As a child I was continually told not to eat with my fingers. There is something inherently fun in diminutive food. I just love tiny, bite size open face sandwiches, cakes, quiche, etc.
To estimate how much food you need, there are a few guidelines:
The more variety you serve, the more quantity is needed - people will eat more to sample a bit of everything.
The later in the day the party, the less food you need. You need less for an after dinner cocktail party, than a mid-afternoon cocktail party.
In general, estimate 4-6 bites per hour per guest
Fill in with nuts, olives, crudites and mints
Image courtesy The Gourmet Project
Presentation is Everything
Broadway Nights - Shrimp Cocktail, Stuffed Mushrooms, Lox, Cheese Tray, Thin-sliced Prime Rib open-face Sandwiches, Black and White Mousse Cups
Sex and the City - Chicken Wontons with Plum Sauce, Salmon wrapped Sweet Potato Cubes with Dill Dip, Grilled Fruits, Mini-Cupcakes
Carribbean Getaway - Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Coconut Shrimp, Mango Avocado Salsa, Creamy Crab Dip, Passionfruit Creme Brulee
Mexican Fiesta - Mini Tostadas, Quesadillas, Salsa, Guacamole, Jalapeno Poppers, Sopapillas, Fried Bananas
Girls Night Out - Swedish Meatballs, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Hummus, Pretzel Chips, Marinated Mushrooms, Caramel Popcorn, Truffles
Image courtesy Taste.com.au
Try to pick recipes you can make in advance and just pop in the oven or add last second garnishes.
You don't have to make everything from scratch, and don't turn down offers to bring a dish! This is not the time to be a martyr!