Welcome to our new holiday entryway- isn't it great?

Now that we’ve moved home, we have a lot of people ring this doorbell.

I love it.

It’s like Christmas doorbell every day.

You never know who might stop by.

When we lived in Kentucky, visitors were the exception rather than the rule.  Cows and deer and chickens and turtles and rabbits and salamanders all stopped by.  But real, live people?  Not so much.

And now?  I want to be ready.  I want to welcome people and tell them they are amazing and put on coffee and pour sweet tea and have them pull up a chair in my kitchen and tell them a story and whip something up in minutes.

Something easy.

Something I already have on hand that only takes minutes to prepare.

Something that makes me look like I’m all that and a bag of chips.

Truth?  Can I be real?  I’m trying to find that.  I’ve researched it and I have a few ideas on what you should stock your pantry with for unexpected guests.  But I’m running out of ideas.  So can we share?  I’ll tell you what I’ve tried that works and then maybe you could tell me what works for you.

Together we’ll conquer the world.

Or our pantries.

Whichever comes first.

Here are some go to options to have stocked in your freezer during the holidays

Idea number one.

I found this on the frozen food aisle.

It is super yummy and heats up in minutes.

I take it out of the container and put it in a cute white bowl and surround it with fancy pita chips.  You need extra sturdy chips or crackers with this because it’s so thick.

Keep cream cheese on hand during the holidays

Idea number two.

My friend just told me about this and it TOTALLY saved me this Christmas.

All you have to do is take the cream cheese and put it on a super cute plate.  Then you take about 2/3 cup of jalepeno jelly and dump it all over the top and serve with crackers.


It looks like a chef stopped by your house.

Nutella and fruit is a simple staple item to have around for unexpected guests

Idea number three.

Nutella and fruit.

I’ve used this with apples, but I think strawberries might be fun too.  The guest shows up.  You invite them in and give them something to drink.  Then you entertain them while you’re washing the fruit and getting it ready.

Put the Nutella in a small white dish on a plate and add the apples or strawberries around it.

Yes, please.

Pillsbury crescent rolls are a must have for quick recipes during the holidays

Idea number four.

I just found this recipe.

I haven’t tried it yet because it involves three ingredients and that’s almost to my limit.

But it looks so easy and yummy and I think it has rock star potential.

Holiday milk and cookies


That was four ideas in under four minutes.

And now I’d love to hear any ideas from you.

Something easy.

Something you can make in under 10 minutes.

Something you could keep on hand to make while telling a story.

Okay rock stars.

Go. 🙂

PS  I’ll update the post with some of the ideas in case anyone wants to keep it all in one place. 🙂


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  1. Image for Terri Terri

    When I was little, unexpected guests seemed to be the norm. Today, I would be in a tither if someone stopped by for a "visit" unannounced. Thank you for the great quick recipe suggestions. I'll be going to the store soon. Now, what about the messy? Guess if they stop by, they're friends and no doubt have a bit of messy going on in their home also! Happy 2018 to you and may the doorbell ring!

  2. Image for Dana Cox Dana Cox

    Kari-Anne, My go to keep in the freezer dish for unexpected guests, quick meals, and just lazy day suppers is quiche. It is the easiest thing in the world to prepare! It's what I cook on clean out the 'fridge days! I love to cook so I usually make my own crust, but you can use prepared, and I do occasionally. I use 6 eggs beaten, 3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled, 1 small chopped onion, and 1 cup of some type of white cheese. Mix and pour into pie shell. bake 350' until set in middle. On clean out the 'fridge days I add EVERYTHING that I have a bit or piece of. EX: celery stalk, radish, ground beef, 1/2 leftover carrot, etc. Get the picture? I freeze them by loosely wrapping in wax paper and placing in a zip loc bag. Just pull out and heat. serve with a salad and you have a great meal. I have quiche dishes that are large for a crowd, small individual ones that are great for girly brunches and everything in between! Happy Cooking!

    1. Image for Kathy Kathy

      This recipe idea sounds great! For those of us who don't deem themselves as cooks, approximately how long is "until set"?

      1. Image for dana d cox dana d cox

        "Until set" means the middle of the quiche doesn't "wiggle". Happy cooking. I usually cook a quiche in my oven 30 min. Dana Cox

      2. Image for dana dana

        Left the reply with the wrong comment!! "until set" will depend on your oven. I bake my quiche for 30 minutes. The center of it does not wiggle! When making a round for the freezer I bake about 20 minutes. Then I freeze. When ready to serve I thaw and cook for 10-15 minutes to heat. I also sometimes slice the quiche and freeze in individual servings as I am a teacher and it makes a great lunch on the go. Happy Cooking. DFC

      1. Image for dana d cox dana d cox

        I bake my quiche for the freezer and undercook it by about 10 minutes. Thaw on the counter. Bake in a hot oven for about 10-15 min. D. Cox

  3. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Karianne, In the fall my go-to for company is a combination of equal parts cream cheese and caramel syrup in a cute bowl, and cut up apples on a beautiful, fall plate. It's such a yummy dip and very fast and easy. Thanks for your suggestions. I'll take any suggestions for spring since that's the season quickly approaching! Blessings!

