This Collection of Quick and Easy Last Minute Entertaining Ideas is going to simplify your life a bit during the Holidays and any time unexpected guests ring the doorbell!
Don’t stress, your guests are at your home to spend time with you and your family. They are not there for a fancy spread! However you can still dazzle them a bit with some handy tricks! Let’s explore some ideas and then you can pick and choose the ones you want to use in your Entertaining Bag of Surprises.
(one quick note… I am offering Vegetarian and Vegan options… also any of the products I mention are not sponsored in any way… I just find them delicious and easy)
Having Drinks On Hand
It is always a great idea to offer your friends and family a fun drink even though some may just want chilled water so be sure to have that on hand! Some other items to have in your drink few bottles of wine on hand, some seltzer, some soda a few different flavors syrups, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milk, half and half, a plant based milk and you are good to go. The best thing is is many of these items are all ready in your pantry and you can always use them in every day life! With them you can create so many different options to offer your guests like…
What a wonderful treat, bring out a tray of these and everyone is going to be happy. Great for kids and adults! With a few simple ingredients (flavored syrups… which could even be homemade simple syrups, seltzer of club soda, ice and cream/ plant based option…coconut whipped cream is perfect and Redi Whip even makes it for you and a garnish if you wish like a cherry, lime, lemon…etc.) Drop by Oh So Delicioso for a great base diy and then you can mix it up any way you like! A guaranteed success. For the adults you can use Champaign, Sparkling Wine or Procecco! ENJOY!
Fill your glass full of ice… add wine and then top off with seltzer and garnish with fruit of choice… perfections! Of course chilled wine is perfect too! Come on over to The Spruce Eats for exact measurements!
Nutella Hot Chocolate
Nutella Hot Chocolate or for Vegan’s like me… use Justine’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. Keep both in your Pantry… they will come in handy … believe me!
All you are going to need is Milk or Plant Based Milk (I suggest Oat Milk for this one but any one will be yummy), Nutella or Vegan Hazelnut Spread, some Cocoa Powder and Sugar (Vegans… always use Domino because you can be SURE it is Vegan) Hope over to Cucina de Yung for the quick and easy recipe! Toppings are optional but awesome! If you are looking for Vegan Marshmallows … you can find them on line and at Trader Joe’s. This will WOW your guests… add some cookies… homemade or purchased… you will look like the Hostess of the year! Remember… regular hot chocolate is ALWAYS a winner too! For adults… a shot of Kahlua or another compatible liquor is always an option!
Fun Appetizers and Desserts that take little time or effort
Having your Pantry stocked with some go to’s will make your life so much easier! Always have some snacks in stock like: Tortilla Chips, Pita Chips, Potato Chips, Pretzels, Nuts, Bagel Chips, Chocolate Chips, Salsa (jarred or fresh), Beans of dips, Jalapeño Pepper Jam and other Savory Chutney’s and Jams, Dip Spice Mixes, Cookies, Made ahead cookies that you froze and can pop in the oven for a hot and gooey treat, Homemade Cookies, Store Bought Cookies, Sugar Cookies that are the same size so you can whip up a little Ice Cream Sandwich, Chocolate Syrup, Caramel Syrup, Sprinkles, Loaf Cakes, Fruit Preserves, Can of Coconut Whole Fat Cream Milk.
Now some staples for the Fridge and Freezer which are GOLD to have on hand also like… Crescent Rolls (Vegan by the way), Cream Cheese, Sour Cream (Vegans… Tofutti has a Cream Cheese and Sour Cream that are AMAZING and you can make any Cream Cheese or Sour Cream Recipe with this product… you will love it), Prepared Sealed Guacamole, Prepared Humus (you can also make it fresh in a snap), Olives, Brie Cheese, Herbed Cheese Spread, Goat Cheese Rolls (there are Vegan products from Miyoko’s that you will adore), any other cheeses and spreads, Fresh Fruit is always a great idea, Fresh Veggies are a must!
For the Freezer Puff Pastry (did you know that Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets are Vegan and they are AMAZING), they also have little dessert shells that make incredible desserts in a blink of an eye! You should also carry a package of mini Phyllo cups that are incredible and can be filled with just about anything in a blink of an eye! Ice Cream, Vegan Ice Cream (my favs are Oatley anything, Not a Moo and Ben and Jerry’s), Make some loaf cakes ahead of time and freeze them. Prepared Frozen Dips like T.G.I.F. Spinach Dip is great to have on hand… Mozzarella Sticks and other Frozen Appetizers!
Now that we have tons of goodies to work with… here are some ideas on how to use them.
The Magic of Cream Cheese
Michael from Inspired by Charm will show you that all you need is a bar of Cream Cheese (or Vegan Tofutti Cream Cheese) some Red Pepper Jelly or Jalapeño Jam or Sundried Tomato Pesto or Raspberry Jam (well you get the picture… which ever is your flavor jam) and some Ritz Crackers… by the way… the Original Ritz Cracker Variety is Vegan!!! Of course you could use whatever crackers you love! If you have those 3 ingredients on hand… well you can have it ready to serve in about 5 minutes! For more details… visit with Michael… but this is a must have on hand… your guests will adore it and it looks amazing!
