OK, it’s Monday and you thought you were going to get out of work early. Never fear, this can be done, and done well. One trip to the grocery store, 2 hours of prep and you are on your way. Everyone always shows up late, anyways. And people will be calling asking what they can bring. Tell them! You can get a few extra appetizers happening.
1. A little goes a long way. There are two things you must buy to make it a NYE party – champagne and party favors. But you don’t need much. People will bring bottles of liquor and champagne, and you can usually buy a pack of hats and noisemakers at the market.
Throw in a 12-pack of beer for good measure and some cool sodas for designated drivers. Water bottles are a good idea too.
2. Is the house clean? Hide all undergarments and personal items (yes, people will snoop in your medicine cabinet). Pick a room to throw everything into and close that door. Make the beds and vacuum, voila! Good enough. Everyone will start making a mess the minute they arrive.
3. Pre-packaged food.
As obvious as it sounds, you can’t go wrong with chips and dips. Look for a layered dip or torte to serve with crackers. Pick up a pre-cut tray of crudite (raw vegetables).
Salami or an antipasto tray. Olives if the store has an olive bar. Mixed nuts.
A cheese tray is an elegant and easy solution. Traditional cheese plates are a hard cheese, medium, blue, and a soft cheese. I notice people never eat the hard cheese, so I usually substutute a white cheddar. I don’t eat blue cheese, so I go for something else strong like a smoked Gouda. Then for medium maybe a Jarlsberg or a Manchego. For soft a brie or St Andre is traditional. I often add a fun cheese, like a Purple Haze goat cheese in the mix.
Cookies, pastries and cupcakes. People don’t seem to go too much for sweets at cocktail parties, but they look festive and are good for breakfast.
4. Partially pre-made food.
Try a block of cream cheese covered with Jezebel sauce. Or mix apricot jelly and Tiger sauce to serve over cream cheese. Cut a goat cheese in half and sandwich pesto inside. Serve with crackers.
Put frozen meatballs in a crockpot along with half chili sauce and half grape jelly. White trash, I know, but people think it’s something fancier.
5. If you have time
Deviled eggs: Boil and shell the eggs. Cut in half lengthwise. Remove yolk. Mash yolk with mayonnaise, salt and grated onion. Fill eggs and sprinkle with paprika.
Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes: Cut the tops off and seed the tomatoes. Mix chopped cooked bacon, cream cheese and mayonnaise. Fill tomatoes.
Stuffed Sugar snap peas: Cut peas to make a little boat, or cut a strip out of baby zucchini. Mix goat cheese, cream cheese and pesto. Put into a pastry bag and fill veggies.
Buy filo cups and make baby quiches, or fill half with brie or goat cheese and top with caramelized onions or sauteed mushrooms.
Buy a round bread bowl and a baguette. Hollow out the bread bowl. Mix 1 envelops Knorr Leek soup mix with cream cheese and sour cream.Fill. Surround with cut pieces of bread and baguette.
Invite people to bring pajamas! Inflatable mattresses! Sleeping bags! After pouring alcohol down your friends’ gullets for five hours, are you really going to let them drive? Unless there is a sober driver in the crowd, my parties are all Pajama Parties! Fun!
Have plenty of corkscrews, bottle openers and plastic cups. Put bottle openers everywhere.
Just try to stay calm and have fun. A harried host/hostess is the surest way to ruin a party. People will not remember that the pigs-in-a-blanket burned. They will not notice the stain on the tablecloth or the broken wineglass. But spend the whole night freaking out, and they will remember that when the next invitation arrives