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Planning Party Appetizers for a New Years Eve Party

When planning a New Years Eve Party, selecting the right party appetizers is crucial to the success of the party itself, both for the hosts and the guests.

The first consideration is to make it easy on the cook. There are all sorts of wonderful creations you can make as New Years Eve party recipes, but if the cook is in the kitchen all night, it isn't much fun.

Planning ahead is essential. Become a list maker if you aren't already. Write down a list of everything you have to do to get ready for the party, from grocery shopping, to buying party favors, to making sure all the wine glasses are clean and ready to go.

Most New Years parties begin mid to late evening, so your guests will have eaten dinner by the time they arrive. A well selected mix of appetizers and small portion foods will be a hit, as guests can graze over the course of the evening.

Providing food at frequent intervals during the evening also helps to prevent guests from feeling the effects of their drinks on a less than full stomach.

So what do you serve? Here are a few essential things to consider when selecting party appetizers for your New Years Eve party:

Provide small plates, either china, paper or plastic, for guests to use. Don't just expect them to eat on napkins. It gets too messy.

People will be standing or seated in areas with little ability to use a knife and fork, so choose foods that are easy to eat with fingers or party picks.

Prepare foods of various colors and textures so there is a variety for people to choose from. Always include a few appetizers that are meat free in case there are any vegetarians in the group.

A mix of hot and cold appetizers is a good idea too. That way some of the food can be prepared ahead of time.

How many appetizers are enough?

Of course that is a bit different for each group and depends on the length of the party.

A good rule of thumb is to serve 5 or 6 different kinds of hors d'oeuvres for 20 to 25 guests. If you are having up to 50 guests, plan a variety of 9 or 10 party appetizers and for a group over 50, about 10 different offerings is fine.

The next thing to determine is how much of everything you need to prepare. Since most New Years Eve parties last several hours and you want the food to help "soak up" some of the alcohol that may be consumed, a good estimate is about 20 bites of food per person.

Create variety in the party foods you offer. For example, instead of 3 dips with chips, offer a vegetarian dip with vegetables, a hot seafood dip with crusty bread for dipping and baguette rounds spread with cream cheese and topped with a peach chutney. The variety is bound to be a crowd pleaser and all are easy to make.

It is a good idea to spread out the serving of hors d'oeuvres over the course of the evening. That way your guests won't be offered food as soon as they arrive, but get hungry later. Bringing out food at frequent intervals throughout the evening ensures that everyone will be satisfied.

Always have a few bowls of snacks on hand too, so people can munch when they feel the need. Nuts, chips and a bit of candy can fill in any gaps there may be in food service.

Set up a dessert buffet near the end of the evening and serve coffee and tea before guests leave. Make it easy and appealing, with a variety of colorful desserts that are already in serving size pieces.

By taking the time to plan ahead and by selecting the right party appetizers, you can pretty much guarantee the success of your next New Years Party before it even starts.

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