I love going all out for the holidays, but what I don't love is being stuck in the kitchen at my own party. I used to think I had to slave away like Martha to be the hostess with the mostest. But the truth is the best parties are the impromptu ones, when you can whip up a few finger foods, shake up some cocktails and mingle with your friends all night long.
These 6 practically instant appetizers and these 3 helpful tips are my secret weapons for the best party ever, without a lot of work:
Tip 1. Save money on booze. Most guests want to contribute something to the party. Let them bring the wine so you can focus on the food.
Tip 2. Break out the cloth napkins. It's a nice touch. It makes guests feel special. And it's such an easy thing to do. Plus, it's better for the environment than using paper napkins.
Tip 3. No cook, no fuss. I don't bother with the oven or stove-it can be too stressful with everything else going on. All of these appetizer recipes are no-cook, so there's no need to worry about timers or burning or keeping things warm. Just assemble and serve!
Get the recipe: Tomato-Basil Skewers
Skewering mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes makes them easy to nosh at a party.
Get the recipe: Smoked Salmon Tartare
These are gorgeous. Smoked salmon gets an added crunch when served on radish slices.
Get the recipe: Date Wraps
Sweet dates and salty prosciutto combine in a tasty bite.
Get the recipe: Herbed Olives
Dried herbs and crushed garlic dress up your favorite olives in this quick appetizer.
These sweet and savory bites are like a cheese course in a bite. Top dried apricots with crumbled blue cheese and chopped pistachios. Drizzle with honey; sprinkle with freshly ground pepper.
Pistachios & Cherries
Keep a batch of this mix of 8 ounces dried cherries and 8 ounces shelled pistachios on hand for any impromptu get-together.
By Penelope Wall
Penelope is a web producer and writer for EatingWell.com. When she's not busy geeking out at the computer, she loves cooking and trying new recipes on her friends. Some of her favorite foods are dark chocolate, coffee, apples, sweet potatoes and cheese.
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