I'm hosting a Christmas party this year, it's not a sit down dinner, just nibblies. Food is an area I really struggle with when it comes to zero waste, and hosting a party while attempting zero waste feels overwhelming. I really need some ideas for food at my party that won't have me spending the whole time in the kitchen or break the bank. If you have any ideas I'd love to hear them :)
How did your party go? Sorry no ideas were shared in time, but here are my immediate suggestions for this sort of gathering...
1. Small portions of sit down items: like, soup in a pint size mason jar, casserole served in small portion in a 1/2 pint mason jar, grilled cheese sandwiches sliced into strips after cooking, cole slaw in 1/2 pint mason jar, fruit in large chunks on bamboo skewers. Avoid things that require a knife or cut those up and serve kabob style or in a small sandwich using a bun.
2. Dips, Dips, Dips! Prep veggies into manageable pieces and serve multiple types of dips in cereal bowl size dishes. Crackers, breads and cheese can join in this too. I tend to like my broccoli and cauliflower pieces flash cooked to make them more edible but that is optional (blanch and quickly cool in fridge after cutting into small 1-1.5 inch pieces with stems for "handle"). Use a small crock pot for a hot dip with 1/2 pint jars near by to ladle out servings.
3. Use your muffin tin to make small servings, too: Quiches, muffins, cheese cake all lend themselves to this kitchen tool. Assembly style prep, makes this less labor intensive than cutting and serving from larger size cousins. These also can be prepared ahead of time and served at room temp.
4. Try to make the food into the featured decor: Put platters at different heights in center of serving table, have small 6 inch plates and knives/forks for those who will ask for them, incorporate candles and holiday decor into display, if you like.
5. Rather than one bowl of green olives, another of black, and raw veggies in their own separate dishes, try to use a large platter/pizza pan and lay them out in mounds in a pattern next to each other on the same dish. Same with nuts, mints or cookies. These party standards can be made attractive by how you display them. Many can be found either in glass packaging or in bulk sections of standard grocery stores, too.
6. If deciding what to have is an issue, choose a type of cuisine and then buy within that: Italian - mini lasagna (using small noodles), Olives and Peppers, Italian bread sticks, Italian cheeses, Mixed fruit cups, Mini Tiramisu and coffee; Hawaiian - Sweet and Sour kabobs, Fried rice in 1/2 pint jars, Fruit skewers; Mexican - Mini tacos or burritos, Tortilla chips with hot and cold dips, Rice pudding or flan served in 1/2 pint jars...