It's Saturday night, or New Year's Eve. You got a promotion, your best friend got engaged. Maybe it's just a random Wednesday and you're in the mood for a party. These almost-instant, improvisational "recipes" will help you throw together tasty fare for impromptu get togethers -- and leave you plenty of time to enjoy your guests.
01 of 05
Pop Open Some Bubbly
Nothing says "festive" like popping open a bottle of bubbly. And Champagne isn't the only game in town. Keep a bottle or two of Prosecco or Cava on hand to drink solo or as a base for quick cocktails. Fizzy is always fun.
02 of 05
Spreads and dips -- whether homemade or store bought -- are easy, tasty, and ideal for last minute parties. Just transfer them to nice serving dishes, break open the crackers, pita, chips, or baguette, and watch your guests dig in. Think variety -- offer Israeli Hummus, guacamole, salsa or matboucha, and babaganoush. And don't forget some low maintenance crudities, like baby carrots or celery sticks, pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
03 of 05
Cheesy Is Good
Grab a few hunks of cheese (go for different styles, types of milk, and degrees of aging -- say a soft goat cheese, Brie or Camembert, and an aged cheddar or pecorino. Set them out on a platter with dried fruit or grapes and apple slices, some nuts, and a dish of honey. Or go even simpler and drizzle some feta with olive oil, a sprinkle of oregano and some olives.
04 of 05
Eat with Your Hands
Grab some pre-made refrigerated pizza dough, your favorite jarred sauce, cheese (if you want), and your favorite veggies. Turn out custom pizza or focaccia that's far tastier (and quicker) than take out or delivery -- and perfect with beer or wine. Need ideas? Try a White Pizza with Kale, or Quick Focaccia with Olives and Goat CheeseContinue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Take It Easy, Sweetie
Pick up some great ice cream, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles, and set up a DIY sundae bar. Or grab cookies or pizzelle for instant ice cream sandwiches.
Want something a little more extravagant, but still super easy? Layer cubes of cake (store bought pound cake is ideal), fruit, pudding, and whipped cream for a decadent trifle. Sprinkle the cake layers generously with Cointreau, Amaretto, or rum, or use this Cherry Bourbon Compote in place of plain fruit.