How to Throw a Last-Minute Dinner Party
Host a fancy soiree in a flash
Friends coming to dinner tonight? Throwing a last-minute cocktail party?
Grab a few grocery store items and dress them way up with these brilliant insider tricks.
Dinner for four
Turn store-bought salmon into a dinner party! For a whole meal, serve with Crispy Garlic Broccoli and Wild Rice Pilaf.
Buy this: cooked salmon fillets, bottle of chili sauce (such as Annie Chun’s Go Chu Jang Korean Sweet & Spicy Sauce), lower-sodium soy sauce, fresh ginger and scallions
Make this: Chili-Glazed Salmon
Buy this: Cooked wild rice; chopped bell pepper, julienne-cut carrot, chopped red onion, sliced snow peas, and sliced radishes from the salad bar
Make this: Wild Rice Pilaf
Buy this: Broccoli florets (3/4 pound) from the salad bar
Make this: Crispy Garlic Broccoli
Turn the supermarket salad bar into a cocktail party! Serve with Veggie Skewers, Cured Salami, and Shrimp and Aioli. Fab it up: Arrange the salami on a platter and slice and skewer vegetables. Grind some black pepper over aioli; serve with shrimp.
Buy this: Assorted pitted olives and roasted, red bell peppers from the Antipasto bar; chopped celery from the salad bar; a French baguette from the bakery
Make this: Spiced Olive Bruschetta
Buy this: Marinated mozzarella balls and sun-dried tomatoes from the Antipasto bar; jar of basil pesto, prosciutto, basil
Make this: Mozzarella and Prosciutto Bites with Pesto
Dessert: Mini Fruit Galettes
Turn a jar of marmalade into a date-night dessert.
Buy this: Packaged pie dough (from refrigerated section of grocery store), blood orange jam or orange marmalade, and cherry preserves
Make this: Mini Fruit Galettes
Quickie hostess gift
Effie’s Oatcakes (at gourmet stores and at effieshomemade.com), jars of wild blueberry jam, crème frâiche, and pretty tins of tea. We love the gorgeous marigold containers that TWG teas come in. The reusable tins are filled with loose leaf Royal Thai Oolong tea ($33; deananddeluca.com).
Wrapping supplies: Neutral tea towels; Heath Ceramics makes great organic ones—Native Organic Gauze Dish Towels (set of three, $18; heathceramics.com). Plain cardboard boxes with lids; get them at craft stores or paperpresentation.com ($6).
To assemble: Line a box with a tea towel, and fill with 1 package of oat cakes, 1 jar of jam, 1 jar of crème frâiche, and 1 tin of tea; wrap with ribbon and attach a gift tag.