I recently did a birthday party of chili, with lots of toppings. We had cheese, jalapenos, onions, sour cream, chips and saltines, cilantro. Lots of stuff. People really liked it, and chili is the birthday boy's favorite food, so that was fun. You could serve it over spaghetti (for cincinatti style) or over rice or baked potatoes to stretch the chili a little farther. You could make two pots--one meatless, one with meat. Or one chicken, one red meat. One white, one red. YOu get the idea.<br><br>
You could also do a taco bar or a baked potato bar. I like these options for when there are vegetarians and meat eaters alike at a party. Makes it easy to customize what each person eats.<br><br>
Sloppy joes would be fun and cheap. Spaghetti is great for a crowd. And, the classic grilled hamburgers and hot dogs is always well received, if a little boring.
i did mostly snacking stuff at DS's recent 7 year birthday party. the kids barely touched the food since they were in party mode but the grownups loved the food; beelers bite sized hotdogs in organic grape jelly and chili sauce with sliced onions, strawberrys, double cream brie cheese, blue cheese and a new zealand sharp cheddar and crackers. we also had italian 100% juice soda.