation with the starfruit and the pineapple w/rinds on.

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Is it a whole spread or just a couple items to enjoy?

Here is what I always do for the best bang for my buck and presentation (you can use whatever fruit is in season that won't brown). I say avoid fruit salad as that can be small without the presentation factor. This is an oversized platter, prob 24 inches across.

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You're right, fruit salad can be boring.  This presentation is very colorful & attractive!

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K9 wrote:

You're right, fruit salad can be boring.  This presentation is very colorful & attractive!

I was at kroger and found star fruit, large healthy beautiful for $1 a piece today! Twice as large as they normally are, so I can get alot out of it! I never know if I will find them, or what I will find. I also got a pineapple that is easy to make go the distance this weekend.

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If you want to make sure you have something that is GF you can try making the apricot coconut balls which are extremely simply and GF. Or coconut macaroons.

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Kay Nein's picture
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I do have some gluten-free friends, so I appreciate the reminder to include them in my planning!

muirford's picture
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Homemade biscotti to go with the chocolate and coffee - I make the spice version straight from the C ook's I llustrated recipe (I'd post it but they will hunt you down if you do). When I do it for a crowd I make the pieces smaller and you can get 4 or 5 dozen from a batch.

If apples are a big deal, there is an apple soup recipe on the recipe page here - you could do little shooters of it, garnished with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and nutmeg sprinkle.

Devilled eggs with bacon bits on top - bacon and eggs

Sausage balls.  I had never heard of them before I moved here but someone suggested I make them for an open house we had and they were a huge hit. There's a P aula D een recipe, although I can't remember if that's what I used.

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Kay Nein's picture
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I have a CI membership, so I'll look up that recipe.  Never made biscotti before - do you have any tips you can pass my way?

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K9 wrote:

I have a CI membership, so I'll look up that recipe.  Never made biscotti before - do you have any tips you can pass my way?

If you use their recipe, I think it calls for making two logs for the first baking - I always make three and the biscotti are plenty big. If I'm doing for a crowd, make 4 logs to make the individual biscotti more bite-size.  Use a cookie rack for the second baking in the oven - saves you from having to turn them over in the middle.

Kay Nein's picture
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I knew you'd have some good tips!  I've never made biscotti.  How long do they keep?  Could I make them 2-3 days in advance?

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K9 wrote:

I knew you'd have some good tips!  I've never made biscotti.  How long do they keep?  Could I make them 2-3 days in advance?

Oh my, yes.  They keep for weeks in a ziplock bag.  I'm not sure what the real shelf life is as I'm usually making them every two to three weeks.  The recipe will look daunting - i use the spice version with currants - but it's not too bad.  The dough will be rather stiff but once you roll out the logs it's just a matter of waiting out the cooking timer.

Kay Nein's picture
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I decided to try the biscotti tonight.  I used the Spiced CI one you mentioned.  It tastes very good.  But, the dough had me cussing!!  You mentioned that it would be stiff & I'd roll it out.  But, this was so soft that when I was working it to make the logs I'd look down & see that it had stretched 6 inches to the counter before I even realized it.  It turned out good and I'll be more prepared next time for the little hiccups. 

What other versions do you like?  You mentioned adding currants to this recipe - what other additions do you like? Nuts? Chocolate dipped?  

Thanks so much for the suggestion.  I think this will be a regular item at the coffee station.

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You can never go wrong with chocolate!!  Those look yummy!

muirford's picture
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K9 wrote:

What other versions do you like?  You mentioned adding currants to this recipe - what other additions do you like? Nuts? Chocolate dipped?  

The recipe I had from CI called for 3/4 cup of currants soaked at least one hour in 1/4 cup marsala wine (I've used sherry instead on occasion), drained before adding, but with 1 tsp of the soaking liquor added to the wet ingredients at the beginning. 

I have on occasion had it be too wet, but usually it's pretty pliable and the flour I use to shape the logs tames it. I wonder if we are using the same recipe - mine has three variations but the spice one has the currants in it.  I have really only liked this recipe, and so I stick with it (I'm not a fabulous baker, so once I find a good recipe I don't experiment much).

Kay Nein's picture
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It doesn't sound like we have the same recipe.  There were no variations listed and this one said nothing about currants.  I'll look again and see if the ingredients are different.  These have a great favor though.

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Just go here for a ton of alternatives: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/desserts/cookies/biscotti/

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipe-collections/biscotti/index.html

Me, I don't like rock hard biscotti. My friend makes them and her's are just a bit chewy. You don't have to dunk them into anything.

Kay Nein's picture
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Thanks for the links.  I liked the texture before the second bake.  This morning I had one and although it was crispy and not too rock-hard, it did hurt my front teeth a little bit.  I've had much harder, so I think I'm on the right track. 

I am very interested in experimenting with this.  I think it will be a great offering to our guests - I love to do as much from scratch as possible.

 

(OMG - Almond & Lemon dipped in white chocolate?!?  Yes, Please!)

Kay Nein's picture
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Deviled bacon & eggs - Love It!

The apple soup would be a nice idea.  I have shooter cups already and it can be made the day before.  

Innkeep's picture
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You might consider the Jello and yogurt "jigglers" that we talked about last year.

http://www.innspiring.com/node/10991

Kay Nein's picture
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Thanks for the reminder of this recipe!  When it was going around I thought it would be a great idea.  I could make that the day before - perfect yes

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