Simple Food Ideas for Entertaining on a Whim

Entertaining is something in my blood – I come from a big family and we’re always having people over for one reason or another. It’s something I love doing in my apartment, but busy lives and NYC logistics sometimes makes it tricky to get a few simple dishes ready for when company is expected – or even not so expected…

If you don’t have a ton of time and you’re expecting guests, keep things simple. When I was in culinary school, I would try impressing guests with all my new skills and would end up spending the whole time making croquettes while everyone else was enjoying themselves. Now, I would much rather enjoy spending time with my friends and loved ones – so I’ve come up with a little system for no-stress entertaining.

I’ve separated everything into 2 categories: 1. Bites – for when people are just stopping by and just need a small refreshment. 2. Snacks – for when you’re not serving a meal, but you’d like people to have a few options that are something easy to whip up and likely to please everyone.


  • Homemade popcorn: this is my go-to. It’s super quick and you can get creative by spicing it differently – curry popcorn is a household staple!
  • Fresh baguette: there is a beautiful bakery near my apartment that has amazing homemade breads – I usually pick up a baguette or spiga loaf if I know people are on their way. The spiga is nice because you don’t even have to chop it up, you can just tear it. Serve with olive oil and a few spices – I always love how thyme, chili flakes, and pepper look together – don’t forget a dash of salt!
  • Grapes: delicious, pretty, and perfect for when you need a few bites. They also aren’t as messy as berries when you’re eating with your hands!
  • Almonds: although roasted nuts are a great snack, if you’re short on time, raw almonds are yummy as is – just toss in a bowl .


  • Guacamole with tortilla chips: there are tons of ways to make guac, but if you’re in a rush, avocado, red onion, lime and salt are all you really need – if you can get some red pepper or jalapeno in there, you’re a champ.
  • Hummus with carrot sticks: With a food processor – homemade hummus takes 5 minutes. It totally tastes better than store bought, so your guests will love it and think you’re rockstar. Here is my recipe  with my favorite secret ingredient. Serve with baby carrots or whatever crackers/bread/veggies you might have on hand.
  • Kale chips: these don’t take a ton of time – just rinse the kale, cover in olive oil, give it a bit of salt, and toss in the oven.
  • Almond butter rice crisp treats: This is a recipe by the lovely Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows and it takes 10 minutes to whip up. These are sure to be a hit no matter what kind of party/get together/not actually even hanging out with anyone just wanted them night you end up having!

Having a few go-to’s definitely makes it easier to host and not spend your whole time in the kitchen. These are just a few of my favorites, but I’m always looking for more – if you have any special go-to’s, we’d love to hear! Share your favs with us here.