We all know the feeling.
Around this time in December, it comes to your attention that you have nothing planned for New Year’s Eve. You consider going to a fancy prix fixe dinner, but don’t want to drop $100 per person on a single meal, nor do you want to deal with driving and/or finding a cab on the busiest going-out night of the year. The solution, you decide, is to throw a party. Nothing fancy, just an intimate gathering with a few close friends, some Champagne and some little bites.
Oh, right. Food. You have to figure out food. Well, fear not, I’ve got your guide right here. The following appetizers are easy, quick and satisfy almost everyone. Plus, they’re low-fuss, leaving you plenty of time to enjoy your company—and your Champagne!
1. Cheddar fondue: Perfect with crusty bread or crisp vegetables. If you don’t have a fondue pot, keep this yummy stuff hot in a slow-cooker set on low.
2. Seven-layer bean dip: This Mexican-style bean dip adds fiesta flare to any party. Just add crunchy tortilla chips or warm tortillas.
3. Pizza pinwheels: Super easy, especially when you use pre-made dough! And who doesn’t love pizza?
4. Last-minute crostinis: Crostini is little more than bread, cheese and a topping, but somehow, it looks and feels like so much more! These simple yet impressive snacks will have your guests singing your praises all night long.
5. Cheese and salami bites: Satisfy your carnivorous guests with these cute and uber-simple skewers.
6. A good cheese plate: Set out 3-4 good cheeses (make sure to let them come to room temperature so they are at their highest flavor peak). I recommend a rich triple crème, like brie; something blue, like Gorgonzola Dolce or Stilton; a mellow, fresh goat chevre; and a traditional snacking cheese, like Havarti or sharp cheddar. Just add fancy crackers, sliced baguette, a little fig jam or honey and—if you’re feeling extra-fancy—some dried fruits (I like apricots and cranberries).
7. Olive oil and rosemary popcorn: Simply toss freshly-popped popcorn in a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and fresh or dried rosemary.
8. Spicy, sweet or smoked nuts: I don’t bother making these from scratch when I’m entertaining at the last minute. Retailers like Trader Joes, Costco or Sam’s Club sell these in bulk. Pour into little bowls and scatter throughout your party area.
Serve, snack, and toast with your friends at midnight!
Happy New Year!
Party’s at your place? Make it memorable with awesome finger foods: wontons, mini pizzas, kabobs and more. See how much temptation you can fit on a toothpick.