So we put our heads together and compiled a shopping list of what to keep on hand for those fun, spontaneous hangouts. The list below is based on what Kim Etheridge, Ellen Elam and Lindy McGee often keep on hand (read the full story here), plus a few of our favorites too.
Food + Drinks
Cheese: Brie or Manchego are popular choices. Kim Etheridge suggested Manchego with honey and truffles in it. Also, if you know you have company coming over but don’t have much time to plan, Central Market offers a “create your own cheese platter” option, which is quick, easy and reasonably priced.
Carrots or cucumbers and hummus
Peppers (try the mini peppers in a bag with spinach and artichoke dip)
Crackers, plus snacks like Goldfish are always popular with kids
Cherry tomatoes (try putting them in a baggie with olive oil and your favorite herb. Shake it up and then serve with toothpicks.)
Frozen foods (Lindy McGee suggested stocking up on frozen spanakopita. You can also keep frozen taquitos or meatballs in the freezer for a quick, easy and heartier snack. Another idea is frozen edamame with some sea salt or soy sauce.). Plus, consider keeping some ice cream to serve for a sweet treat.
Drinks: Keep a few bottles of red and white at home, plus some juice boxes for the kids.
Some quick recipe ideas that call for ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen: