Catering a Successful Small Party
Babies, Holiness and.. Oh yes, Food!! Delicious, Wholesome Food.
I come across a lot of party requests as a caterer, but catering a Baptismal Party is by far the most demanding. It makes sense… Babies are being born all the time (3,952,841 babies born annually in the U. S. to be exact.) and sleep deprived moms are too exhausted to cook for 25-30 hungry guests coming to their house.
Spending $500-600 on a catered party is not always an option, and a fancy lunch can be provided to your guests with simple organization and some cooking skills. Catering a Successful Small Party is easily obtainable, and you can do it!
Whether you are a new caterer or looking for advice for your own party, here are the steps to take in Catering a Successful Small Party.
Creating a Menu
When Catering a Successful Small Party, the menu should have a mixture of light and wholesome food items. The party is most likely in the early afternoon so some brunch items are acceptable as well.
Your menu does not have to be complicated to impress your guests. I recommend
2 Sandwiches or Entrees
Here is a Baptismal Party menu that I recently catered. It is simple but very pleasing to the host and her guests.
Refreshing and in-season fruit artistically placed on a tray that will entice the eye and quench the taste buds.
Mouth-watering Shrimp stuffed with zesty horseradish and wrapped tightly with crispy bacon. A classic!
Perfectly diced fresh Roma tomatoes and red onion mixed with minced garlic fresh basil and a touch of balsamic vinegar served on a freshly baked French baguette
My wife’s Italian family recipe passed down from generation to generation. Served with a homemade bacon marinara gravy. Delicious and wholesome!
Boneless chicken topped with roasted red peppers, diced basil and topped with a creamy mozzarella cheese sauce.
Bacon Mac and Cheese
Three creamy cheeses melted and mixed with macaroni baked and topped with crispy bacon.
Creating A Shopping List/Purchasing Food
If you are catering your party on a budget, the best advice is to split up your shopping. For me, Costco, Acme Supermarket and Produce Junction are the three main stores I go to for all my food.
Costco – Where I usually buy the bulk of my protein. Costco also has catering supplies which I use for my business.
Acme– This is where I do the majority of my shopping for my family. However, when I am catering a party, I only buy the supplies that I do not need in bulk. I usually have no need for 6lbs of soy sauce floating around my house. 10 ounces usually is enough.
Produce Junction– Local produce store that sells fresh vegetables in bulk for a very low price.
Once my menu is developed, I create a shopping list based on the ingredients and spend a morning purchasing my food. I probably could buy most of my materials at Costco, but by shopping around, I save myself anywhere from 50-60 dollars. Well worth the extra time!
Prep Day/ Day Before the Party
If your refrigerator is covered from top to bottom with produce and protein, then you know you did a great job shopping for your party.
It is now Prep day! Time to put all the recipes together with barely cooking a thing.
The point of prep day is to make the day of the party as easy as possible, and all about the actual cooking of the food.
Let’s take it step by step:
1.) Shrimp Lejon (20 minutes) Prep the shrimp and freeze it. Freezing it helps fuse the bacon together. Not sure how to prep the shrimp? Click here
2.) Bruschetta (20 minutes) Diced the tomatoes, onion, basil and mix together in a bowl.
3.) Meatball Sandwiches (30-45 minutes) Use your favorite gravy and meatball recipes and make both of them. The gravy can simmer all day and after you cook the meatballs, put them in the gravy and there is little to no more work you have to do with them. Place them in the fridge overnight and bring the back to the stove top in the morning. The gravy loves to simmer!
4.) Chicken Italiano– (30 minutes) Cut the chicken in desired lengths, and par cook it to start the process. Refrigerate overnight.
5.) Bacon Mac and Cheese-( 5 minutes prep) Get a pot of boiling water going and add the macaroni. After it is cooked, put in a pan and coat with butter. Refrigerate overnight. Cook the bacon on a sheet pan and place in a container for the next day.
6.) Fruit Tray- (20 minutes prep) Cut up all the fresh fruit that you decide to use. Arrange it however you find it appealing to the eye. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. It will be ready for the party the next day.
The day of the party is all about cooking the food. You worked hard the day before and now it is the oven’s job to sweat. Set up your stands and sternos and time everything out. Here is how I would work this party out.
- (10:00 am) In the morning, I would turn the meatballs and gravy on the stove top. I would have it on a low setting to gradually warm up.
- (10:00-2:00) Work on getting the house prepped for the party.
- (2:00)- Make the cheese sauce for the mac and cheese and the cheese sauce for the chicken. Keep it on low on the stove top.
- (3:00)- Finish cooking the chicken off in the oven.
- (4:00) Cook Shrimp Lejon in the oven.
- (4:30) Plate up the Bruschetta.
- (5:00) Mix cheese in the Mac and Cheese and top Chicken with peppers, basil and cheese sauce.
- (5:30) Place all food in stands and welcome guests.