Pssssst...come closer. We've got a secret. Even in an office full of people who talk about food, think about food and work with food all day long, we rely on short cuts when we're prepping for a party. Who doesn't? Whether you're an expert chef or a seasonal baker, hosting an intimate dinner party or a holiday open house, everyone wants to cut down their to-do list without sacrificing quality or adding unnecessary costs.
Step away from the garlic press and put down that rolling pin; we've compiled a cheat sheet that will have you out of the kitchen and joining the party before you can say, “homemade phyllo dough.”
For dipping, spreading and slurping
- Spread your favorite pre-made pesto, a few sundried tomatoes and goat cheese on naan bread. Bake for 15 minutes at 350°F. Have extra time? Try our recipe for Grilled Veggie Naan Pizzas with Goat Cheese.
- Pop our 365 Everyday Value® Trio of Three Cheese, Mushroom and Spinach Florentine Mini Quiches into the oven, and in no time you’ll have a home-baked taste your guests will love.
- Fill individual endive leaves with a prepared spread — pimento cheese, seafood or salmon salad or just crumbled blue cheese and walnuts. Yes, it's that simple.
For satisfying the sweet tooth
- Arrange a few people-pleasing cheeses such as a small wheel of our Wellspring Goat Brie, a traditional British blue like Borough Market Stilton and a wedge of creamy, complex Le Gruyère on a serving platter with crackers, Marcona almonds, olives and a dollop of Dalmatia Spread — Fig or Sour Cherry — for an elegant arrangement. Add some crunch with Divina pickles.
- Blend together 1 cup olive oil and 1 cup fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, chives, etc.) with a few pinches of sea salt to make a perfect herb dip for crusty breads and crudités. Or drizzle a bit over Greek yogurt for a tangy treat.
- Make soup an hors d'oeuvre by serving it in shot glasses — no spoons required! Top each mini serving with a luxurious garnish, such as a teaspoon of lump crabmeat or a tiny dollop of mascarpone or crème fraîche.
For raising a glass
- Pair homemade (or store bought!) cookies with one of three seasonal 365 Everyday Value® Ice Creams — Pumpkin, Peppermint or Eggnog — to make your own ice cream sandwiches. If you have an extra few minutes, dip one half into melted white or dark chocolate and freeze.
- Put out Whole Foods Market™ Organic Truffles — Cappuccino, Chocolate or Caramel, Whole Foods Market™ French Fleur de Sel Caramels or Whole Foods Market™ Truffled Roasted Walnuts and watch them disappear. No assembly is required for these bite-sized gourmet treats.
- Serve reds and whites without spending a lot of green with our Top 10 Holiday Wines, all priced under $15. Our wine experts did the research and even provided pairing ideas so you can just grab and go with confidence.
- Add elegance to inexpensive sparkling wines or sparkling cider with a simple garnish of raspberries, pomegranate seeds or a few frozen grapes in the glass.
Hosting a successful holiday soiree doesn’t require hours of toil, but your guests may still walk away thinking it did. See our holiday entertaining guide
for more recipes and tips. Don’t worry…we won't tell!
What's your favorite time-saving trick for entertaining? We'd love to hear it.