  4. Image for Lisa Lisa

    My go to is the perfect cheese plate. Two cheeses (smoked Gouda, cheddar, havarti or whatever I have on hand), Carr’s water crackers, Craisins, walnuts and a small bowl of pepper jelly. How easy is that!

  5. Image for Mary Mary

    I love puff pastry. You thaw it in the refrigerator and roll it out top with with any jam you Ike, I love apricot, roll it up like a cinnamon roll, slice and bake. I also make a savory one with different fillings, cheddar cheese for cheese straws, herbed cream cheese, plain sugar etc. Yum! Your imagination is the limit here because you can make any filing you like inside, just make sure you don’t overfill or use anything too wet. I often spend 10 minutes making several of these and then popping them back in the freezer to individually refreeze so that I may have yummy snacks on hand.

    1. Image for Dee Turk Dee Turk

      Your ideas for keeping puff pastry on hand are great! I find the puff pastry is one of those things that can turn something so simple into something super elegant super quickly! I love to mix feta cheese with egg Dill onion and spinach that has been thawed and the water squeezed out to make Greek Spanatriopitas. It's really honestly super easy! And can either be an appetizer or even a main dish! Also, I like puff pastry shells that you can pre-cook or quickly cook, whip up a little vanilla pudding and throw it in the cups with a little whipped cream and there's a great dessert quickly. Usually I like to make homemade everything, but if you were really pinch for time I think instant would work!

  6. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Lil smokies and crescent rolls! Cut each triangle section of a crescent roll into thirds~ use that third to wrap up a lil smokie and place into oven and cook according to directions. Add a white bowl of mustard and ketchup for dipping....DONE! My niece shared that a package of lil smokies at a campfire is a hit too! Stick a few on a twig/ metal skewer and heat over the open flame.

      1. Image for carrie carrie

        Quick and easy!! I forgot they were called pigs in a blanket! ha ...that's alot easier to explain! I could have just said "Make pigs in a blanket!" :)

        1. Image for Elle Elle

          No--your explanation was better -- now those of us who wonder HOW to make pigs in a blanket can follow your steps, so Thank You!!

  7. Image for Carleen Yoder Reed Carleen Yoder Reed

    Keep a roll of cookie dough (either homemade or store bought) in the fridge/freezer. Thaw, slice and bake.

  8. Image for Loryl Loryl

    Nuts and a tin of really good cookies. Or M& M’s 😉 The trouble is we usually eat all those even before company comes! But I do keep cream cheese, yogurt or sour cream and a few dip mixes in the pantry at all times just in case. Also when we travel I always seek out gourmet shops and bring back some kind of treat i can use for just such an occasion. Example: specialty crackers, mixes, nuts, jarred fruit or jams (GREAT on topping cream cheese) anything regional that will be a treat for homies.That way you get to share a bit of your travels with friends and family.

  9. Image for Sherry Sherry

    Little smokies in bbq sauce. Plop it in a sauce pan, heat it up and eat! Velveeta cheese and Rotel. Heat in saucepan and serve with taco chips. Sausage, cheese and cracker platter. We keep this in the fridge all the time! Add grapes if you want and wine of your choice. Sour cream, add Lipton onion soup mix,stir and serve with potato chips. Easy peasy!

    1. Image for Betty Betty

      Lil smokies in bbq sauce with either grape jelly or cranberry sauce . . . Or use frozen meatballs . . makes it more than plain bbq, and no one knows your secret recipe for party pups, lol!

  10. Image for Jenny Jenny

    When it's not mealtime, I think it's easy and nice to simply offer hot tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, with some Walker's shortbread, or another crispy sweet danceable cookie of your choice. Put the focus on what's important - your friendships! A hot cuppa and a sweet bite is simple and takes no time.

  11. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    How about Hummus and veggies?! Super good and easy. We keep on hand a bag of cut up already washed and ready to go veggies that we get at Sam's Club. Broccoli, Cauliflower and baby carrots. Since last June we've been trying to eat healthier. Less chips etc and more veggies. The giant tub of Hummus is yummy and is great for wraps for lunch with chicken and more veggies! ;).

  12. Image for katzcradul katzcradul

    I always have a loaf of this Gourmet Banana Bread in my freezer in case unexpected company stops by. It is something special served with a cup of coffee or tea. The best I've ever had hands down. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WHSTtMnOzY

  13. Image for Jere Jere

    I could treat the 4th Battalion (I have to go in to my pantry sideways) ...alas they never ring my door bell but I am ready. Kerianne I do not how to relay this information to you so I must use the comments.: Have you read or discovered the book Reading a Rock by Brenda Maddox? I recall your writing about your Father being a geologist....and this book is on that subject. You might find it interesting, Maybe bring up more memories . Jere

    1. Image for Jere Jere

      I hope you received this information about the book..the book is relative newly published ..I saw it in one of my book newsletters., and thought of you right away. Jere

    2. Image for Lori H Lori H

      In case anyone is trying to find the book, it is Reading the Rocks. Thanks for the recommendation! I am going to buy it for my geologist friend :)

  14. Image for Susan Allen Susan Allen

    1). Use fancy toothpicks and skewer cherry tomatoes, a stuffed olive, and a small piece of mozzarella cheese stick. Easy peasy 2) always have cashews on hand or pecans and a cute bowl to put them in 3) make a dip out of marshmallow creme and the Carmel dipping sauce for apples. Slice up apples on a cute plate and serve

  15. Image for Deb Pelton Deb Pelton

    Hi Katranne, hi w about slice and bake cookies? Your house will smell amazing! English muffin pizza works. Queso? Block of Velveeta, can or hotel tomatoes melt together serve with tortilla chips. Although, Karianne, I think you are "treat" enough.