Salsa and Chips!
You can go two ways… just have your favorite Jarred Salsa on hand… open it up… pour it in your dip bowl and add layers of chips… or if you have a little bit of time to whip up your own Salsa… I highly recommend The Best Salsa Recipe from Gimme Some Oven … YUM. Believe me… it will only take you 10 minutes to make and so worth it! Totally Vegan friends!
Puff Pastry is AMAZING!
Sooooooo LOVE this… All you have to do is bake sheets of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry… then cut it into squares… add ice cream or cream filling and dip into sprinkles… mini chocolate chips… nuts or whatever you would like! When you visit Pepperidge Farm… they give you the complete how to… it is going to take you no time and what a WOW dessert!!!
Strawberries & Cream Puff Pastry
Here’s another WOW Dessert you can make with Puff Pastry in a SNAP with just 5 simple ingredients and about 15 minutes plus baking time! SOOOOOOO simple… just put on a pot of coffee or tea and serve this up… APPLAUSE!!!! Come on over to Tornadough Alli and she will show you how easy it is!
2 Ingredient Puff Pastry Wonder
All you are going to need is Puff Pastry and Nutella and in Vegan World… use Justine’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread… then hop on over to The Food Charlatan and she will help you get these in the oven so you can WOW your guest! Let me tell you…
5 Ingredient Star Berry Cream Puff Pastry Dessert
Pepperidge Farm will show you how to make this amazing dessert in a SNAP!!! Another WOW on the table! For Vegans just use some aqua faba whipped instead of the egg and some Vegan Whipped Topping or Whipped Cream… remember… Rediwhip has Vegan options!
You would also enjoy:
Easy Puff Pastry Cheese Straws
(Vegans just change out to Vegan Cheese and Egg Substitute) Use the Cheeses you love. Check these out over at Fifteen Spatulas!
Easy Puff Pastry Breadsticks
You might want to try these herbed Breadsticks from Shugary Sweet too! SOOOOO simple!
Puff Pastry Parmesan Stars
OMG these could not be easier and they are totally ADDICTIVE… your guests will go CRAZY… just visit Eatwell 101 and you will get the baking directions… this one is LIFE CHANGING lol! By the way… you can use any shape mini cutter or cut them into little squares!
You can also top Baked Puff Pastry Squares with a pudding… ice cream… fresh fruit… chocolate sauce… use your imagination… trust me it will be fabulous.
You can also use the little Puff Pastry Shells and the Phyllo Shells with all kinds of fillings from jam and nuts… cream… fruit… Nutella… go wild. It will take you NO TIME at all!
Classic Creamy Hummus Platter
You can NEVER go wrong with this! The world including me is Hummus CRAZY!!! Here’s a great simple recipe with just a few good ingredients (it’s very yummy) from The Modern Proper or you can use prepared Hummus from the Store… just keep it on hand in the fridge. They place it in the center of a platter… add Pita Chips or Bread… some Cucumbers and any other fresh Veg… drizzle some Olive Oil and sprinkle some Parsley and you have a treat fit for a King! By the way… a variety of olives is a great thing to add! You can have this platter put together in 10 minutes! There are SOOOOO many different versions of Hummus… explore them all! As far as store bought Hummus… I can tell you first hand that Trader Joe’s is yummy (5 stars) and so is Sabra!
Talk about SUPER SIMPLE and absolutely delicious… Whip up a tray of these wonderful Caprese Skewers. 10 minutes from start to finish… Vegans… there is a bunch of great Vegan Mozzarella out there… just cut it into little squares and you can partake too! Take a closer look over at Personally Andrea!
Crescent Rolls are magical!
You can take a veggie dog and roll it up for pigs in the blanket… you can stuff it with whatever your heart desires and roll it up and bake! You can do the same by rolling a Mozzarella Stick in the center and baking! Or how about adding shredded cheese and a bit of Marinara Sauce for Pizza Crescents! There is a plethora of recipe ideas on Pinterest and all of them are super simple! I don’t think any of them are more simple than this Cinnamon Roll Recipe over at Sprinkle Some Sugar … Vegans… just use Plant Based Milk for the Glaze! Pop these in the oven when Guest arrive… put on a pot of Coffee or Tea and you are good to go! Maybe you might want to make them with some yummy jam inside or Nutella!
Just a little side note… I know first hand that having a little something for your Vegan and Vegetarian Friends and Family members is really a wonderful thing and so easy to do : ) it really shows you care. I know first hand when I visit and they have a little something it makes me so happy… not because I am hungry but because they thought of me. The best thing is is that all of these ideas are Vegetarian with Vegan alternatives… YUM!
This list can go on and on and on. I am sure these suggestions will help. Just keep your pantry stocked with some of the items you know you will love to use and your guests will love to enjoy. It doesn’t have to be extravagant to be wonderful. I come from a big Italian family where it was your job in life to offer food before your guests got in the door and kept it coming forever and ever… as I got a little older I realize that I missed out on a lot because I was Kitchen bound… all of these little tricks will allow you to sit and enjoy the moment and let’s face it… that is what is really important… making memories with family and friends!
Hope you enjoyed these Quick and Easy Last Minute Entertaining Ideas
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