Patio Party Ideas
Ideas for a simple but festive patio party with appetizers for eight adults
Patio parties with a ritzy feeling aren’t just for the rich and glamorous, especially where the food’s concerned. If you know what to buy and how to put it together, you can offer fun and festive appetizers to an intimate set of guests for just a few dollars.
Be prepared, though: the resource you will need is time. It will take about an hour or ninety minutes to prepare the foods below and create a festive-looking spread.
First, get ready with the lightest fare. Mix four cups of fresh strawberries with two cups of fresh blueberries. Glaze lightly by stirring in a half cup of water and a quarter cup of sugar. Add one cup of mini-size chocolate chips. (White chocolate will add visual contrast.) Mix thoroughly and spoon into eight dessert cups. A dollop of whipped topping at serving time completes the dish nicely.
After the fruit, it’s time for veggies. This is the easiest step of all. Open a large bag of baby carrots and place them on a tray with a bowl of ranch dressing. Add eight or ten celery stalks cut to dipping size. Sound too plain and simple? Dress it up! Use your best chip-and-dip set and decorate the top of the dressing with a sprig of parsley or a dusting of paprika.
Next come two heavier hors d’oeuvres. First, make vegetable tortilla roll-ups. Spread store-bought hummus on eight flour tortillas. To each, add lettuce and chopped, raw zucchini, radishes, and tomatoes. A bit of onion can be added for extra flavor. Roll tortillas tightly, cut into several cross-sections, and arrange on a platter.
The second main appetizer should be served as soon as prepared, so start it only when guests have arrived. You’ll need two cans of ready-to-bake biscuits, preferably the large country-style variety. Bake twelve to sixteen biscuits and split them while they're hot. Top with shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, along with two or three pepperoni rounds. Return biscuits to the oven long enough to melt the cheese. Serve hot.
Top the evening off with a cool and creamy pie made by beating a cup of either lime or strawberry juice into an eight-ounce container of whipped topping and spooning into a graham-cracker crust. The pie should be chilled for at least three hours before being served. The berry cups and tortilla roll-ups should be refrigerated as well.
Complement this spread with a bottomless supply of chips and salsa, and guacamole with cilantro, if you’ve got it. For beverages, go with soft drinks, lemonade, coffee, or frozen drinks made in your blender with ice chips and your favorite fruit juice. (Splash to taste with tequila or rum!)
The total cost for all food items should be around $30, which is far less expensive than a catered party and less than even some fast-food outings.