  16. Image for david david

    In the colder months (he says, shivering in Los Angeles) we always have various kinds of hot chocolate on hand. The "fancy-it-up" key is whipped cream in the fridge and having little topping like crushed peppermint, chocolate curls, marshmallows etc in the pantry to make is look all fancy and give the guests some options.

  17. Image for Darling Lily Darling Lily

    My mother, as did her mother before her, taught me to never cross someone else's threshold empty handed. If you're reading this and are one of KariAnne's regular drop-by-unannounced guests, please consider bringing a treat along! :P A block of Velveeta and a jar of salsa melted together is tasty and easy if you keep tortilla chips on hand, which isn't so easy in this household.. Red potatoes keep well, and serving up a little impromptu baked potato bar is easy enough... nuke your 'taters, then offer cheese, sour cream, salsa, whatever else you might have in the fridge. Quesadillas are great quick and easy, too, but flour tortillas are hard to keep on hand without spoiling. And a roll of slice and bake cookie is just as easy to keep on hand as those crescent rolls!

      1. Image for Lynn Jordan Lynn Jordan

        Have you tried hot dogs cut into bite size pieces, place in saucepan with a jar of grape jelly and a small bottle of frenchs mustard heat through. They are delicious. Also 1 jar of Marshmallow cream and 1 small tub of Strawberry Philly whipped Cream Cheese blend with mixer serve with apples slices, grapes and bananas my grands lick their plate clean!

  18. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    Lately, charcuterie boards are what I put out. We all have cheese, crackers, fruit and some kind of meat and nuts. It doesn’t have to be fancy or Pinterest worthy. Just some nibbles to nosh on. I used my wood cutting board to put my items on.

  19. Image for Lbpv Lbpv

    I like you suggestions. Good to have on hand is a block of cream cheese and Mrs Dash sundried tomato blend. Mix three Tblsp with the cream cheese spread on crackers.

  20. Image for Karen Karen

    I make homemade sugar cookies and put them in freezer bags. Just put them on a pretty plate. They don't even need thawing. Delish!

  21. Image for Ann Ann

    Here's a go-to that has caused guests to gasp in amazement that I would do something SO special for them: Make a big batch of those Bisquick/sausage/cheddar balls - preferably some day when you are hungry for them and need an excuse to do so. Roll the balls and freeze them individually (on a jelly roll pan or something big-but-not-too-big for your freezer), then toss into a zip bag, unbaked. When guests arrive, pour out a small amount, large amount, whatever you need, and bake. It's a quick, no-trouble treat for guests! It's also a great solution for those "bring something" parties on busy days.

  22. Image for Marty Oravetz Marty Oravetz

    Seems like we have a lot of drop- ins too so I always have a roll of hard or garlic sausage. Just a few slices some cheese too if you have it and a few ritz crackers and it is time to munch and visit. Nothing to cook and you can slice the sausage while you are at the counter visiting and sipping on your tea.

    1. Image for Bonnie Schulte Bonnie Schulte

      We usually do this at our house too. Easy and taste good. If I have grapes on hand, I'll add a little bunch to the plate. Takes no time at all

  23. Image for Katie Heidinger Katie Heidinger

    I like to go the healthy and economical route. I always have apples, celery, carrots, and cheese in my fridge. I love apples and cheese together!! Add some nuts and olives and Voila. Did you know you can put cream cheese out and pour all kinds of stuff over it? Salsa, shrimp cocktail, jams......sweet or savory.

  24. Image for Debi K. Debi K.

    I make cookie dough, scoop it out with a small scoop, and freeze them on a cookie sheet. When firm, I remove them from the cookie sheet and place them in a gallon freezer bag to bake as needed. It's terrific to have warm cookies when the grandkids or others visit.

  25. Image for DeAnna DeAnna

    I ALWAYS have "fresh" baked cookies in air tight containers in my freezer. Usually more than one kind. Pull those out and place on a plate. They don't take long at all to thaw. Sorry, they are usually more than 3 ingredients! :) But make them on a day when you have a little more time.

  26. Image for Sandi Sandi

    Hi Karianne, I hope after your friends read 'Darling Lily's' post they'll bring you treats! I have to tell you that refridgerated dough such as the picture you posted contain trans fats and hydrogenated fats and are extremley dangerous and absolutely contribute to heart disease. That's why they are being removed from the food industry. These fats take about 90 days to clear out of the body, so avoid them at all costs! We want you around forever!

  27. Image for Joy Shanor Joy Shanor

    An 8 oz. block of cream cheese, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and some toffee bits(found in the baking aisle) and you've got an amazing apple dip! Super simple, super easy and super delicious!!!

