Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 23, 2012 06:56 AM

Instant parties

Yesterday moning, I received a phone call (at 6am) from DH stating that he had had a very bad night at work (he is an ER RN in a large hospital) and was wondering if we could host a happy hour for about a dozen of his co-workers. At 8:30. On a Sunday morning.

I did a quick mental checklist about what that meant to me (coffee, stat!) and of course said yes. I was able to pull it togther pretty well- we had some wine and beer (try not to judge- it was 8:30 PM to them!), some fruit , phylo cups and eggs, green onion (so I made mini-quiches) and we had cheese and crackers left over from God knows when.

But, it got me to thinking that we should really have some supplies on hand for spontaneous get-togethers, and I wondered what that might be. So, dear CHr's I am turning to you for suggestions for foods that 1) store well and 2) can be whipped up quickly for an 'instant party'.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Frozen toaster waffles, syrup, eggs for a frittata or 2, and a 12-cup coffee maker and ground coffee if you're considering breakfast. A Chinese carry-out menu, a carry-out sandwich menu, a frozen dip that can be quickly thawed and crackers if you're considering lunch of dinner.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ChiliDude

      i don't know too many chinese restaurants that are open at 8:00, but stuff like fried rice freezes very well. so do egg rolls. so does take-out pizza.

      agree about freezing quiches, muffins and quickbreads, a giant egg scramble can be made pretty quickly.

      they may not want breakfast, so meatballs in sauce can go in a pot to thaw/heat. lasagnes and ziti can be cooked in mimi-loaf pans, so will heat up well. i usually have small, cooked spanakopitas in the freezer and a whole pan will heat through in about 20 minutes. do you have a 24-hr store or deli with extended hours? you can run out for deli meats, sandwich breads and cold salads.

      i understand trader joe's has a good selection of frozen party food. keep a few boxes of those on-hand too.

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        If you noticed, I suggested the Chinese and sandwich menus for lunch and/or dinner. We have Chinese carry-out specials for lunch as well as dinner in our area.

      2. re: ChiliDude

        Adding to this idea
        Frozen blueberries and bananas for smoothies. Prepare and our into a pitcher.
        Bread for french toast. You can also prepare it and freeZe.
        Borekas freeze well. Can be filled with cheese, ground beef, Potato, spinach.

      3. Baked goods freeze well so if you envision more AM parties, maybe do some muffins, quick breads, even cookies? I've frozen quiches with success, you just need time to reheat in the oven. Even if I'd worked all night, I think I'd prefer a bloody mary to wine unless the bloody part stirs up bad work thoughts. Have vodka and champagne on hand; run out for mix and OJ.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tcamp

          Breakfast pizze (plural) can also be quickly prepared. This may freak some people out, but I often take leftover pizza out of the fridge in the morning and eat it without heating it.

        2. As long as you have frozen puff pastry or frozen pie crust, you're good to go for sweet or savory, with some pantry items. You could do quiche, pot pie for savory. You'd need eggs, boxed stock/broth, milk, cream, some type of protein. Rather than stocking up, I'd be more inclined to come onto CH and ask, "I have xxx, yyy, zzz, etc. and need to make breakfast/lunch/dinner in two hours. Help!" Creativity=great instant parties.

          1. thanks for the replies so far-I hope we don't have too many more morning parties! Or at least not ones I wasn't prepared for, at least mentally.

            I love the idea of having some pizza crusts in the freezer ready to go. We almost always have 'something' that could top it. (Just thinking that what I have in my pantry/fridge right now includes bacon, gorgonzola and figs...mmmm...). also like the idea of frozen dips. Does sour cream freeze ok? I am always leery of freezing dairy. I don't know why. Ice cream is frozen, and so is butter...

            Take out is always an option, but then people might feel obligated to 'pitch in' some cash since things were bought-and I don't want to get involved in that mess :).

            And chowser, I WISH I had thought of popping on CH for some ideas. When he works weekends that is my girls night out. So let's just say I wasn't thinking entirely clearly. LOL!

            Bloody mix is always on hand. Too bad we were out of vodka (see above) ;)

            1. Assuming that you always have a dozen eggs in the refrigerator, if you have hash browns in the freezer you can always make a fritatta, and if you have frozen pie crusts you can always make quiches out of anything, and both are good for whatever meal a person thinks it is. I second frozen waffles, also keep an extra pound of coffee on the shelf. And it should be recognized that you are a good, good partner to be so empathic to the instant needs of a frazzled ER team.