Party without a fuss

Easy ways

delicious Chips and dip.With spiralling costs of living and shrinking incomes, are there ways of spending inexpensive quality time with friends? Can one host a party at home that is light on the wallet, easy on the waistline and doesn’t eat into your time schedule?
Metrolife looks at options that are fun, not too stressful to host and relatively cheaper than most traditional dinner parties.

Soup party

Simple as it sounds, it is a relaxed way to get together around a table set with a few large soup bowls, a basket of assorted breads and a salad. While choosing the menu, make it interesting with a choice of two or three soups, preferably a veg and non veg combo.

A chicken or mushroom cream soup or a tomato soup. Even a filling potato and leek soup (add a few bacon bits to jazz it up).

Many soups can be prepared in advance and taste better with time.
Pick up a selection of bread rolls, multi grain loaves and baugettes to eat with the soup.

Arranged in the centre of the table in a basket they make an attractive centre piece.
Add little dishes of flavoured butter (like garlic and herbed). A simple green salad with a tangy honey mustard dressing or a vinaigrette which you can easily whip up at home complements the table well. End the meal with brownies which are easy to pick up.
Zap them for a few seconds in the microwave and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Potluck party

 A potluck party where everyone brings a dish is always a hit. No one minds bringing just one item, either a prepared dish, a beverage or a snack and it saves the hostess from getting bogged down in the kitchen.

Potlucks are a great way to have a party that allows people to come together for lots of food, without a ton of work for just one person, but it does still take some planning so that you end up with enough of all the right types of food for a good party.

Ask each guest to bring a dish or other food item to share with everyone else such as a salad, dessert or drink and so on.

While inviting people write out a list ahead of time and divide the dishes evenly. If someone is not able to come, do some changing around but make sure that you have a good variety of food at the potluck.

Cheese, crackers and dips party

Not the cheapest but one of the easier parties to host is a cheese, cracker and dip party. Arrange platters of crackers, thinly sliced toasted bread rolls, bowls of dips and a few different varieties of cheese around on tables. Either cut the cheese into cubes or simply place a

block on top of a doily, garnish it with parsley, add a knife, and let people help themselves.

You can also cut a block of cheddar and mozzarella (for contrasting flavours) length wise into thick strips placing them alternately side by side on some leafy lettuce with a knife. (Add some Camembert or Brie for variety.)

Dips: Homemade dips are not too difficult to make and are quite refreshing and flavourful.
Add soup mix to sour cream, or whip up your own Ranch style veggie dip by combining two parts sour cream and one part mayonnaise. Stir in garlic, salt, pepper and a little tabasco for some flavour. Add finely chopped celery or onion leeks.

Add some black and green olives, dried nuts and fruits like prunes and apricots or fresh grapes to the table and serve some red and white wines to go with the nibbles.

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