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Summer Party Planning- Ideas and Tips!


We all want that special day to be perfect! We also want to enjoy the day and not have to work so hard that we can’t mingle with our guests.
I would like to share a few menu ideas that you can make or some that are even available in our deli departments. Our delis have a wonderful catering menu and graduation flyers for easy, fast, and quality products you will be proud to serve. Our deli teams are well trained on serving amounts and will be happy to assist you any way they can.

Our bakeries can assist you will your buns, breads, treats, and of course that so important cake or dessert.
Festival Foods is your one stop shop! We have all your needs including beverages, ice, paper plates, napkins, disposable cutlery, and a wide variety of trays made just for you.

Before we get to the fun party planning, I want to make sure you keep safety first by properly preparing and serving food to your guests.
Correct Holding Temperature

Control bacteria growth by keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

  • Hot foods should be kept at 140 degrees F or more.
  • Cold foods should be refrigerated 41 degrees F or below.

Holding Hot Foods

Here are some ways in which hot food can be held safely:

  • Transfer hot foods directly to an oven, steam table, or other holding unit.
  • Reheat leftover foods to 165 degrees F prior to placing in holding unit. If possible, avoid cooking foods more than one day ahead of time.
  • Stir foods at frequent intervals to evenly distribute heat.
  • Keep a cover on foods to help maintain temperatures.
  • Break the chain of possible contamination. Never combine an old batch of food with a new batch.
  • Check the temperature of the foods on a frequent and regular basis. Use a clean thermometer.

Holding Cold Foods

Here are some ways in which cold foods can be held safely:

  • Set the food containers in ice to keep them cold. A small swimming pool has worked well filled with ice and placing a wide a variety of cold foods in bowls directly in the ice. Placing a bowl into a larger bowl of ice will also work for individual items.
  • Keep a cover on foods held in cold holding units to help maintain temperatures.
  • Check the temperature of the foods on a frequent and regular basis. Use a clean thermometer.
  • Keep extra product in cooler with plenty of ice if refrigerators are full.

Menu ideas

Cookout: Your choice of hamburgers, brats, chicken breasts, or hot dogs. ( buns and condiments for each)
Sides would include: potato salad, pasta salads, raw vegetables and fruit, chips and dessert
Serving size-1.5 sandwich item per person, salads 3-4 oz depending on how many varieties you have, 1oz chips per person

Chili Bar: A couple varieties of chili such as mild, hot & spicy, white chicken and others, toppings such as onions, sour cream, shredded cheese, crackers, pasta, and jalapenos
Sides would include crusty breads and rolls, fruit, veggies and dessert
Serving size is about 12oz of prepared chili per person, this does not include toppings.

Baked Potato Bar: Baked potatoes, cooked broccoli, chili, cheese sauce, shredded cheese, bacon, onions, sour cream, chives, and seasonings.
Sides would include fresh fruit & raw veggies and dessert
Serving size is one potato per person

Hot sandwich fillings: Sloppy Joe, BBQ beef/ pork, or turkey/beef & gravy on a buns
Potato salad, pasta salads, fruit, veggies, and chips

Pasta Bar: A variety of about 3-4 different pastas, 2-3 sauces such as a marina w/Meat and without, Alfredo, and Pesto.
Pasta serving size: 4oz dried per person, 5oz fresh, or 7oz filled like ravioli, 8-10oz of sauce per person. (Sauce will freeze well if leftovers)
Add salad and bread!

Taco/Nacho Bar: I have an example below for 1 or 20 servings. You can adjust to any number you may need.


Portion Size per Person

Hors D’oeuvres

  • 6 bites when preceding a meal.
  • 4 – 6 bites per hour when hors d’oeuvres are the meal.
  • The longer your party and the larger your guest list, the greater the number of selections you should offer.

The Main Meal

  • Poultry, meat or fish – 6 ounces when you have one main dish, 8 ounces when you offer two or more main courses.
  • Rice, grains – 1.5-2 ounces as a side dish
  • Potatoes – 5 ounces
  • Vegetables – 4 ounces
  • Beans – 2 ounces as a side dish
  • Pasta – 2 ounces for a side dish, 3 ounces for a first course, 4 ounces for a main dish


  • 1 slice cake, tart or pastry
  • 4 ounces creamy dessert such as pudding or mousse
  • 5 ounces ice cream
  • When serving two of the above, reduce each by a little less than half.

A Few Other Menu Planning Tips

  • Don’t repeat a main ingredient. For example, don’t serve a chicken appetizer and chicken main dish.
  • Consider the colors of the food that will be served together and make sure there is variety.
  • Offer both hot and cold foods on a buffet.
  • Mix textures such as a crisp raw vegetables with soft pasta salads

Keep in mind a memorable party is great food; but more than anything it is time to visit and enjoy one another!

So plan ahead, keep it simple, and have time for you to mingle and enjoy the fun!


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