I love having people over. Growing up, I always enjoyed pulling out snacks for friends who came over and helping my mom get ready for gatherings of family and friends. When I lived in a dorm, I would eagerly make coffee or tea for friends who stopped by. While putting together my wedding registry, I dreamed of ways I could use different dishes and table linens to host people at my home. As much as I like being hospitable, though, I’m not an expert cook, so most of the time I go for the easy snacks and appetizers. No matter what type of food you serve, here are a few tricks I’ve learned to make any gathering more special.
If you, like me, you aren’t up for making gourmet hors d’oeuvres for the next party or dinner you host, you can add a little pizazz to an easy appetizer by paying extra attention to the presentation. This can be as simple as finding a creative arrangement for fresh veggies on a regular plate, pouring a store-bought tub of dip into a cute bowl or putting breadsticks and pretzel rods in pretty glasses. I also like to take a festive napkin — paper or cloth — and spread it in the bottom of a cracker or bread basket, or even on the table under the serving dishes for a pop of color. “Shop” your home to find unusual serving pieces and get creative with ways to serve your appetizers. If you want to grow your serving collection, here are some ideas for pieces to look for.
Whether the gathering is fancy or casual, I like to make sure I serve a protein, a savory starch, a fruit or veggie and something sweet. This will give a good variety for all your guests’ tastes, eating preferences and allergies. Guests who have these needs will appreciate having a few options they can enjoy worry-free. This doesn’t mean you have to make a gluten-free version of every baked good you serve. Try working in some corn chips and salsa, dairy-free hummus and veggies, or summer sausage to go with your cheese and crackers. Here are some recipes that you can mix and match at your next party.
The frozen food section of your grocery store is a gold mine of delicious and easy appetizers. You can find anything from mozzarella sticks to crabcakes to mini quiches in those freezers, and I usually find that people like these just as much as homemade goodies, especially at casual gatherings. I like that all I have to do is throw them in the oven and then visit with guests until they’re ready. You can even make a homemade, show-stopping appetizer or two and then add a few frozen goodies to round out the menu. Here’s a list of some of the best brands of frozen appetizers.
You can find some new go-to recipes for your next gathering at our Easy Appetizers, Punches and Desserts class! Learn to make cute and festive appetizers and desserts, as well as delicious punches to wow your guests. Click the button below and type the class name into the search bar, or call 405.377.3333 . To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.
Abby McCain is the Communications and Marketing Secretary at Meridian Technology Center.