My annual Christmas party is the first Saturday in December (and that’s Dec 1st this year!) Sort of an open house / tree-trimming party. I have two Christmas trees. I put the lights on beforehand and guests (especially the kids) put on the ornaments. The party runs from 3 to 9 pm, and the guest count generally runs in the 30s to 40s.
I find it much more relaxing if I can do almost everything in advance and set it out, and have little to fuss with during the actual party. So I usually have 3 crockpots going, some type of salad, and assorted finger foods that can be assembled in advance. If possible, I prefer to make the main dishes (for the crockpots) in advance and freeze them. I also will have all day on the Friday before the party to prepare, plus DH to assist that day.
One year I had three different soups going in the crockpots and three different types of breads. A couple of times I’ve done three different types of chili. Another year was enchiladas, chile verde, and posole with assorted sides of beans, Mexican rice, etc.
This year’s theme is French Bistro. Inspired by this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/837807
So far I was planning to make Beef Bourguignon, Cassoulet, and a chicken recipe. (I originally was thinking of Coq au vin but would prefer something in a white wine sauce, since the beef will be in red wine.) I also plan to make a Salad Nicoise, and I’m considering an onion tart with caramelized onions and fresh thyme or asparagus, prosciutto, and goat cheese galettes. Desserts so far are chocolate mousse, tarte tatin and perhaps a fruit galette.
Any other ideas for a chicken dish for the third crockpot? Something with white wine. I’ve looked at a chicken fricassee or a recipe I found called Chicken Grand-mere. For chicken, I will usually remove the meat from the bones after cooking so it will be easier to eat.
I was also looking at these recipes from a Chow recipe slideshow ( French-y Picnic Recipes for Bastille Day
Some items I almost always have include some mixed nuts, chips and raw veggies and dips, olives, cheeses, sliced ham/turkey/salami, crackers, fruit salad, sometimes a frittata, shrimp with cocktail sauce, smoked salmon.
For desserts I usually make a cheesecake, something with fruit, and something chocolate. Plus a couple of kinds of cookies.
Thoughts? Suggestions? What am I missing?