Eric and I love to entertain. It brings us so much joy and happiness to bring together our friends and family under one roof to enjoy a good meal, have a heartfelt conversation and laugh until our sides hurt.
Whether it is a casual spur of the moment backyard s’mores and hot dog roast, or a large carefully planned dinner party revolving around a particular theme; we love making our friends and family feel welcomed and loved.
It brings us great joy to carefully plan the menu, the décor and we even enjoy the hustle and bustle to get our house ready for our guests. And even though entertaining can be stressful and overwhelming, especially during the holiday season when there is so much going on and so many get togethers, there are a few things that I have figured out over the years, that have helped me pull off great dinner parties.
Like, get people to help (I am totally not afraid to ask dinner guests to “chip in” by bringing a dish or help with the clean up), prepping a little here and there over the week leading up to the dinner, creating a menu and taking at least two items off (I tend to over plan my dinner menus) and having an arsenal of “back pocket” appetizer recipes.
You see, despite carefully planning, sometimes, the spur of the moment get togethers, a friend passing through town or a last minute change of plans calling for game night in with friends, are some of the best moments. And even though these get togethers may be less organized than I would like, I still like to feed my guests even if it is just a few quickly thrown together appetizers or snacks.
In fact, some of my favorite party foods are simple appetizers. I love a good veggie tray and who doesn’t love chips and salsa or a nice dip or cheese platter with crackers. In addition to being a fan favorite, these things are easy to whip together in a pinch. I also love throwing together a simple, yet amazing, antipasto platter using common pantry and fridge items. Got pickles, crackers, olives, deli meat, fresh fruits or veggies and cheese, like Boursin® Monterey Jack & Spicy Pepper Cheese Dip and Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese? Then you have the makings of a supreme, no fuss, five minute antipasto platter! Even though these items are always in our kitchen, I always like to pick up extra when I am shopping at Walmart, you know for those surprise guests and especially during the holidays when you need quick appetizers to bring to holiday parties.
Our most recent dinner party was friendsgiving. I love that Eric and started this tradition several years ago and it has become an annual
expectation favorite of our friends. Since it is friendsgiving, everyone must help and chip in and I love seeing our “assorted” spread of food (this year someone even brought store bought coleslaw, lol!). Stuffed mushrooms are another quick go to appetizer option and one of the many “expected” friendsgiving appetizers. These Sausage, Garlic and Herb Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms only have six ingredients and come together in less than 30 minutes, making them a fantastic “back pocket” dinner party recipe!
1 (8-ounce) package white button or baby portobello mushrooms
½ pound spicy Italian sausage
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (flat leaf parsley, thyme, rosemary, etc.)
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 (5.2 ounce) package Boursin® Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese
¼ teaspoon each Kosher salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. Set aside.
Clean mushrooms by wiping them down with a damp paper towel. Carefully remove the mushroom stems and discard. Set prepared mushrooms aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking the meat up with a spatula, until cooked through and no longer pink, about 5-6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
Add butter to skillet and melt over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs to melted butter and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in chopped fresh herbs and half of the salt and black pepper. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove toasted breadcrumbs from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the cooked sausage, cheese, and remaining salt and black pepper. Place the mushrooms stem side up on prepared baking sheet. Stuff each mushroom with about ½ tablespoon cheese mixture. Top cheese with herb breadcrumbs. Bake in preheated 425 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.
5 Minute Antipasto Platter From Pantry Staples
By Heather H. of Kitchen Concoctions: www.kitchen-concoctions.com
Dried fruit (figs, mango, apricot)
Deli meats, summer sausage or pepperoni
Boursin® Monterey Jack and Spicy Pepper Cheese Dip and Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese
Fresh seasonal fruit (grapes, berries, apple or pear slices, premiums, pomegranate seeds)
Fresh vegetables (cucumbers, carrot and celery sticks, mini bell peppers)
Serving platter or wooden cutting board
Small serving spoons
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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Boursin® Cheese. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks to sponsors like Boursin® Cheese I am able to continue to bring you all the content I feature here.