Unpack a Party
Tricks for Easy Entertaining
In a perfect world, we’d all be überhosts able to invite friends to drop by for an impromptu barbecue and an impressive spread of hors d’oeuvres on a warm summer evening. The fact is parties take planning. But by keeping some basic supplies on hand and a few simple ideas in mind, you can throw a get-together at a moment’s notice that will only seem like it was weeks in the works.
BASICS IN A BOX
Stock up on all the fixings for a party—colorful paper plates, cups and napkins, plastic utensils, tea lights and so on—and store them in a plastic storage bin for speedy setup. Save money by snatching up these items at end-of-season sales and stash them for the following summer.
When summer starts, make a trip to the market and load up on nonperishable snacks and condiments for outdoor entertaining—chips, dip mix, barbecue sauce, grilling spices, etc. Keep them together in a designated space in your pantry.
BAR IN THE ROUND
Set out beverages and drink supplies—sodas, pitcher of iced tea, cups, straws—on a lazy susan for guests to serve themselves.
The ideal appetizer for quickie gatherings, antipasto brings together store-bought items (what could be easier?) in an elegant way. Put the items in pretty Premier food storage containers to make it easy to pop leftovers back into the fridge for the next get-together. And don’t forget to supply plenty of crackers and breadsticks.
STIR, SERVE, STORE
Mix up dips and salad dressings in lidded containers. Remove the lids, take them outside and serve in the containers themselves—that way if there’s any leftover, you can pop the lids back on and store in the refrigerator.
ANTIPASTO SHOPPING LIST:
• A couple of different cheeses (such as mini fresh mozzarella balls, provolone, Swiss or cheddar)
• Cured meats (such as prosciutto or salami)
• Cherry tomatoes
• Marinated mushrooms
• Black and green olives
• Grapes or figs
• Artichoke hearts
• Breadsticks and crackers