I love entertaining, but I don’t love making entertaining so complicated that I’m exhausted by the time my guests arrive.
I did that once and it was the worst party of my life. In fact, I cringed at the thought of hosting another one for a long time. Thankfully my guests all enjoyed themselves, but I can admit I cried when they all went home because I didn’t enjoy a single minute of it.
Ever since then I vowed that I would make my parties easy, low-key, and fun for even me. A hostess with the mostest is the hostess who has fun while serving up amazingly easy party appetizers.
Of course, knowing me, you would expect all homemade from-scratch recipes, right? Well, I’m going mostly homemade this year. A few shortcuts never hurt when you’re trying to make a party easy.
Easy Party Appetizers
- Spicy Shrimp or Bacon Wrapped Shrimp – Make this bacon wrapped shrimp recipe without the bacon for a truly easy and still tasty dish. I can’t keep them on the plate at any party.
- BBQ L’il Smokies – Every New Year’s Eve I throw L’il Smokies into a party-sized slow cooker with BBQ sauce because everyone loves them and it’s super easy. This year I’m using my sweet and spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce. My mouth is watering already!
- Cheese and Charcuterie Plate – Grab 3 of your favorite cheeses and some charcuterie and make a beautiful cheese plate. The art is in not over-arranging the display. You could throw a small bowl of olives on if you wish or pile on some grapes. This year I’m using an array of my favorite Kerrygold cheddar, which they sent to me as a Christmas present, and salami. Prosciutto and pepperoni are huge hits too.
- Dips and Spreads – I like to use 1-2 dips or spreads each year. This year is the year of dips and spreads. I am having Blood Orange Honeyed Goat’s Cheese Spread (recipe to come), Smoked Gouda and Artichoke Hot Dip (recipe to come), hummus, salsa, and homemade guacamole. That guac turned my avocado hating husband into a loyal fan.
- Carb Platter – Chips, crackers, and pretzels are super easy. I’m using 1 gluten free cracker (Food Should Taste Good rice crackers are my fave), tortilla chips, and Snyder’s Pretzel Spoonz. Have you seen these things? They are the best for a party!
- Veggie Tray – Cut up a few of your favorite vegetables and pile them on a plate.
Easy Party Desserts
- Maple Sugared Cranberries – I was able to find a couple bags of cranberries so I am making these pretty little gems. Can’t pop just one!
- Fruit Bars – I’m making these Cranberry Ginger Bars or a Cherry Oat Bar recipe I’m working on, plus a new recipe that debuts soon, Meyer Lemon Blueberry Bars.
- Chocolate Mousse Puffs – Every party needs a bite of chocolate. I bought premade pastry puffs and will fill them with a chocolate pudding or a chocolate mousse. I’m rather partial to this egg-less chocolate stilton mousse but may keep it super simple with a pudding.
- Tiramisu Shooters – I love tiramisu and it is so easy to make. I have cute little dessert cups that are classy yet throwaway to save me time cleaning up.
Stay Tuned: Tomorrow I’m sharing my tips for planning an easy party menu in under 10 minutes.