Food is an integral part of any successful party but it doesn’t mean that you should spend hours in the kitchen making a three course meal. It’s enough to prepare some light, colorful and delicious snacks that you can share with your friends. Most of these you can whip up pretty quickly for an impromptu gathering without that much effort or money!
While party snacks are savory most of the time, you shouldn’t forget about those of us with a sweet tooth. Cakes have a bad rep for laidback gatherings because they take a long time to make. However, this sheet cake can be ready and served within an hour and you can also decorate it with whatever candies, fruits and berries you have.
First in a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients and then add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, vegetable oil and vanilla. Mix everything until the batter is completely smooth. Bake in a prepared pan for 25 minutes and let the cake cool down. For the chocolate icing melt some butter, whisk in cocoa powder and add the buttermilk. Take off the heat, add in the powdered sugar and pour over the cake. Sprinkle over some chopped pecans or walnuts for a crunchy topping.
Mexican dishes are the ultimate party foods. Most of them can be prepared in a matter of minutes with some store-bought ingredients and you can have big batches of them at all times. This poblano pineapple salsa, for example, has some much flavor and freshness, it’s incredible. And to make it you only have to dice up some pineapple, red onion, tomatoes and a poblano pepper. Then chop up some celery stalks and juice one lime. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, add some salt and pepper to taste and get ready to dip your tortilla chips!
For a more adult, sophisticated version of individual pizzas I’d recommend making Mediterranean flatbreads. The original recipe calls for roasted asparagus and zucchini but you can use whatever vegetables you have at hand. Simply toast the flatbreads on the oven rack, then add the garlic oil, vegetables and top with your favorite soft cheese. Place them back in the oven until the cheese is melted. Serve on a wooden board with a fresh salad of romaine, tomatoes and a vinegar dressing.
Finger foods, like coconut shrimp, are always popular at parties. Served with a variety of sauces, they’re simply irresistible with their unique tropical flavor. To make this party favorite, first season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Assemble a breading station with three bowls: one for flour, the other one for eggs and the last for shredded coconut and breadcrumbs. Cover all the shrimp, making sure to shake off the excess, and fry in batches for a couple minutes. Serve with homemade sweet chili sauce for a classic combo or use any other dip. It’s your party after all!