It’s the very last minute and you’re going to Aunt Betty’s traditional holiday party, and of course you have to come with something to pass. If there weren’t so many other things to do during a busy season, you might have made the four day long soup uncle Bob taught you last year- but you have to work with the time you have. Still, you’d like to bring something to share for a nice holiday. Here are a few nice things that you can pull off very quickly if you need to, by themselves or in combination.
One of the easiest things to throw together is Fruit, Cheese, Veggies and Crackers on a platter.
Everyone loves something to snack on while they’re waiting for the main courses. A quick stop at the grocery store and a couple of large plastic platters will help you create a great set of snack platters in just a few minutes. Favorites are sprigs of grapes, cut apples, strawberries, carrot sticks, celery, cheddar and mozzarella cheese, and crackers are always a hit. If you’d like to add meat, consider some cubed ham, or sausages that can be cut up quickly and arranged. You may also want ranch dressing or other sauces for dipping the vegetables. A nice touch for the fruit is some chocolate or caramel dipping sauce that can be heated in the microwave just before serving.
A second possibility is a wheel of shrimp, which can be found already prepared in the refrigerated sections of most grocery stores.
Shrimp and some dipping sauce is often popular at parties, and another good finger food to have available while people are waiting for the turkey to be done. Quite a large shrimp platter suitable for a big group can usually be purchased for under $20. Smaller wheels are usually available for under $10.
Tiny sandwich treats is another fun and quick appetizer.
These can be put together fast by making a stack of sandwiches, cutting the crust off, and dividing the sandwich into 4 or 6 smaller squares. If you like you can hold these together with toothpicks. You can make traditional combinations such as ham and cheese, or do more unique things like cucumbers with mozzarella and ranch. Experiment with what you have in your cupboards and a loaf of bread, and you may have some extra tasty treats.
These ham and pickle rolls are always a hit!
I learned to make ham and pickle rolls from my Dad, who puts together a tray of these at every holiday. You need a jar of pickles, a package of creme cheese, and some pre-cut deli ham. Cut wider ham in half, coat one side with creme cheese, and roll a midget pickle into it. The sticky creme cheese will keep the pickle roll closed. You can serve them like that, or cut them into small decorative circles. These are great by themselves or on a tray with other things.
A fifth simple solution comes in a basket and can be transported easily.
Everyone loves biscuits. One thing that usually runs out at holiday parties is baskets of soft warm rolls. You could always put together a few baskets yourself and bring them over, warming them again slightly just before dinner.
Eat, Drink, and be Merry!
Beverages are always important. Bringing the soda and cider is easy, but someone has to do it. You can include festive traditional holiday beverages like spiced apple cider or egg nog. If your family or party enjoys libations with alcohol, people often appreciate a bottle of wine, beer, or a nice liquor as an addition to the festivities. Ask your host or hostess.
There’s always room for dessert.
Desert foods can always be added to any menu. Most grocery stores have a great pastry section, where you can get a whole cake or pie already ready for you at a decent price. For a large group, more than one desert is always a great idea. People love pumpkin, apple and cherry pies this time of year as they seem to go well with the traditional fare. Vanilla ice cream makes a nice addition, as does melted cheese on apple pie. You can also get ice cream cakes, blue berry pies, cheese cakes, cookies, or other desert foods.
It’s also always useful when people bring extra paper towels, plates, disposable utensils, cups, and wrappings for leftovers. Another nice touch is a bouquet of flowers for the table. Happy Holidays!