Party Food Ideas

20140306-191302.jpgThe first few months of every year is the busiest time for party planning at Casa Coggins.

My son's birthday comes first in January. Then, the husband's birthday in February. And then, it's my daughter's turn in March. Since the three of them all celebrate their birthdays toward the end of the month, they're at least evenly spaced.

My birthday is in April - and just a week away from my daughter's birthday (we nearly shared the same birthday!). So, by the time it's my turn, I don't usually have enough time or energy to plan anything for myself.

Doesn't usually matter, because I've had a huge birthday hang-up for the longest time. But, about three  years ago, I decided that it was time to get over that hang-up. Since then, I've been loving my birthdays, even if I don't usually have a big party or anything like that.

Anyway, at the moment, I'm in the middle of planning two birthdays: my girl, who decided she wants a Frozen-themed party for her 7th birthday + myself, who's celebrating a milestone year (hello, big 4-oh!). I'll talk more about those at a later blog post.

For this post, I thought I'd just share some some of my favourite party foods, in case any of you might be looking for ideas. I know I struggle to think of things to prepare that are quick and easy.

I've prepared all these for my son's 10th birthday weekend. He had a huge pool party with his friends a couple of days before his actual birthday, then we had a few friends come over for a weekend afternoon tea party, so I had two days to prepare some food. Then, on his actual birthday, we went out for a nice meal in our local Chinatown.

1. Homemade Sushi

The boy is turning 10 in a couple of days and he's having his birthday party today. One item on the menu: tuna-mayo filled sushi (regular roll & panda-shaped! :)).

Of course, they don't have to be panda-shaped like this lot. Regular-shaped sushi would do just fine (in fact, I made some in mini rolls - you can see them under the pandas). Panda-shaped sushi is just for showing off my bento-making skills to my son's friends. Haha.

But yes, this is great party food because it's healthy and easy to make. I normally just make the sushi rice and prepare tuna mayonnaise filling.

2. Fruit Platters

Another item on the menu: Fresh fruit platter. Loving the colours and the shapes. :)

Again, nice and healthy. 🙂 Plus, easy and quick to make!

Also, what I've learned with serving fruit at parties as well is to make them pretty and colourful. I was particularly happy with this spread because there were different colours and shapes on the plate.

3. Cheese and Crackers Platter

More food on offer at our afternoon tea party: Cheese and Crackers Platter.

There are many different kinds of cheese and crackers available - and your spread can always reflect your favourites (some of my faves: brie, Camembert, wafer thin crisps, cheese and chives dip...). These platters are usually a hit! Again, so easy to do.

4. Mini Toast with Cheese and Chives Dip + Cherry Tomatoes

After yesterday's birthday party for the boy, we're holding an afternoon tea for some friends today. One of the first on the menu: cheese & chives with cherry tomatoes on mini toasties. Was a hit. Yay. :)


I've never done these little delights before, but now I love them. They were a hit at the weekend afternoon tea party too.

All you need are these mini toasts that you can buy from the supermarket. Then, just spread your favourite cheese and chives dip. Finally, top it off with freshly chopped cherry tomatoes (I've cut mine in quarters). So good!


5. Chicken Wings + Steamed Corn on the Cob (with Butter)

More noms: Grilled chicken wings and steamed corn on the cob. These things disappeared very quickly. Especially the wings. :)

Apart from the sushi rice, these are the only party food items that I cooked during the boy's birthday weekend. Well, I'm not counting the cake either.

Anyway, I love chicken wings and my son has inherited that love. These marinated barbecue chicken wings are always very popular when I serve them at parties and get-togethers. Some folks have asked for my recipe, so one of these days, I hope to be able to blog it. But admittedly, even though I have my basic ingredients for the marinade, I usually just 'wing' it (pun not intended! :)).

And, of course, you can't have chicken wings without corn. So, yes, these steamed corn on the cobs are often found served with my barbecued wings.

6. Cake!

The boy's two-layered birthday cake from yesterday. Yes, those are fresh strawberries and fresh whipped cream but I cheated with the chocolate cake and chocolate ganache (bought & baked a pack). :)

While I do bake cakes completely from scratch, I often tend to do 'cake hacks' too. Basically, just buy those pre-packaged cake mixes and add my own flair to it.

In this case, I baked two chocolate cakes from a pre-packed mix, then did my own fresh whipped cream and added sliced fresh strawberries for this two-layer chocolate birthday cake. Some of the boy's friends even exclaimed: "Wow! I'd love a birthday cake just like that!" Made me proud. Even if I felt like I cheated a bit. Heh.

Bonus: Fresh Watermelon Juice

Another item on the birthday party menu: Fresh watermelon juice.Since the boy's birthday falls on summer and we had loads of watermelon, I prepared fresh watermelon juice for his birthday party. The kids seemed to have loved it.

This is very easy to do. Just chop up some watermelon slices, throw in the blender, add some sugar (to taste) - then mix away.

There you go. Some party food ideas that are simple, easy, and (mostly) healthy. I know I'll be turning to these items again in future events.

About the Author Shai Coggins

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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