• 1

    2017 US Pastry Championships- Winners

  • 2

    2017 US Pastry Championships- Winning Chocolate Sculpture

  • 3

    2017 US Pastry Championships- Judges Meeting

  • 4

    2017 US Pastry Championships- Winning Mini Pastry Display

  • 5

    2017 US Pastry Championships- Finalists at Medal Ceremony

  • 6

    2017 US Pastry Championships- Mini Pastry Display

  • 7

    2017 US Pastry Championships- Judges with Winning Entry

  • 8

    2017 US Pastry Championships- Mini Pasteries

How to Use Budget Catering with Christmas Party Food

The holiday party season is here so what I thought I would do is suggest some party appetizer ideas for your Christmas party food.  What you want to keep in mind to maintain a low-cost budget catering menu is to incorporate easy finger foods along with your holiday buffet.

As the party host, be creative with your presentation of your Christmas party food and make it easy for your guests to pick up and eat.  Create an interactive buffet station by using skewers for your vegetables at the crudités station.  Make a vegetable garden presentation using skewered vegetables "planted" in wheat grass.

At the dessert station, build your own fondue station.  Again using skewers, offer strawberries, bananas, rice crispy treats, Oreos, marshmallows, to name a few easy finger foods your guests can choose from.  If you are trying to watch your weight, select the fruit over the cookies and walk away from the dessert station before you dip into the chocolate!

Christmas party food has a tendency to be very rich and abundant in calories so if you are trying to watch your weight, select the low-calorie alternatives.  Party appetizer ideas to watch your weight include selecting the fresh vegetable crudités versus the macaroni cheese bites.  Even though the spinach and artichoke and cheese dips are more delicious, dip your veggies into the salsas or various flavored humus dips if offered.

As a host, serving crudités, dips and small bites is an effective use of budget catering.  To stretch your dollars further offer easy finger foods such as an anti-pasta station with sliced meats, cheeses and skewered tortellini.

Other party appetizer ideas to help keep your costs low include tray-passing heartier items such as beef or turkey sliders, pigs in blankets, shrimp cocktail and shot glasses filled with soups.  You can serve either hot soups such as the classic favorite tomato soup or a cold gazpacho or cucumber soup.  By tray-passing these items, you are able to control the portions and timing of the food.

To help maintain a low-cost budget catering menu at the bar, feature a holiday martini such as a peppermint martini.  Here is an easy recipe for a peppermint martini.

Peppermint Martini

3 parts vodka 1 part white crème de menthe

Pour ingredients in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice and shake well.  Pour straight up into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a mini-candy cane hanging along the rim of glass or prior to pouring the drink into glass, crush the candy cane and wet down the glass rim.  Then dip the rim into the bowl filled with candy cane pieces.

I hope you found these party appetizer ideas helpful for your Christmas party food.  You can keep costs at a minimum with budget catering by controlling the portions via tray-passing some easy finger foods.  Until next time, remember the Budget Bash mantra: make it simple, delicious, stylish, fun & economical to all!

Andrea Wyn is a special event planner with over 15 years of industry experience. She has been the Awards Event Supervisor for the Screen Actors Guild Awards(R) since 2000. Her book, Budget Bash-Simply Fabulous Events on a Budget, is available at http://www.budgetbashbook.com . She has an MBA from the University of Chicago & a BA from UCLA. To learn more about Budget Bash & events go to http://www.awynningevent.com