  28. Image for Kimberly Kimberly

    Many of these have already been mentioned but I think the key is to do something simple but with a finishing touch that others would not normally do for themselves. Cheese boards are my favorite. Nothing on them requires more than slicing/cubing the cheese, adding some fruit, nuts and crackers, but seems so festive. You can serve instant cocoa, but top with whipped cream and a flourish of chocolate or caramel syrup and maybe a dusting of cocoa powder - instant fancy-pants. Sweet tea? Drop in a bendy straw and/or a sprig of mint. Serving a bowl of cashews? Heat them up. Same goes for tortilla chips. None of these suggestions requires much effort but say to your guest, "I took the time to pamper you." Do small things with great thoughtfulness.

  29. Image for Deborah Deborah

    Hi Karianne Thanks for your great ideas! My standby is a block of cream cheese on a plate. Pour cocktail sauce over it and sprinkle with thawed cocktail shrimp. Serve with crackers.

    1. Image for Joy Shanor Joy Shanor

      Mix a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce in the cream cheese and it takes this recipe to a whole 'nother level!!

  30. Image for Julie Kay & Co. Julie Kay & Co.

    Brie cheese lasts forever, you can buy either a wedge or a wrapped round at any store. I put it on a pretty plate, sprinkler with craisins and sliced almonds (both last in the fridge because they aren't appealing to 'snack' on alone to the fam :) and warm it up in the micro for 45 seconds. TaDa !!! Easy breezy. Serve with water crackers or pita chips. I try to remember that a relaxed hostess is an enjoyable one, doesn't always work but really your friends want to just enjoy your company, whether you serve something yummy or call for pizza, it's all good.

  31. Image for Rose D Rose D

    How about a 16 oz. block of cream cheese and a can of chili without beans? Combine and heat until cream cheese melts. Put in a pretty bowl and surround with crackers and/ or tortilla chips. Easy and tasty.

  32. Image for Stephanie Stephanie

    Great topic! I always keep jello cheesecake mix in pantry. All you need is milk! And who does not like cheesecake? Love fruit pie filling in pantry. Great to throw in crockpot to smell wonderful as an easy crisp. Or follow Betty Crocker's recipe for Apple Crisp always good and made with things you should have. Love yogurt bar! If morning surprise. Vanilla yogurt, fruit, and crumbled granola bars make pretty parfaits. This is always a hit. Layer dip how many layers depend on what you have. We like fat free refried beans, green chillies, Mexican shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, and lettuce n tomato on top. Not much for soggy salad. Seasoned taco meat can be added as well. Maybe I do need to do cookbook friend 😂😂😂

  33. Image for Deb Wostmann Deb Wostmann

    Hey Karianne, Great ideas. I entertain quite a lot so have a couple of items I always have at the ready. The premade phyllo dough cups in the frozen food aisle. They come ready to fill and already baked. I've put shrimp or chicken salad in them as well as a ready made artichoke & jalapeno dip sprinkled with a little parm cheese and broiled for a second to melt the cheese. Of course you can use them for desserts as well just filling with ready made lemon curd or pie filling. I also frequently serve cream cheese smothered in cocktail sauce with salad shrimp on top of all that with sturdy crackers - always a hit.

  34. Image for Cindy Cindy

    That jalapeño jelly goes great on cheddar cheese as well. I like to slice cheese add crackers and nuts to the plate along with a small dish of jalapeño jelly. Really, any jam works in a pinch!

  35. Image for Debbie Debbie

    My two favorite dips are... a jar of Old English Cheese with an 80z. block of cream cheese. This is great with any veggies and/ or crackers. We even have it with sliced sausages our favorite is Hickory Farms Summer sausage. Our favorite fruit dip is easy as well... 8 0z. block of cream cheese with 70z. container of Marshmallow cream and a bit of juice from a jar of maraschino cherries or even lemon juice if you prefer.

  36. Image for susan b susan b

    I always keep a can of diced tomatoes and a dry packet of Mrs. Wages salsa dip in medium heat (with a bag of tostitos). Open the can - mix in Mrs. Wages - pretty serving dish....Voila - the best salsa ever. If you think they might be staying for a meal....I call it my cheater chicken noodle soup.....Crock pot - a few thawed chicken pieces - chicken broth. Throw it on high and add the noodles about 15 minutes before you eat. (I make this for church dinners and never have leftovers). And finally - if you've never tried the Bear Creek Kitchen Creations dry soups - AMAZING - just add water!

  37. Image for Joan Joan

    We are dairy free and can’t do some types of nuts. We always have almonds and cashews. Humus, peach mango salsa, kalamata & green olives, scoops, fresh veggies, and at least two types of fruit for our friendly drop ins. For meat eaters we also have procuitto (sp?) and summer sausage with various mustards & crackers.

  38. Image for Peggy Z Peggy Z

    Cheese and fruit tray with nuts and orchard sausage are almost always in the pantry. I do like Debi K to with cookies. But my absolute favorite was taught to me by a very savvy realtor friend. Pull out your beautiful cups and saucers for coffee or tea and make cinnamon toast. Decadent, simple and full of childhood memories.

  39. Image for Sue Sue

    Karianne, google a recipe for Jezebel sauce. This keeps in the refrigerator for weeks. Pour over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers. This has always been a hit at parties.

