Instant party starters

Two last-minute solutions when guests are almost at your door and you don't have anything to serve with cocktails.

Stuffed dates and herbed almonds

Stuffed dates and herbed almonds
Photo by Sian Richards

It’s 6:30 p.m., your dinner guests are set to arrive at 7 p.m., and you’ve got nothing to offer as a nibble with cocktails. Sound familiar? It happens to us all the time! Our two last-minute solutions are spiced nuts and stuffed dates. Keep a box of dates and a bag of nuts on hand for the holiday season (and post these recipes on your fridge!).

Warm herbed almonds
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan over medium. Add 1 cup almonds. Stir constantly until fragrant, about 6 min. Transfer to a medium bowl and immediately toss with 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tsp brown sugar and 1/2 tsp kosher salt.

Easy stuffed dates
Remove pits from Medjool dates. Stuff each date with soft goat cheese or cream cheese and top with toasted pecans and fresh thyme. Drizzle with honey if desired.