What to stock in your pantry, fridge and freezer now for
stress free appetizers
We all know this scenario too well. Family or friends you haven’t seen all year are in town for the holidays and want to stop by quick “just to say hi”. Inevitably, they will be at your home for at least 2 hours, and maybe during a mealtime. While we want to enjoy their company, the fear of not being prepared to spontaneously host guests can prevent us from being present in the moment.
This year, let’s take a few easy steps now to plan for unexpected guests. By preparing our pantries, fridges and freezers with some quick options, we can relax and focus on spending quality time with our guests. Here are 3 easy appetizers sure to please any palate and group of guests.
Cream Cheese Pumpkin Dip
Dips are a must have for any holiday gathering. Pumpkin dip is great to make when kids are present, and it is super easy and festive. This recipe from She Wears Many Hats is very similar to how I make it:
To serve: Arrange seasonal fruit slices on a serving tray with graham crackers, gingersnaps or shortbread cookies. Place bowl of pumpkin dip in the center.
Quick Cheese Board
Cheese and crackers are easy items to keep stocked during the holiday season. They can be served with wine or cocktails and are quick to set out. You can certainly go elaborate with your selection of cheeses, cured meats and fruits, but it isn’t necessary. Remember: the cheese board is simply a gesture of hospitality. We are not feeding people an entire meal. Keep it simple with 2-3 cheeses that store well in your fridge, canned olives, pickles, 1-2 boxes of crackers and a few dried fruits and nuts.
Cheeses- aim for a variety of 3.
Meats- if using, 1 or 2 cured meats is an excellent addition
Crackers- 2 different options
Olives, pickles, artichokes, dried figs and apricots, nuts, grapes or other fresh produce you have on hand
Here is a link from buzzfeed on arranging a cheese board this holiday season:
Sometimes you have a little extra time to prepare for guests and want a heartier appetizer to enjoy. Cocktail meatballs are great to have on hand and can be quickly heated in the oven, or made ahead in the crockpot. Here is a great recipe using frozen meatballs from the grocery store and a simple cranberry sauce:
This recipe from I Heart Naptime is also super simple, using grape jelly and bbq sauce: https://www.iheartnaptime.net/bbq-meatballs/
Finally, if you want to make the meatballs from scratch, here is a simple recipe from White Lights on Wednesday:
Serve your appetizers alongside beer, wine, or your signature holiday cocktail for an easy, stress free appetizer. No need to keep a fully stocked bar. Just offer one drink option, and a non-alcohol option to your guests. They will appreciate your hospitality and you can focus more on conversation instead of taking drink orders.
*tip: Keep a few bottles of wine on hand for surprise guests. Going sans alcohol this season? A bottle of sparkling cider or eggnog chilled in the fridge will always be welcomed by guests. Or, perfect a holiday cocktail and keep the ingredients on hand for hosting. Moscow Mules are a favorite and super simple to make! Here is a compilation from The 11 Best of several Moscow Mule ideas:
Most importantly, make certain you aren’t empty handed when your holiday guests arrive bearing gifts! The shop at High Heeled Homemaker offers a beautiful selection of organic skincare products perfect for gifting. Buy a few gift sets now to have on hand! https://www.highheeledhomemaker.com/shop
What are your go-to appetizers to keep on hand for entertaining?