  40. Image for Peg Peg

    Lately, I'm loving the look of several different cheeses, assorted crackers, walnuts and almonds, dried cranberries and apricots, some kind of savory spread in a small ramekin (think Stonewall Kitchen) with decorative spreader, and pumpkin seeds (to compliment the white ramekin), all nestled together on a thick cutting board. If I know in advance, I buy little packages of fresh thyme and rosemary and place the sprigs festively between the groups. It's so easy to put together, and friends and family ooh and aah!! xoxo

  41. Image for Kris Kris

    Great suggestions, everyone! I'm in the cheese and cracker camp, as well as nuts. I'm unlike you, Karianne--I usually have multi-ingredient cookies baked and ready to go for those of us who like sweet nosh (but you are the decorating queen so it evens out!). I also like fresh fruit and/or a veggie platter for those of us who need to lose the Christmas Chubbiness. Ha. I'm trying to stock more chips and pop for when teens come over. Coffee/tea is good to offer in the winter. I think the key is, though, not to sweat it--put the goodies on a pretty plate/platter/mug and enjoy your company. I know I appreciate anything offered when I am a guest. I was raised to be appreciative, not picky. :) Oh ... and while it's nice when guests bring something, I feel it's my responsibility as hostess to make sure my guests are taken care of--then again, I'm not a southerner and etiquette varies in different locales.

  42. Image for Penny Penny

    Kari - how about Ham & Pickled Okra rollups (4 ingredients)? Simple. Recently made for a rather large gathering and they were a hit! Use package of regular shaped sandwich ham (like Carolina pride). Soften a brick of cream cheese and add 2 T of sriracha sauce (or to taste). Spread softened cheese on one ham slice. Trim ends of okra and place on one end of ham (you can use/slice several okra's to fit if too short). Roll up and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes till firm. Then slice into about 1" bites. Serve/arrange on a platter. Can serve by themselves or on a larger relish snack tray. These little babies look like a beautiful little flower buds when you cut into them - not to mention really tasty! Enjoy!

  43. Image for Carol H Carol H

    8 oz cream cheese and small jar of picante sauce - you choose the heat & use more or less picante based on your preference for consistency. Mix in food processor or mixer and serve with tortilla chips....SO good (and only 2 ingredients :))

  44. Image for Francis Moore Francis Moore

    You stated that when you lived in Kentucky, people did not stop in and visit very much. I wonder if you stopped in and visited people while you were there. I grew up in Kentucky and found that people were friendly and visited if they were visited. This is just an just an observation on my part.

    1. Image for KariAnne KariAnne

      Francis, The people were super friendly in Kentucky! I loved living there and we did have people come over occasionally and we visited people occasionally! We just lived out so far in the country that it was hard for people to visit. We live in town surrounded by family now, so the doorbell rings a lot more. 😀 Happy day! KariAnne

  45. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    Happy New Year, Karianne! As I shop in either speciality kitchen stores or little boutiques, I will pick up the little packages of dip mixes. They are usually just enough to mix with a brick of cream cheese (which most of us probably keep on hand). You can spread them on crackers or use different chips you have on hand to dip. I've found some wonderful mixes here and there and they keep a very long time. May your doorbell continue to ring-a-ding.

  46. Image for Diana Hall Diana Hall

    I love all the above suggestions! A couple of our favs are simple salami roll ups, which is deli sliced salami spread with softened cream cheese or whipped cream cheese if you’re in a hurry, roll up and put on a plate. Yum. Also an easy artichoke dip which is 8 oz pkg of cream cheese softened and spread onto bottom of a 9-inch plate. Mix one 14 oz can drained and chopped artichokes, 2 TBSP melted butter and 1 clove minced garlic together and spoon over cream cheese. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Microwave on high for1 minute or until heated through. Serve with Triscuit Thin Crisps. Always a hit!!! Love reading everyone’s ideas!!!

  47. Image for Dena Dena

    There is a locally-owned gourmet market near my home that is also a deli. Often when I visit they will have a sample of a treat at the register. Last fall I picked up a jar of blueberry jalapeno compote that I have used several times. I just place a block of cream cheese on a pretty white bread plate, top with the compote and serve with some crackers that I have on hand (usually ritz or wheat thins). Easy peasy and delicious. You might try Trader Joes or Whole Foods for similar options.

  48. Image for Lorri Rauscher Lorri Rauscher

    My suggestion is to make some banana bread or any kind of sweet bread, put it in the freezer . Divide it in two so they are on the smaller size.By the time you make the coffee or tea the bread is slightly thawed ....slice it and .viola Betty Rock Star Crocker!!!.😆 This is a really easy idea......a slice of cheese.a dill pickle slice on a round cracker. We have this dip called Hummus...delish!!! Serve with cut veggies. One more idea..flavoured yogurt with cut up fruit..ie strawberries, apples, pears etc. or little biscuit cookies to dip in the yogurt.Yummy!!

  49. Image for Therese Therese

    I'm in the cream cheese camp. Here's another one for cannoli dip. Mix one block cream cheese with powder sugar, add a little vanilla, and mini chocolate chips. Serve with broken up waffle cones. Um!

