Once your house is prepped for visitors the last thing to tackle is having easy food on hand to serve especially if you don’t have much lead time. Once you finally have guests in your home, and some adult time in your sights, the last thing you want to do slave away in the kitchen cooking. Here are my top go to items to always have on hand for just such occasions:
Everyone loves popcorn! It’s delicious, quickly made and waistline friendly depending on how you prepare it. We love to make it in our Whirley-Pop on the stove top. But you can also use an air popper or the microwave friendly Presto Power Pop. I prefer popping from kernels rather than using bagged popcorn because it is healthier, I think it tastes better and it feels special but I think any popcorn is a great option! Plus, it’s all shelf stable so it will last for a long time!
Although not nearly as healthy, brownie mixes are an awesome option for guests. Also shelf stable, they can sit around for quite a while and still be delicious! Look for brownie mixes that can be made using household staples you always have on hand such as oil and eggs and avoid any with less handy ingredients like softened butter. Even “expensive” brownie mixes are only a couple bucks so I say splurge on the Ghirardelli – they are a treat after all. Brownies can be prepped, baked and cooled enough to serve in less than 45 minutes. YUM!!!
Cheese and Crackers
I grew up having 4:30 pm cheese and crackers at my grandparent’s house every time we came to visit. It wasn’t anything fancy, just cheddar cheese and Wheat Thins but sometimes it’s easy to forget how yummy the basics are. Most people usually have a hunk of some sort of cheese in the fridge, keep a pack of your favorite cracker on the shelf (Wheat Thins, Ritz, Triscuts, it doesn’t have to be fancy) and you’re in business!
If you’re like us, we try to keep our drink options for day-to-day life to a minimum. We basically drink water, milk and occasionally juice and soda but we never have a significant amount of anything chilled. Crystal Lite or similar off brand drink mixes are perfect for company. We keep several flavors on hand including some of the mock-tail options like margarita (Why? Because their fun!) It’s so quick mix up a pitcher big enough for a whole crowd. Add some ice and you’re good to go.
If you prefer to have an alcoholic option available, red wine is awesome because it doesn’t require any chilling. We’re big fans of Washington wines (since we live in Washington wine country) and one of our budget friendly favorites is 14 Hands Hot to Trot which you can pick up at most grocery stores including Costco. I’d love to know what cost conscience wine options you love!
What are some of your go to, easy entertaining food to keep on hand? I asked my husband and he said M&M’s (he’s had quite the sweet tooth lately). Seriously, I’m always looking for new ideas so please share in the comments below! This is the last installment in our “Creating a Hospitable Home” series but I’ll be back on Thursday with the first of a few blogs geared towards Valentine’s Day. Can’t wait to share some of those ideas with you! If you think I missed an area of the home that you like to keep company ready, let me know and I’ll try to get back to it in the near future.
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Read the entire series on creating a hospitable home:
Introduction | Creating a Hospitable Home
Your walk, porch and front door | Beckoning in your guests
Your entryway | Helping guests feel at home
Your bathroom | Creating a comfortable “intimate” space
Your pantry | Making impromptu entertaining a breeze