A few essentials that make for easier entertaining!
You know those people who just love everything about Christmas? That’s me. I’m much more about the food, music and decorations than I am about the gifts. I genuinely enjoy opening our home to family and friends, often spontaneously. While making the holidays happy for everyone does require a little bit of advance planning, having a party-ready pantry (including a few items in the fridge and freezer) keeps the season from getting too hectic. Many people have their entertaining staples like crackers & cheese, Asian dumplings or pot stickers, frozen smoked salmon. I like all of those things and here are some more of my must-haves:
Awesome with charcuterie, cheese, crumbled over a salad or stirred into Greek yogurt for a delicious, easy dessert.
Frozen spicy cheddar cookie dough
The dough can be mixed, shaped into cylinders, then frozen. Unwrap and let thaw briefly then slice (or put into a cookie press) and bake. Delicious on their own or as part of a charcuterie or cheese board.
Crab spread ingredients
I always make sure I have a couple of cans of canned crab meat, some jars of seafood cocktail sauce and tubs of spreadable cream cheese on hand. This layered dip recipe is an oldie but a goodie – spread cream cheese on a plate, pour seafood cocktail sauce over in a thin layer, then top with crab meat (and chopped parsley if you have it on hand; a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is great, too). Serve with crackers.
Frozen cooked meatballs
Meatballs are super versatile and can form the basis of a quick meal (like this great sweet and sour version) or be served as a fun appetizer like this Russian-inspired recipe.
Frozen cookie dough balls
I shape and freeze cookie dough balls so they can be baked (from frozen) as needed, a dozen or so at a time. I usually have several different varieties in the freezer; having a vegan option like these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, is really helpful.
Frozen puff pastry
Sheets of store-bought frozen puff pastry are so versatile for whipping up sweet and savoury items like these speedy cinnamon knots which are great for brunch or a coffee date. You can also make a savoury version with garlic butter.
Instead of juice or plain sparkling water, consider options like Seedlip, a line of distilled non-alcoholic spirits; they’re absolutely delicious mixed with sparkling water or tonic.
By stocking up on some of these entertaining essentials, I always feel more prepared and inclined to invite people over on the spur of the moment, plus I’ve always got a stash of edible hostess gifts for any last-minute invitations we receive. I can’t wait for the holiday season to begin!