What Do You Need to Set Up a Dinner Party?

  • Decide how big you want the party to be. My suggestion? Try 6-10 guests for your first outing. 
  • Decide who you want to have over. Don’t just invite your same circle of friends. Introduce different people and personalities. 
  • Plan out a basic meal. Try to get a really easy menu planned out. If you’re not a good cook, make something easy or even buy something.
  • Consider asking others to bring something. It’s a great way to reduce your workload and get to know your friends. If you feel bad asking up front; wait to see if they ask if they could bring anything, take them up. They wouldn’t offer to help if they didn’t.


Quick and Easy Appetizer Recipes 

Cheesy Appetizer Loaf (Serves 24)

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) KRAFT Natural Italian* Cheese Crumbles
  • 3 Tbsp.   Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped Spanish olives
  • 1/2 tsp.  garlic powder
  • 1 loaf French bread (24 inch), cut lengthwise in half
  •   paprika
HEAT broiler. Mix first 4 ingredients.

SPREAD onto cut sides of bread; sprinkle lightly with paprika.

BROIL, 6 inches from heat, 1 min. or until cheese is melted. Serve warm


Bacon Quesadillas (Serves 4)

  •  4 flour tortillas, (6 inch)
  • 1 cup  KRAFT Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1/4 cup OSCAR MAYER Real Bacon Bits
  • 1/4 cup  thin green onion slices

PREHEAT oven to 400°F. Top half of each tortilla with 1/4 cup of the cheese and 1 Tbsp. each of the bacon bits and green onion. Fold tortillas in half; press lightly to secure.

PLACE in single layer on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

Sausage Dip with Tortilla Chips

  • 1-pound roll of sausage (I like to use Italian sausage)
  • 8-ounce pack of cream cheese
  • 1 small can of Ro-Tel tomatoes (or diced tomatoes with chilies)
  • 1 bag of scoops tortilla chips

Preparation: Brown the sausage and drain it, then throw everything together i the crockpot and heat until the cream cheese melts. It’s ready. Serve with chips.

The spiciness is controlled by the sausage and the type of chilies with the tomatoes. I’ve found that Italian sausage and mild chilies strikes right balance, at least for us. 

Apple-Walnuts Stuffed Mushrooms 

  • 32 lg mushrooms, fresh vegetable cooking spray 
  • 3 tbsp celery, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 cup apple, minced 
  • 2 tbsp fine, dry breadcrumbs 
  • 1 tbsp parsley, fresh, chopped 
  • 2 tbsp walnuts, finely chopped, toasted 
  • 1 tbsp Blue cheese, crumbled 
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Clean mushrooms with damp paper towels. Remove stems, finely chop 1/3 cup of stems, reserving remaining stems for another use. Set mushroom caps aside. 
Coat a small skillet with cooking spray, place over medium high heat until hot. Add 1/3 cup reserved chopped mushroom stems and celery; saute 2 minutes or until tender. 
Combine celery mix, apple and next 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stir well. Spoon 1 1/2 tsp apple mix into each reserved mushroom cap. Place mushrooms in a 15×10″ jelly roll pan, bake at 350 for 15 minutes.


Cheese Puffs 

  • 8 ea slices white bread 
  • 2 cup milk 
  • 8 oz old English cheese slices 
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 3/4 tsp dry mustard 
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 3 ea eggs

May be prepared the day before. At least 4 hours before cooking, trim crusts and cut bread into 1″ squares. Cut cheese into bite size pieces. In large greased casserole, alternate layers of bread and cheese. Pour melted butter over top. 
Beat eggs well, stir in salt, pepper, mustard and milk. Combine thoroughly. Pour over casserole. Cover and refrigerate. One hour before serving, bake at 350 degrees, 30 minutes covered, then 30 minutes uncovered until top is golden and puffy.


Ham-Swiss Croissants 

  • 3 tbsp butter 
  • 3 cup mushrooms, sliced 
  • 3 tbsp green onion, sliced 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour 
  • 3/4 cup milk 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 4 lrg Croissants, halved 
  • 8 slc ham 
  • 6 oz Swiss cheese, sliced

Melt butter in saucepan. Saute mushrooms and onions until tender and mushroom liquid has evaporated. 
Blend in flour. Gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. 
On bottom half of each croissant layer 2 slices of ham, one quarter of the cheese and one quarter of the mushroom sauce; replace top of croissant. 
Bake in 350F oven about 15 min. or until heated throughly.


Sweet and Sour Meatballs 

  • 1 bag of frozen meatballs


  • 1/2 cup ketchup 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/3 cup vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce

Combine sauce ingredients. Pour over meatballs. 
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F. for 45 to 60 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through. Stir occasionally. 
Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately.

Sources: Kraft Foods, Food Network, Green Panda, Gourmet Recipes

Photo Credit: Zesmerelda

Parting Thoughts

Try and remember to keep the dinner party planning easy, classy,and affordable. The company and host make it memorable. Focus on the people and it’ll be a success.

What appetizers do you serve at your dinner party? What works and what doesn’t?