Stock Your Pantry to Party

A pantry brimming with classic standbys and a well-organized kitchen are the stuff of dreams for holiday hostesses. With a little ingenuity and a party-ready pantry featuring these eight staples, you can whip up scrumptious appetizers and host an impromptu soiree on a moment's notice.

Marinated Olive Medley

In the midst of holiday entertaining, it's easy to get caught up creating a dazzling dinner party. Keep it simple at your next gathering with a jazzed-up version of jarred olives -- an easy and delicious DIY hors d'oeuvre. A heaping bowlful of marinated olives will keep grazing guests happy, and they go great with a classic cocktail! Try these go-to recipes to find your new favorite appetizer.

Gorgonzola-Thyme Stuffed Olives

Olive Medley

Herb-Baked Olives

Olive-Cherry Bruschetta

Triple-Olive Tapenade

Seasoned Mixed Nuts

Salty, spicy, or sweet -- seasoned mixed nuts are a nutritional powerhouse that feature incredible flavor! Dish up these delicious mixes at your next party, and you're sure to get rave reviews! Or scoop a few cups of your favorite recipe into a festive tin or cellophane bag for a quick and easy hostess gift.

Rosemary Roasted Nuts

Fire-and-Ice Nut Mix

Chili Mixed Nuts

Chutney or Jam

Depart from traditional condiments and relishes and dazzle guests with a selection of chutneys or jam. Chutney makes a sweet and tangy addition to savory dishes, while fresh and fruity jam makes a delicious spread at the brunch buffet -- perfect for topping pancakes, biscuits, and more! Grab a jar during your next grocery run and you'll have what you need to whip up these easy party-perfect dishes!

Chutney Cheese Balls

Cornmeal Cakes with Berry-Fig Chutney

Feta Crostini with Tomato, Bacon, and Apple Jam

Plum Good Sausage and Meatballs

Jam Thumbprints

Dried Fruit

There's more to dried fruit than trail mix. Keep a stash of dried cherries, apricots, and figs in your pantry. They last forever and are perfect for your stress-free party spread. Toss a handful on your next cheese platter, or serve them up solo with cocktails. Or try one of these party-ready appetizers that star sweet dried fruit.

Warm Brie with Fig and Pistachio Tapenade

Blue Cheese-Apricot Bites

Pecan and Cherry-Topped Brie

Walnut-Apricot Baklava Bites

Herb Pesto

Because of its versatility, classic pesto is a kitchen staple. Stock up on store-bought if you're short on time, or dazzle your guests with a full-flavored homemade version. Toss it with pasta, spread it on a sandwich, or serve it as a delicious dip paired with warm breadsticks or french-fried potato wedges.

Pesto-Cheese Fondue

Italian Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto-Provolone Terrine

Homemade-ish Cookies

What's better than a yummy cookie? One that's already been made for you! Whether from a cake mix or prepackaged refrigerated dough, store-bought "cookies" instantly improve dessert without the extra work. Try these recipes to make party prep easier -- no one will know they're not completely homemade!

Cookie Truffles

Tiramisu Bites

Dipped Chocolate Cookie Sticks

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Artisan Crackers

With just a few extra minutes, sleeves of snack-aisle crackers can be transformed into a tasty DIY artisanal treat -- plus, they're easy on your grocery budget and can last for months when properly stored in the pantry. Drizzled with butter, sprinkled with seasoning, or served with dip, these simple recipes will hit the spot at your next holiday get-together.

Honey-Sesame Snack Mix

Crunchy Cracker Snack Mix

Savory Baked Pita Chips

Mini Margherita Pizzas

Fancy Popcorn

From savory to sweet, it's easy to create your own gourmet-style popcorn that will satisfy every craving. Choose between air-popped kernels (to save a few calories) or oil-popped popcorn (which makes it easier to add mix-ins). Infused with just a few ingredients and spices, basic popcorn becomes an irresistible treat that will have guests begging for another batch.

Sweet and Nutty Popcorn

Honey-Mustard Snack Mix

Aztec Chocolate Caramel Popcorn

No-Bake Caramel Popcorn Drops

Party-Ready Ideas

Light and delicious, this bruschetta recipe features a balance of sweet and savory flavors. Plus, get cookbook author and stylist Libbie Summers' secret to making frozen peas taste as great as fresh peas.


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