Party pro: Grace Parisi, senior recipe developer for Food & Wine magazine and author of "Get Saucy: Make Dinner a New Way Every Day with Simple Sauces, Marinades, Glazes, Dressings, Pestos, Pasta Sauces, Salsas, and More."
Favorite money-saving party tip: "The biggest money suck for any big cocktail party is cheese and (smoked meat)," says Parisi. "So I substitute something a little bit more substantial and interactive. Like a whole roasted ham or turkey platter with biscuits or rolls. Or a brined turkey breast served cold."
Give it a twist: "I like to do themes," says Parisi. "Vary the condiments, the rolls and the way you serve it."
Recipes: Whole roasted ham http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/spiced-smoked-ham-with-mango-cranberry-chutney and a turkey platter with biscuits http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/perfecting-biscuits
Last used this idea: For a Halloween party. "It's great because you can feed a lot of people for a lot less money. And it's fun. If you've got a ham on a platter with a big basket of biscuits that are overflowing, it looks more festive than a salami on a flat platter."
And when you're serving something more casual, "you can get creative with the drinks," says Parisi. "Punches and sangrias are great."