Earlier this week I hosted some coworkers for a casual gathering in our new home. When preparing for our little soiree, I needed everything to be easy-prep since we’d all be coming over immediately after work. There wouldn’t be time to cook or bake the day-of, so everything needed to be ready-to-go when I showed up with my guests. And because it is October, I also wanted to showcase some seasonal favorites – apples and pumpkin, of course! – to make it Fall Festive.
For our Easy-prep Autumn Cocktail Party, I served (recipes and prep advice below):
Apple Cider Sangria
1 bottle Pinot Grigio
2 cups apple cider
2 cups seltzer water
1 sliced Jonagold apple
1/2 sliced Anjou pear
MAKE: Slice the fruit the night before. I sliced extra and stored covered in the fridge with a drizzle of lemon juice, in case I needed to make a second batch of sangria quickly during the party. But its definitely better when the fruit gets to infuse the sangria overnight! I also recommend the Anjou pear since it is firmer and holds its shape better than others.
Place sliced fruit in pitcher with the wine and apple cider. Refrigerate overnight. To start the party, top with seltzer water and serve chilled!
Crock Pot Turkey Chili Dip
1 cup mild salsa
1 can diced tomatoes with jalepeno (drained)
1 lb ground turkey pre-cooked with 1 onion
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 cup frozen corn
8oz fat free cream cheese
1.5 cups chicken broth
8oz shredded cheddar cheese
chili powder, garlic powder, red onion, salt and pepper
MAKE: Pour salsa into bottom of slow cooker. Add tomatoes, cooked turkey + onion, beans, corn and cream cheese. Pour chicken broth over (it won’t cover, but that is ok) and stir in spices to taste. Refrigerate overnight.
Turn on slow cooker for 4 hours prior to serving. To start the party, remove from heat, add cheese and stir. It will thicken as it cools to a great dipping consistency. Serve with tortilla chips!
Crostini served with berry preserves and brie cheese – I know mes amies are smart so no recipe here. Just layer up! I bought fresh french bread, and was able to enlist some helpful guests for thinly slicing the bread, topping with preserves and a dab of brie cheese as we got our cocktail party started. These savory sweet bites disappeared fast – definitely a great addition to our recipe book!
Antipasto platter (prosciutto, salami, olives) with baby carrots. Italian party basics. You can’t go wrong here. This one is easy to buy entirely pre-arranged, or just get the elements and arrange yourself on a platter. Prep ahead and just pull out when guests arrive.
And finally, something sweet: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. This oft-requested recipe was acquired from a friend, and I’ll be sharing here for another Foodie Friday very soon! (hint hint!)
There you have it – a little time spent ahead, and you’ve got some impressive – and hearty! – homemade Fall cocktail party fare ready to delight your guests. And keeping everything easy-prep means you can spend your time with your company, instead of in the kitchen. Now pour yourself a glass of sangria and enjoy the party!