We all know that the holidays can bring moments of joy, but they can also bring moments of stress. We at Talk of the Town are experts at creating events that give our clients years of happy memories even though the details can mean a lot of work.

Say goodbye to having to think about what you’ll serve! Here we have the easiest keep-on-hand appetizer and marinade ideas that will make it look like you worked all week on the meal, but are so stress-free that you’ll actually enjoy preparing them.

Have two to three go-to appetizers on-hand.

Whether you will be hosting a holiday event, have family staying with you, have been asked to bring an appetizer to a party, or have friends drop by last minute, it is always ideal to have a few go-to easy appetizers on-hand so you never have to stress about what to serve! Here are three we always recommend.

  • 4Shrimp Cocktail: Simply keep a bag of frozen, pre-cooked, deveined shrimp in your freezer and a jar of cocktail sauce in the fridge. Serve on a plate or in martini glasses and garnish with lemon. Prep time: 10 minutes to thaw shrimp in running water.
  • Elevated Cheese Plate: It’s easy to dress this classic up to make it more elegant!  Keep a loaf of baguette in the freezer for slicing. And, keep three cheeses on hand in the fridge – a block of cheddar, a small log of goat cheese and one semi-soft cheese like Gouda. Simply arrange on a platter with fruit and crackers. For an extra wow, purchase a jar of pepper or fig preserves to serve alongside or on top of the cheese. Drizzled honey on the goat cheese is guaranteed to impress! You can also add a bowl of nuts and/or olives.
  • 1Salmon Canapés that Impress! Smoked salmon keeps a long time in the fridge and freezer, so grab a couple of packages and a container of whipped cream cheese. Simply spread cream cheese on sliced baguettes or crackers or even sliced cucumber, top with a twist of salmon and garnish with lemon and/or dill.

Make Marinades Your Friend!

Decided to throw a last-minute dinner for friends? Forget to order the ham? Or, your in-laws decided to come for dinner after all? No worries! With these three easy marinades, you can take some pork tenderloin, chicken or fish out of the freezer and whip up a meal that makes you look like you planned for this dinner all week! These are based on 4-6 servings, so adjust up for more.

  • Easy Chicken Marinade: 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup oil (canola or olive), 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup vinegar (apple cider, red wine or balsamic). Marinate chicken in this mixture for 4 hours or overnight and grill or bake.
  • Easy Pork Tenderloin Marinade: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 clove minced garlic, 3 TBS dijon mustard, 2 TBS Honey, Salt and Pepper. Marinate for 1-4 hours and bake.
  • Easy Salmon Marinade: 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup water, garlic powder, lemon pepper, salt and pepper. Marinate salmon for 2-4 hours. Grill or bake.


We wish you the happiest of holidays and a Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!