  50. Image for Janis Hill Janis Hill

    Like so many others I was taught to never cross someone else's threshold empty handed, but this little rule of etiquette seems to have fallen by the wayside for the most part. I was also taught to never return a plate or other container empty, but that still doesn't answer the question, does it! I keep frozen meatballs in the freezer. Toss in a skillet, cover and allow to heat up for 7 or 8 minutes on medium-low then add half a jar of marinara sauce for a quick snack. Or add grape jelly and chili sauce instead of marinara sauce. Lunch meat (think ham, roast, salami) spread with cream cheese, rolled up then sliced about an inch long make great horderves. Top with an olive or sliced pickle or even nothing, stick in a toothpick and pass around the plate. French bread slice into rounds, brushed with EVOO and toasted in a skillet or the oven spread with cream cheese, goat cheese, fig jam, a drizzle of honey or whatever else you have on hand and topped with a sprinkle of walnuts is impressive, yet super simple. Oh, and that block of cream cheese you always have on hand? It can be topped with melted PB & honey (microwave it) and offered with graham crackers. And one last idea: 1 block cream cheese + 1 can of chili slowly warmed together in a pot on the stove, stirring to blend or popped in the microwave for a minute or two. Maybe 3. Serve with corn chips.

  51. Image for Mary Alice Kenley Mary Alice Kenley

    My drop-ins seem to all come for coffee in the mornings. This has literally changed my life: the crescent roll sheets! OMGoodness! Roll that puppy out, butter it and sprinkle cinnamon sugar liberally. Roll it up, cut in slices and bake until it's done. The glaze is easy. Put some confectioner's sugar into a bowl and SLOWLY add whatever liquid you like--orange juice, milk, water, you name it. Stir until desired consistency is reached. If it's too runny, just add some more sugar. Glaze those rolls, sprinkle on some nuts (in my freezer all the time) and serve.

  52. Image for Teresa Edwards Teresa Edwards

    I've tried your idea #2 with homemade jalapeno jelly I add a little green food coloring to. After pouring over cream cheese, I sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds on top that shine like little gems. When I make homemade cookies , I always roll half the dough in parchment and freeze so they're always ready to slice and bake for unexpected company or my husband's after dinner sweet craving.

  53. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    Wrap a wedge of brie cheese with phyllo dough, add mined nuts or cran raisins beforè sealing closed. Brush with egg white, bake? Enjoy! (Can be served with grapes or sliced fruit) Roll aged provolone with hard salami. Tray with crackers Looking forward to the ßuggestions you receive. Please share

  54. Image for Belinda B. Young Belinda B. Young

    Just take cream cheese and cut in half, lenthwise and roll in dry ranch dressing. Put on a pretty plate and serve with your favorite crackers. Yum.

  55. Image for Cheryle Cheryle

    Great ideas! I make a dip by mixing a small yogurt container with a little cool whip or cream cheese. Then I cut a frozen Sara Lee pound cake (do you have that in TX?) into cubes, add some fruit on a pretty plate. I have also melted some choc chips with some half and half as a dip as well.

  56. Image for Suzanne Suzanne

    Hi Karianne! You have to try this!!!! A block of regular Havarti cheese and a can of crescent rolls makes this super easy appetizer. Mold the cheese into a ball then cover the ball with the crescent roll dough and bake per directions on can. Remove from the oven and serve with green apple slices, crackers or alone. It's sooooo good!!!!! I promise!

  57. Image for Linda Linda

    I’m afraid I’m a taker rather than a contributor today, but I want to thank you for the post and all the refreshment ideas from you and your readers. I’ve expanded my shopping list, and if I don’t have surprise visitors, I’ll invite friends to come for food and fun.

  58. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Pick up Sticky Fingers Scone mixes (dif flavors..(Cherry Choco Chip...yum) anytime you’re at TJMaxx. Add 2/3 cup water & bake 15 min. Serve w/a little jelly and a cup of tea. Nice warm oven (375) feels homey. Easy enough to make while talking non-stop😊Delish! Course you can always make ahead!

  59. Image for carol carol

    All great ideas but I can't have Nutella in my house. I'd walk around dipping into the jar with a spoon (or worse) all day until it's gone.

  60. Image for Katie Mansfield Katie Mansfield

    I've decided that I need to have a box of brownie mix in the pantry. The house smells wonderful while they are baking. Texans do love Rotel and Velveeta for Queso. What a fun side effect of your move back to Texas. What a blessing.

  61. Image for Kara Kara

    Hello! Are favorite snack is ham slices smeared with softened cream cheese and rolled up around Dixie Dell (a TX favorite) pickles. Slice into rings and serve. Yum!!-

    1. Image for Kara Kara

      One more quick recipe for the BEST potato chip dip EVER 1 block cream cheese 1 bottle shrimp cocktail sauce. (Sounds weird, but trust me here) Blend together in your blender, add a tbsp or 2 of milk if its too thick. This dip is required at ALL family functions here. Lol When do we eat?

    2. Image for Margie Margie

      Kara, We love these too! However, I sprinkle garlic powder (to taste) in with cream cheese. People can't stop eating them! Yum Yum!! :)

  62. Image for eileen eileen

    this is huge crowd pleaser...roll out can of crescent dough, place brick of cream cheese on it, slice the brick in half long way, put prepared pesto of any kind all over cream cheese, top with other half. wrap it up like a present with crescent, so you have a rectangle. bake for about 20 minutes. It is so easy and very good. If I have them sometimes I put diced red peppers on pesto or pine nuts....

