House Warming Menu

How to feed & entertain 25+ people. Recipes and tips for throwing your own housewarming party. via Little Eli

Hello all!

**This post was going to go out last week. But after over an hour of writing, editing, and so many clever jokes, squarespace sneezes and my entire process went up in smoke. So I took the weekend to mentally recover/not burn everything down.**

Over the summer I bought a house and last weekend I finally got to have a house warming! WEEeee! So I promptly forgot/put off everything, and spent the past 2 weeks working, fixing, and ordering things for my house. (Which is obvious if you've noted the lack of blogging around here. Apparently I'm not the best at planning ahead.)

Well I've got a photo recap/house tour coming as soon as I get my camera working again, but for now I thought I would go over the menu, and how I entertained 25 people without losing my mind! Wee!!

I read a lot about throwing parties and house warmings and how to feed 25+ people all at the same time. It seemed the key was to do as much ahead of time as possible. So I made about half of the dishes the night before, and the others I threw into the crock pots the morning of! (Slow cookers are pretty much magic btw.)

SIDES:

3 Layer Chili Dip: This is one we make at pretty much every family gathering we have. Its very easy and there is never any left! I assembled two the day before and kept them in the fridge until heating and serving. 
Ingredients:
1 8 oz packet of cream cheese (I usually go with the reduced fat. I don't think you can tell.)
1 12 oz can chili without beans
1 2 cup bag shredded cheese

Directions:
Spread the cream cheese on the bottom of a pie pan/dish. Cover with the can of chili and spread. Top with cheese and spread. Microwave for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is mostly melted. Serve with tortilla chips, or pita chips, or crackers! Easy-peasy!! 

My Mother's Potato Salad (via Food52)I do not like potato salad. It super grosses me out. But apparently other people like potato salad. So I found this recipe online and made it the night before. Luckily, it was pretty easy to make. The only difficult part was that I doubled the recipe, and I didn't have a pot big enough to boil all the potatoes at once.

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese (via Brown Eyed Baker)OK now THIS is my kind of side! I doubled this recipe as well and it juuust fit in my crock pot. The secret as to why its so good is that its actually soo bad for you! Muhuhaha! But it makes up for it by being really filling. So you won't need to eat much, but you will anyway! I made this the morning of and it really just was boiling pasta, then tossing everything in the slow cooker for a few hours. So so easy! It will be on my regular rotation for "bulk" cooking events.

MAIN COURSE:

Hamburgers: I got two of those huge 3lb ground beef logs and turned those into like 25 burgers. I had Mitch grill those the morning of the party and I put them in a slow cooker with broth to keep warm until ready to eat (I repeated the setup I did when I was cooking burgers for work.)

Hotdogs: More classic "I have to feed a lot of people" food. I just get the fanciest ones at the store. They come in packs of 7 which is super annoying. They were grilled with the burgers and put in the slow cooker to keep warm. 

Lasagna: About 30 minutes before people were supposed to come, my mom called me and said they were bringing a lasagna. So that! It was really good and made a great addition to the spread. Next time I head home for the weekend I'll ask my dad for his recipe. But FYI, you will need a GIANT cast iron skillet.

DRINKS:

Along with beer, wine, and liquor, I made two mixed drinks and served them in glass jugs. 

Citrus Champagne Punch (via A Beautiful Mess): I knew I wanted a champagne drink. It was a celebration after all! I found this simple one from ABM and it was so easy and so good. I saved what was left after the party and stored it in the fridge to sip on the rest of the week! It makes pretty much exactly 1 gallon of punch, so I doubled it for my 2 gallon drink container. 

The Fishbowl Drink (via Gourmet Dude): This was more for fun. Since the other drink was citrus, I wanted a fruity drink to match, and this was very pineapple and coconut. The only thing I have to say is that his pictures are totally magic/faked! As soon as I added the nerds candy (yes there is CANDY in this drink!) it turned from a pretty blue/green to a horrible green/brown. And pretty much no one drank any of it after that. Being said, this recipe fits perfectly in a 1 gallon container.

ELI TIPS: 

Planned Entertainment: I planned this party around a day football game, which gave people a reason to show up on time, and set some schedule to the day. (The food was served at half time.) It also took a lot of pressure off me to be constantly entertaining people. I set up a tv outside for people to watch as well, so I had a good amount of overflow space. I also had some bean bag toss games outside, but pretty much no one played it. 

Get Help: Have a friend who does this sort of thing! Meghan came in in the clutch as far as having things I just didn't have. Salad tongs, drink dispenser, ice bucket, an extra slow cooker. Pretty much all the things you need for serving and entertaining, that she is so good at doing. She also ran around the grocery with me getting all my ingredients and helping out with stuff like that. (She's pretty fantastic, actually.)

Good Company: Of course a party is only as good as its guests. It was a little weird in the very beginning as most people were late. The first guests to arrive were Mitch's dad, a friend from school, my grandfather, and Meghan's parents. NONE of which had ever met. So I just focused on giving everyone a quick tour when they showed up, showed them were the drinks were, and after a few minutes it was a packed house and everyone was having a great time!

What do you do when you have to entertain so many people? Do you have trusted recipes that you turn too?