Anytime you’re planning a party, there is a long to-do list. Taking care of some of the cooking ahead of time with make-ahead party recipes can reduce your stress and allow you to enjoy getting ready for your party. Preparing some party recipes earlier in the day or week can also save you money, as you will not be buying prepared foods. Most of these recipes are easy, and some can even be made well in advance, frozen and prepared just in time for the party.
For an easy make-ahead party dip, combine one 8 oz. package of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup frozen, thawed and chopped spinach and one can of artichoke hearts, chopped. Add garlic, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together well and place in a casserole dish. Top with 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve with purchased chips, breadsticks or vegetables. You can make this ahead and freeze before baking, or keep it in the fridge before baking for up to 3 days. Cold dips of any sort can also be made in advance.
Serve easy and rich mini quiches for a brunch or cocktail party. Cut rounds of purchased pie dough and place into a greased muffin pan. Add a small amount of meat or vegetables of your choice into each muffin cup. Combine 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup milk, 4 eggs and 8 to 12 oz. of grated cheese along with salt and pepper to taste. Pour this mixture into each muffin cup. Bake at 350 degrees until puffed and golden. Allow to cool and freeze. Thaw and warm for approximately 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven before serving.
Make and freeze cookie dough in individual, cookie-sized scoops for fresh cookies at your party. Cheesecakes often serve best if chilled for 24 hours so are an excellent choice for a make-ahead party recipe. For an old fashioned and easy make-ahead desert, combine plain chocolate wafers with fresh, homemade whipped cream. Layer the wafers and whipped cream, creating a cake shape that will stripe attractively when cut. Ice your zebra cake with more whipped cream, and accent with delicate chocolate curls. Make this great party dessert at least 24 hours before serving.