  63. Image for JudyCinNC JudyCinNC

    Take a round of Brie cheese, soften in microwave a few seconds, spread the top with Major Grey's Chutney - I use 1/2bottle - and this is usually found on the condiment isle. Seve with a low-flavor cracker like Carr's Water Crackers. Excellent/real crowd pleaser and for "high-drama" you can cover cream cheese and chutney with puffed pastry and bake in the oven until brown. Enjoy JudyCinNC

  64. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    tWO MORE - 1. Keep a mix bag of cup cakes in the freezer. Can even be leftover corn muffins from a meal. Any quick bread mix or cake mix will make cup cakes. Get your girls involved with this project! I like adding a too brown banana and a 1/2 c choc chips to a basic muffin mix. Can use regular size or the mini size and a variety of cup cake paper wrappers! 2. Buy a fresh pineapple each week, tie with a pretty ribbon around top, place on pretty plate, and use as a decoration. As it ripens (can get really ripe before carving) cut it in chunks and use with melted chocolate for dipping, or nutell, or cream marshmellow. You can carve while visiting the friends! Pineapple is a sign of welcome!!!!!!

  65. Image for Carole Carole

    Wow, such great spur-of-the-moment snack ideas! Recently our grown daughters reminded me of the "crabbies" appetizer we loved in the 90's. We found the recipe online (made with Old English cheese in the little glass jar). Our family and guests enjoyed them like it was 1992! To serve them at a moment's notice...follow the recipe but freeze them on a cookie sheet before cooking. When the crabbies are frozen put them into a large baggie and freeze baggie until you need the crabbies. To serve - remove amount you want to serve from the freezer bag, do NOT thaw crabbies, just cook as directed in recipe. Serve and enjoy! So easy and so yummy.

  66. Image for Michelle Michelle

    You had me at jalapeno jelly and cream cheese! I really love that idea! I just didn't have an opportunity to post yesterday :( I used to keep a pound cake in the pantry when berries were in season for unexpected guests or when we just wanted a treat. I would pull a strong thread about 1" from the top, scoop out the inside and fill it with whipped cream Then I'd drench it in berry syrup and decorate it with the berries and mint leaves.

  67. Image for Ashley Ashley

    You need to check out another of my favorite bloggers, Laura at www.heavenlyhomemakers.com. She is a queen of simple meals. One of her best ideas is to make muffin batter, put it in muffin liners, and freeze it. You can then bake it straight from the freezer for fresh muffins anytime.

    1. Image for Ashley Ashley

      Here is a direct link explaining the very easy process: https://heavenlyhomemakers.com/freezing-muffin-batter-for-quick-breakfasts-and-snacks

  68. Image for Rebecca Rebecca

    I am slow to respond (the saga of my life) from this post yesterday. What fun to read all of the suggestions. One of the crackers that I am head over heels about are Mary’s Gone Crackers, the original! Occasionally, Costco will have these in a double bag box! Gets lots when that happens. They are gluten free, in case your drop-ins need that! Something that I try to keep, which are a favorite of my son-in-law (he gets a gallon bag of these for Christmas) are savory Oyster Crackers. I use 3 (10 oz bags) of the smaller oyster crackers...sometimes they are the cheapest. Put them in a gallon ziplock. Mix in a 2-cup glass measuring cup: 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tsp dill weed, 2 tsp lemon pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder and whisk. Pour over the crackers and start turning the bag. It won’t take long for the crackers to absorb everything. They keep in an air tight container until someone finds them for a snack. Enjoy!

  69. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    I always keep some decent cheeses, grapes and crackers on hand. You can make a Charcuterie tray in two minutes, and then you can say, "I'll just whip together a Charcuterie tray" and sound all sophisticated!

  70. Image for Gina Gina

    My mom always had Sara Lee Frozen pound cake in the freezer and it's easy to just add whatever fresh berries you have in the house or just heat up some frozen berries with a little sugar in a pan and add to each serving, but it's great plain. She also always had different varieties of Pepperidge Farm frozen cakes. I actually read this post yesterday before going to Walmart. There I saw all kinds of Frozen loaf cakes and I ended up buying a couple! Unfortunately for my waistline, I also ended up making salsa mixed with sour cream for my tortilla chip addiction, party of one! Haha! I couldn't help thinking of snacky foods after reading this!

  71. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Wow... look at all those comments! Yeah, man! (three ingredients is your limit.... As my 2 year old grandson says, as he's giggling, "You giggle me!"

  72. Image for Colleen Foth Colleen Foth

    No one has mentioned candy. I've noticed people love to eat candy but not buy it. Buy seasonal candy and put them out in bowls and watch all ages devour the candy. My parents and in-laws both in their 80's love nothing more to eat candy.

  73. Image for Beth F Beth F

    In the fall and winter... hot chocolate with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. In the spring and summer... mix canned chicken, mayo, spring onions, and cheese and scoop by the tablespoon onto a croissant triangle, roll up and toss in the oven until lightly browned. Of course, chips with rotel and velveeta cheese is a mainstay in my pantry. Of course, it's all served with sweet tea with lemon!

  74. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    I know I am a little late to the party, lol, but I like to take flour tortillas and add either mayo, cream cheese or chive & onion cream cheese or ranch dressing spreading desired amount onto tortilla, then add your favorite lunch meat, chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce. Roll up and slice into bite size pieces or in thirds, put on a plate and your done. Fast and easy.

