If you’re hosting an election party while you watch the returns, serve a generously stocked buffet of appetizers as opposed to a sit-down meal. Choose a few old favorites, try a couple of easy new ideas, and make the food simple, but plentiful. You’re sure to have a winner on your hands!
- Add paper American flag picks to all the finger food.
- Great staples for a buffet style finger food meal include chicken wings, chicken strips (offer 3 or 4 interesting dipping sauces), meatballs (Swedish or BBQ), mini eggrolls, whole water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, nachos, or an assortment of sandwiches made on mini buns (about 3-4 bite size). Make everything ahead of time, and store hot items in a warming tray, or in an oven set at 200 degrees.
- Veggie Tray: Include raw cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery, snow peas, zucchini, etc. with a sour cream based dip. Ranch dips are popular with adults and children.
- Serve CHILI accompanied by lots of “add-ins”. Add bowls of shredded cheese, chopped onion, sour cream, hot sauce, oyster crackers, jalapeno peppers, and spaghetti (Cincinnati style) to your table. Serve cornbread muffins along with the chili. Make this All-American style meal complete by adding hot dogs and apple pie for dessert. Comfort food at its finest!
Add a few hearty dips that can be made ahead. Here are a few that are extra easy to make, and are always a big hit:
- CREAM CHEESE DIP: Purchase cream cheese in block form, and top with salsa (flavored salsas are great), cocktail sauce and crabmeat, green pepper jelly, or jam (any flavor works, but apricot is delicious!). If you are feeling adventurous, combine a couple of packages, and mold them into the shape of a star. Serve with a variety of crackers. Triscuit™ thins are perfect with this dip.
- ARTICHOKE DIP: Mix 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 cup mayonnaise (“light” is okay to use), and 1-24 oz. can of artichoke hearts, chopped into small pieces. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, and serve with crackers. This dip can be served warm, or at room temperature.
- EASY CHEESY DIP: Add one large block of Velveeta Cheese, one 16 oz. can of chili without beans, and one 16 oz. jar of salsa to a crock pot. Stir occasionally. The dip is ready when the cheese is completely melted. Serve with bite-sized tortilla chips.
- BAKED BRIE: Hollow out a loaf of French or sourdough bread, cutting the bread so that you have a “lid”. Fill the hole with Brie cheese, and put the lid back on. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve with small chunks of bread, or crackers. If the Brie is not to your taste, fill the bread bowl with another type of dip, such as a creamy spinach dip.
- SHRIMP COCKTAIL: Serve on ice, along with cocktail sauce. This is a little more costly than most items you might plan to serve, but it will make your guests feel special, and the color looks terrific on a buffet.
- Serve plenty of fresh red and blue fruit including strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon and red apples.
- Scatter several bowls of munchies around the areas where your guests will be watching the returns…Chips, pretzels, nuts, M&Ms™, popcorn, and Chex™ Mix. Serve dry munchies in star serving trays.
- Create a simple sheet cookie and frost it with white frosting. Decorate the cookie with blueberries and strawberries in the shape of a flag, or decorate with red and blue colored sugar.
- Serve Election Elixirs (beverages) in patriotic stadium cups. Have a few permanent markers available so that each guest can label his/her cup. This will cut down on the number of “misplaced” cups throughout the event. Guests can also take the stadium cup home as a favor.
- Serve a spectacular dessert complete with sparklers (after verifying that use of sparklers is legal in your state). Rich chocolate brownies cut into star shapes accompanied by fresh raspberries and real whip cream would be a “winning ticket” for this party.