We’ve all read the articles about effortless entertaining, and how you should always have wine and artisan cheeses and nuts on hand. AS IF. As if I normally add $60 to my weekly grocery bill just in case. As if I have room in my fridge for “just in case” food. As if my sons wouldn’t decide on a whim that the $8 hunk of cheese would make a few good sandwiches.
There are reasonable but still special things you can keep on hand to entertain friends and family who just drop by. The key phrase there was “friends and family”. They know you, and don’t need to be impressed. Save that for when you invite them for an occasion. Now is a great time to stock your pantry and freezer with things that can be easily turned into great meals or snacks.
- Pretzels and Creamy Honey Mustard Dip: The nice thing about this mustard is that you can adjust it to be as sweet or as hot as you like. Fabulous served with that big winter sausage that someone always seems to give you.
- Mini Open-Faced Toasted Cheese Sandwiches: The grocery store has loaves of frozen bread that take 10 minutes to bake. Mini is festive! If you serve a lot of mini things it will look planned and more festive than, say 4 sandwiches.
- Raspberry Chipotle Sauce: Served over cream cheese with crackers is great. You can make or buy the sauce.
- Pickles, olives, crackers, nuts.
- Frozen shimp when they are on sale. You can make your own sauce with ketchup and horseradish sauce, adjusting the heat up or down to your tastes.
- Party Punch: Festive and fun, and the ingredients are easy to keep.
- Chili: Serve with a variety of toppings, or over rice or spaghetti.
- Pasta is always a hit. Keep some jars of good sauce, and, if you like, add some sliced turkey Italian sausage (which also freezes well).
- Fish fillets are elegant served with a simple butter/lemon sauce.
- Lasagna: The next time you make one, make two and freeze the 2nd without even baking it. It will take longer to cook, but no mess!
- Individual Pizzas: Premade pizza crusts freeze well, and so does shredded cheese. Anything in your ‘fridge is fair game for toppings!
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