  75. Image for Jen Jen

    I love to mix Costco canned chicken with mayo, a lil mustard and chopped pickles or slivered almonds...serve with tortilla chips. Another favorite is you can buy a big can of nacho cheese and heat up, add cooked hamburger if you want and in bowls put toppings such as tomatoes, shredded lettuce, diced onion, sliced olives etc. All can be bought already prepared too. Serve with tortilla chips. I keep root beer in the pantry and vanilla ice cream in freezer for root beer floats. The kids especially love this! A quick plate of summer sausage, sliced cheeses and crackers goes fast here too! For sweets I freeze cookie dough in balls and bake when company comes. Rhoades Cinnamon rolls from frozen section are delish.. just allow time for them to raise. Fancy store bought cookies on a pretty plate are fun too

  76. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I think if you bake up a bunch of breads and freeze them, that would be the easiest. You could also have chips and dip, of which there were several suggestions. I also like the special effects on the cocoa cups and coffee and tea. It's the little things that mean a lot!!!

  77. Image for Cyndy Cyndy

    Here is an easy one for you KerriAnn.... Trader Joes or grocery store CORNBREAD CHILI DIP 2 cans Turkey or vegetarian chili 1 box corn bread Bag of organic tortilla chips Empty cans of chili in a 9x11 dish. Top with corn bread mix, bake as directed on box. Serve with chips. *Perfect for large crowds, kids, bunko, Super Bowl

  78. Image for Lynda Lynda

    This is a 3 ingredient recipe. But I like it because 1 I can have the ingredients stored for a while w/o using them 2. I makes up fast and bestowed in the fridge for a couple weeks 3. It is a recipe that my sister developed She since has passed away... always think of her when making and serving it) 8oz velveeta cheese 1 cup Helmans mayo (DO NOT substitute) 5 oz of Horseradish non creamy ( can be found in dairy section or seafood section.). Must be refrigerated Cube cheese .. microwave until melted and smooth cool so it is not HOT from the microwave. Add mayo and horseradish mix with electric mixer. Serve warm or cold. ( don't re-worm I serve it warm after I first make then refrigerate) Use cocktail bread,sturdy cracker or ptezels

  79. Image for Rita Hosick Rita Hosick

    Do you remember when I would would bake up cookies on a snow day and freeze them for “rainy days” or when guest come over? That is always one thing to keep on hand. It is a snow day here and I am thinking I need to get up and make some. I so miss you and the kids. We went sleighing Friday and Drew said “if only the twins were here.”

  80. Image for Sojourner Sojourner

    Love these comments and the enthusiasm behind them. I also rely on cheese platters with fruit and olives, and dips. We have people in our family who don't eat dairy, so I make the following: One can of white beans (cannellini) which I rinse well, put in food processor or blender with olive oil and some lemon. Blend it up and done. Delicious with veggies or crackers, and high protein, low sugar. Also for those of us who have to watch our sugar or our waistlines, I serve plain Greek yogurt mixed with lots of fresh raspberries when I can get them. This would also be great with canned peaches (canned in water, not syrup). I have also made the following appetizer which is so easy but looks extra fancy: Tiny mozzarella balls (Trader Joe's sells them) and little grape tomatoes. Thread these on wooden skewers, alternating tomatoes and cheese. Arrange on a plate in a "star" with all the points pointing inward. You can top with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze (Trader Joe's again) or chopped fresh or dried basil. Very popular. I agree the spirit of hospitality is the most important.

  81. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Savory Oyster crackers are the best! Mix a box of organic oyster crackers(no trans fats),with 1/2 cup of olive oil and bbq seasoning. Put on a sheet pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes, delicious!

  82. Image for Karen Karen

    Super simple ,delicious and 2 ingredients will keep in refrigerator until you're ready to use them. Garlic and herb Boursin cheese put on a plate, spread Bonne Mamman raspberry jam puddled over the top, serve with water crackers

  83. Image for Barbara Warren Barbara Warren

    Idea #2; If you cut your cream cheese diagonally, put the sides together with small end at top you have a tree. Can't wait to read you daily posts.

  84. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    The cream cheese with pepper jelly is a staple. Perfect! I love Captain Rodney’s Boucan Glaze on cream cheese sprinkled with just some real bacon bits that you can have in your pantry and if you really want to impress make the cheese bake on the tag of the bottle. Life changing. I love Trader Joe’s Pineapple salsa with chips. A winner! Have fun entertaining! Those animals (and humans) are missing you here. ❤️

  85. Image for Sue Sue

    So many great ideas here! We do little smokies with a mixture of half chili sauce and half grape jelly. Just heat until the jelly dissolves and the little smokies are hot. Apples and caramel dip is another quick combination. I use both red and green apples, give the slices a quick dip in lemon juice and then alternate the red and green apple slices on a plate or tray. It's quick and colorful. Another easy snack is a chutney dip. Alternate layers on a plate or tray with an edge -- soft cream cheese on the bottom, then a layer of chutney, then a light layer of coconut, then a top layer of chopped peanuts. The combination is sweet, spicy, creamy and crunchy -- delicious! I serve it with crackers.

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