Having people over couldn't be easier. There are so many options right at your fingertips. If cooking is your biggest concern, let us at Gathering Around help you to take the guesswork out of entertaining.
1. Several of the big retailers carry Panera Bread Soups. All you have to do is warm the soup in a pot (or the microwave) until warm all the way through and pour into a bowl. Cut up some Italian bread and place it on the side of the bowl and you have a meal that people go out to eat all the time.
2. Most local grocery stores have a deli department. It can be your entertaining friend. They have delicious chicken salad, tuna salad and/or egg salad. (Ask for a sample if you are wondering if they are good.) Purchase a container of one of these options and head down the cracker aisle to grab some delicious crackers. Wash and cut up a tomato into slices. The chicken (or other option) salad, some crackers and a few slices of tomato makes a beautiful plate.
3. Make a deli tray of sandwiches. Choose several meats from the deli department. Grab a couple of cheeses like swiss, provolone or sharp cheddar. Add some lettuce torn into sandwich sized pieces and sliced tomatoes. Get a loaf of homemade style bread and create a meat tray. If you have a few kinds of mustard (like regular, brown or honey mustard) and mayonnaise. Your guest will throughly enjoy.
4. Many groceries now carry pre-made quiche. All you have to do is remove the plastic and follow the heating directions. They are usually precooked so all you are having to do is warm them. If you have any questions about the process don't forget that google is your friend in a pinch. This could be served with soup or a bag of salad on the side.
5. There are delicious gourmet style pizzas available today. Cook the pizza and cut it into interesting square pieces. Buy a bagged salad mix that takes all the guesswork out of salad creations. Serve pizza and salad for the win.
6. Using flour tortillas you can make some delicious wraps. Choose your favorite lunchmeat. Turkey or ham are good options. Smear Boursin cheese or garlic flavored Laughing Cow spread on the tortilla just to lightly cover it. Top with the a few pieces of meat. Roll into a tube. Cut in half and serve as a larger tortilla or cut into small inch-sized pieces for a more bite sized option. Serve with kettle chips.
7. Wash baked potatoes and poke holes in them with a fork. Rub skin lightly in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Microwave 5 minutes and flip the potatoes. Microwave at least another 3 minutes. When ready they will be soft when you squeeze them. If they aren't cook another minute or two. Slice open and let your guests choose their own toppings. Grated cheese, sour cream, butter, bacon bits and even ranch dressing are all good options.
8. Create a fruit and cheese tray. Cut apples and pears into slices. (Google how cut them if needed.) You could add several other types of fruit to serve. Offer several types of unique cheeses. Bree, sharp white cheddar and real mozzarella are all great options.
9. Sushi. Go on over to the deli aisle and purchase the sushi that has been made fresh that morning. Take home a couple of options and serve your guest some of both. Grab a bag salad mix and serve sushi and salad.
10. Go for breakfast food for lunch or dinner. Sam's club has bite-sized breakfast quiches and breakfast casseroles that you just have to warm. Serve gourmet style muffins would go well with this and they can be purchased pre-made. Serve a few small quiches bites, a muffin and cut up some fresh strawberries. A feast for sure!
Keep in might that you could also mix and match some of these. Any salads could be paired with sandwiches or soups. Fruit salad or green salad could go with almost any of the other options.
Even keep your decorating simple. If you want to put something on the table (which you do not have to do) just pick up a bouquet from the grocery store and put them in a vase.
Just keep it as easy as you can. If cooking makes you nervous choose whichever one seems the least challenging to you. The point is to make space for others and to let them know you want to spend time with them. Don't let it be all about the food. Food doesn't have to be the most important part.
Be yourself and love the one in front of you. Know that your willingness to host another is a gift to them.