Budget-Friendly Appetizers for All Occasions

CateringRegardless if you are planning a business meeting, a convention, or even a wedding reception, food is generally one of the most expensive components to any event budget. So, when given the opportunity to cut down on this area of spend, most event planners will take advantage. 

When working with small events, such as a company party or picnic or intimate wedding reception, one option for saving money is to provide creative and filling appetizers or small plates rather than a full mutli-course meal. If your event is especially small, these options are even easy enough to make yourself!

Check out some budget-friendly options and how to make them, or where to get them for catered affairs:

Polish Mistakes
A truly simple recipe with a down home taste that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Also called Hanky Pankys, planners can find this option at deli-style caterers such as Schmidt's Meat and Catering in Cincinnati.

Saute 1 pound of ground beef, 1 pound of of sausage, and 1 teaspoon of minced onion in a large deep skillet over medium heat until brown; drain excess liquid.

Mix in 1 pound of processed cheese, cubed, 1 teaspoon oregano and 1.5 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce. Stir until cheese melts.

Scoop a spoonful of mixture on pieces of rye cocktail bread. Place bread pieces under a broiler until cheese is slightly brown and bread is toasted. Serve warm.

Deviled Eggs
One of the simplest and cost efficient recipes but a crown pleaser none the less. These favorites are available eat caterers across the country, such as Washington, DC caterer Bittersweet and Maggie's Meals, which offers catering services New York planners can turn to.

Hard boil/peel/rinse eggs. Cut eggs in half, saving the yolks in a separate bowl. With egg yolks, mix in equal parts mayonnaise and mustard, then add half a minced onion.

Stuff egg yolk mixture into plastic sandwich bag; cut a small corner off. Fill egg white halves with mixture, then sprinkle eggs with paprika.

Pancetta Focaccia Twists 
A savory snack sure to be talked about for events to come. Planners can find "twists" of this type of bread at many caterers, such as the sun-dried tomato basil twists at Chicago caterer Designed Cuisine. In fact, at Amy's Bread, a bakery and caterer in New York City, planners can order a Twist platter, featuring a selection of its signature twists including rosemary, whole wheat walnut, black olive and eve chocolate.

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Pan fry pancetta until crisp; then drain.

Unroll a prepackaged pizza crust; brush lightly with an egg white and sprinkle evenly with the cooked pancetta, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary, and pepper to taste. Fold dough in half using rolling pin, roll lightly to seal forming a 14 x 7 inch rectangle. Then, cut into half-inch-wide strips. Gently twist strips and place on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 5 to 6 minutes until golden brown.
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