It’s lovely when you know guests are coming and you have time to hide the clutter, vacuum/mop/deep clean, prepare freshly made appetizers & desserts, and then pretend this is what it’s always like in your home. Most often, though, the best get-togethers are the impromptu ones: the nights when you offer everyone comes back to your house and then rush inside first to make sure you didn’t leave bras drying on the bathroom sink.
Maybe you need a quick dish to bring to a cookout, maybe you need snacks for sport tournaments, or maybe you spent the day enjoying the beautiful weather and now have an hour before friends are showing up.
Regardless, here a five simple entertaining ideas that won’t leave you making last-minute trips to the store.
1. Cheater’s Guac: Sure, nothing tastes better than fresh-cut tomatoes, onions, and avocados for fresh guacamole. When you’re short on time, though, you can save a few minutes with “cheaters guac” (it’s also perfect for creating your own selfish bowl when you want guacamole NOW!).
Mash one ripe avocado, add a tablespoon or two of your favorite chunky salsa (see…tomotoes & onions are already diced!), add a dash of cumin, pinch of salt, and juice of cut lime top. Ole!
2. Corn Salsa 2 ways: Seriously, find a favorite jar of corn salsa & it will become your summertime staple. Stock your pantry because the possibilities are endless. Two favorites of mine- get a pen- these are really tough…
a– pour jar of corn salsa into a large bowl, add a can of rinsed black beans, add a fresh-diced avocado. Done. If you have time, let the flavors meld together in the fridge for a bit. If not, pour into a serving bowl and you’re good to go. Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips (also great on fish tacos!).
b– pour jar of corn salsa into large bowl, add 4-8oz softened cream cheese, mix well. Done. Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips (or heat in a mini crock pot and serve hot).
3. Serving Dishes 101: Sure, the aisles are filled with adorable “must-have” serving pieces begging to decorate your next gathering. Even without fancy bowls & platters, you probably have everything you need in your cabinets. Use a margarita or martini glass for “cheater guac” or corn salsa. Need a cheese & cracker tray? A wood cutting board will do the trick.
4. Freshly Baked Cookies (really): Ok, this one takes a bit of forethought. Next time you bake a batch of cookies, double the recipe. Scoop all of the dough into balls, but freeze half of them on a tray for an hour, then store sealed in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them, take what you need from the freezer and bake per recipe adding an addition 1-3 minutes.
5. Instant Centerpiece: I love fresh flowers in the house. But, you don’t have to make a trip to the store for flowers though, just head to your yard and cut your own. Think beyond flowers too: rhododendron shrubs, forsythia branches, and magnolia tree branches make beautiful centerpieces. Even small snips look gorgeous in mason jars or cordial glasses.