What do you serve people when you invite them over after dinner?
I have a new home. Lots of people want to come for a quick visit. Any ideas for food to have on hand?
Something that's simple and I know how to cook well. No point in being tied to a stove when you have visitors, and only you know what your capable of.
Cheese & crackers, fruit, a bowl of nuts or other salty snack like chips or pretzels, dessert of some sort such as cookies, cake, pie, or other pastries with coffee, flavored tea or other non alcoholic beverage. I wouldn't offer alcohol unless I knew if the guests actually drank. I also wouldn't go to the trouble of offering food if they are coming after dinner and staying for less than an hour. A drink should suffice.
at your nearest Asian grocer get Japanese rice crackers (the assorted kind with lots of seaweed bits) and make a big batch of what otherwise would have been chex-mix to just have around, using a bit of sesame oil with the butter, unusual enough to not seem thoughtless, yet easy enough to not seem trouble.
I have on hand: salsa & nacho chips; bruschetta topping and goat cheese; "crabbies" in the freezer; quick pizza on flat bread with fresh tomatoes in season; nuts; beer & wine.
I always have on hand the stuff to throw together a relish tray .
Pickled things okra carrots mushrooms
Veggies ESP radish, sugar snap, jicama, green onions
Pimento cheese or beer cheese and crackers
Sometimes shrimp (I live by the ocean) or a seafood dip
Cheese straws or bacon crackers
Hard boiled eggs make it easy to make some deviled eggs
Heck...you have the new home. Shouldn't they be bringing the food?
But...if it's after dinner, I'd have some kind of dessert-type foods. Cookies/brownies/etc. freeze well and thaw relatively quickly. You could also have cookie dough frozen in individual "balls" ready to bake (just add a minute or two to the cooking time).
Non-sweet, I like the assorted nuts idea. Cheese would also be OK and keeps well in the fridge.
For self-invited "quick visits" I'd offer up iced tea, and infused water. Wine would invite lingering. Therefore a cocktail assortment of nuts, cheese, and maybe a small fruit platter goes along the same line. All disposable serveware. Done. If YOU as the new homeowner decided to extend an invitation for dinner then that's another story.
I think the key for you is differentiating between an "quick visit" and dinner.
For quick visits I always have the following on hand:
Jarred roasted sweet peppers
Folks who stop by for a quick visit are typically thrilled if you're able to offer them something quick and tasty to eat. I store my nuts in the freezer and warm them in the oven for a few minutes on a sheet pan before putting them out. You can toss them w a bit of evoo or a flavoured evoo if you wish. I'm not a big fan of popcorn but I know lots of folks love it. I have a friend that keeps microwave popcorn in her pantry and tosses it w seasoned salts and a drizzle of melted butter if folks show up for a quick visit.
For dinner, I'd expect folks to plan ahead so I'd know they're coming. That said, over the years we've had impromptu dinners and typically they've been informal meals of a variety of antipasti/tapas type items that can be pulled together on a moments notice. For example, canned beans drained and tossed in a food processor w a little tahini or peanut butter, evoo, S&P, lemon juice/rind and some chopped garlic makes for a quick hummus. Puff pastry topped w freshly grated parmesan then cut into strips (twist if you wish) and baked off makes for quick and easy cheese straws.
As always, the quality of your ingredients makes all the difference.