Here are 10 tips from the Food Network for
last-minute party planning:
1. Raid the pantry.
If you've got sour cream and mayo in the fridge, canned clams
or even tuna, you have what you need to whip up a super-fast dip.
All that's left to do is buy chips or swing by your grocer's salad
bar to get crudites for dipping.
2. Dress up your dip.
When it comes to what you can add to a basic dip, the sky's
the limit. Creamy, strong-flavored cheeses work well with standard
sour cream and mayo. And in a pinch, use chopped frozen spinach,
jarred artichoke hearts or roasted red peppers.
3. Be creative.
If you've got frozen peas, make pea "guacamole" -- throw
frozen peas into a food processor, pulse a few times and finish it
with salt, pepper, diced tomatoes and a squeeze of lime juice. This
recipe is excellent with tortilla chips or pita chips.
4. Think basic.
A wedge of cheese with some fruit jam on the side makes a
5. Choose a cocktail.
For a truly last-minute party, guests won't expect you to
have anything more than beer or wine. But you could keep
ingredients on hand to make one "house cocktail," such as
margaritas or gin and tonic.
6. Keep your freezer
Spiced nuts are quick and easy to whip up, and they last for
months in the freezer. Make them in advance.
7. Everyone loves
Check out your local butcher or specialty meat store to find
an assortment of cold cuts and pates. Then arrange them on a
platter with jarred cornichons, good bread and strong mustard.
8. Deli counters are a great
source for antipasto.
Buy small balls of mozzarella, a few different kinds of
olives, cherry tomatoes and marinated peperoncini. Then arrange
them in small bowls.
9. Pop some popcorn. 10. Make the easiest nachos
Top tortilla chips with canned black beans (rinse them before
using), canned jalapenos, jarred salsa and shredded cheese. Then
put under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese.
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