I love to have small get-togethers. Any sporting event or card game is a reason to invite a few friends and bring out the food. For a Poker Party, I tend to stick to finger foods and snacks. I like to have several choices in amounts that allow for a small snack size serving for each person in attendance.
Let’s start with drinks. I don’t particularly like alcohol, so I always make sure to have a cooler full of ice and a good assortment of canned colas. I will usually have a 12-pack of each of the following: Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Diet Sprite, and Orange Soda. With this assortment I will have leftovers, so I don’t buy drinks for a couple of weeks.
On to the food!!!
My party menu consists of: Cheese/Rotel Dip and Tortilla Chips, Sausage Balls, Chicken Nuggets, Assorted Crackers and a Cheese Ball, Brownies, and Miniature Donuts.
The Cheese/Rotel Dip is made with Velveeta or a store brand equivalent and a can of Rotel Tomatoes. Since there are several varieties of Rotel tomatoes, you can choose just how hot you want to go. I use the regular Rotel. I also use a crock pot to make the dip. First of all, I cut the cheese into cubes. The cubes should be about 1 inch square. I use between ½ and ¾ of the large loaf of cheese. I place the cheese cubes in the crock pot with the can of Rotel Tomatoes and turn the crock pot on high. After about 20 minutes, I stir the mixture and continue checking it every 20 minutes (and stirring) until the cheese is completely melted. Then I turn the crock pot down to the “keep warm” setting. When serving, I let guests dip from the crock pot with a ladle. I place a bag of tortilla chips next to the crock pot for convenience.
Next on my menu: Sausage Balls. To make the sausage balls, I like to use my food processor. You can mix and knead by hand, but the food processor makes it a quick job. Take ½ pound of sausage (hot or mild), 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese -I like sharp cheese, and 1 ¼ cups of baking mix -I use Bisquick. Place it all in the food processor, turned it on hi speed, and process until the mixture is well blended. Once mixed, roll the mixture into 1 to 1 ½ inch diameter balls and place on a very lightly greased cookie sheet. I tend to use the spray kind for this. Bake the sausage balls at 350 – 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. This will vary from oven to oven. I like to check mine after 10 minutes and then keep a close eye on them until they are done.
For the chicken nuggets, I call Chick-Fil-A and order a nugget tray. It is a little pricey, but it is well worth it. You might want to call ahead to find out how much time is needed to prepare the tray. My local Chick-Fil-A just needs a 20 minute advance notice and I can pick up the tray from the drive-thru. How’s that for service?
I purchase a ready-made cheese ball from the local grocery store deli and place it in the middle of a serving plate or tray. I then arrange 2 or 3 different types of crackers around it. You can get creative here and try just about any cracker. Sometimes, I will get something I have never tried before and a dependable favorite. That way, I know that there will be something I like.
To finish up the snacks, I purchase a pan of brownies from the local grocery store’s bakery department and a bag or box of those wonderful tiny donuts off the shelf. I prefer the Hostess Donettes over other brands, but you can go with what you like. You may even have a special desert that everyone likes…fix it or purchase it ready made. There is nothing like having a good, dependable, tasty, sweet treat that everyone likes.
Last, invite those friends, put out the food and drink, add the plates, cups, napkins, straws and utensils -paper and plastic -we don’t want to wash dishes after the party, and party until you are partied-out! The menu can change depending on your likes. The main thing is that you enjoy time with friends and/or family and have fun!