Way back before we had about a gazillion kids, we used to have an Open House every October around our anniversary. Since we were young and carefree and child-less, we would make all the food from scratch. I would sit with my Martha Stewart cookbooks and magazines for weeks looking for special recipes to make.
These days, I still sit with those cookbooks and magazines (yes, I still have them). Now I look for shortcuts rather than elaborate recipes. While the focus used to be on the food, nowadays our focus is on opening our home up to family and friends and having lots of conversations.
Easy Food Options for Holiday Entertaining
- veggie platter and dip (cucumbers, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, grape tomatoes, red/green/yellow peppers, radishes, etc. with French onion or another kind of dip)
- fruit platter and dip (in-season fruit, such as strawberries, cantaloupe, pears, peaches, pineapple, apples, green and red grapes, blueberries, etc.)
- cheese and crackers (offer soft and hard cheeses)
- Feta-stuffed jalapeno peppers
- baked brie (drizzle honey over brie and bake it for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees)
- tortilla chips and salsa
- lunch meat pinwheels (flour tortillas spread with thin layer of cream cheese topped with lunchmeat, rolled up, sliced, and secured with toothpicks; serve with mustard on the side)
- warm cheese pastry (wrap a block of cream cheese with crescent roll pastry and bake until golden brown; serve with a knife and crackers such as wheat thins)
- cheese fondue (find an easy recipe; serve with French bread cubes, veggies, and/or Granny Smith apple chunks)
- lemonade or apple juice made from frozen concentrate makes an easy beverage
- keep apple cider warm in a crockpot with a few cinnamon sticks tossed in
- platter of sandwich makings with a bowl of rolls and condiments on the side
- homemade cookies
Set up Your Home for Easy Entertaining
Have a supply of white platters in different sizes on hand. White goes with everything. If something breaks, it’s not your great grandmother’s heirloom piece. If you need a disposable platter, the dollar store always has a selection of aluminum containers and platters. Don’t forget to pick up napkins for additional holiday color. Check out my tips on building an entertaining inventory frugally.
Move furniture around if you need to provide additional seating. I like to move our kitchen chairs into the living room where we have a fire going.
Pick a Theme for the Food
Instead of offering a wide selection on main and side dishes, narrow your choices down to a few dishes and provide lots of food. Use shortcuts to help you prepare the food like premade meatballs or premade appetizers from Costco or BJ’s.If you have gluten-free guests coming, Musings of a Housewife has tips for making food preparation easy.
More ideas to get you started:
- Italian night – pot of meatballs and gravy, pasta on the side, rolls, green salad and salad dressing
- Make your own hoagie – tray of deli meats, rolls, condiments, and potato chips
- Desserts – Pick up a cake and sweets from your favorite bakery or make your own. Ask a few guests to bring a simple holiday dessert. Include ice cream and sherbert, everyone’s favorite.
- Soup and sandwiches
- Appetizers only – make sure you have plenty of the more filling appetizers along with lighter ones
- Just Pies
- Cookies and Coffee
- Homemade Pizza Night
- Chili and Cornbread Night