Make Ahead Appetizers

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Anyone who's hosted a dinner party knows the task can be overwhelming. Make appetizers ahead and save yourself a little time and stress the day of your event.

Cheese and Crackers

Alfredo Tisi/Demand Media

Cheese and crackers claim top spot for a classic and easy, make-ahead starter. Cheddar, fontina, brie--the sky's the limit. For a bolder statement, roll a log of goat cheese in chopped nuts and herbs or wrap a wheel of brie in pastry dough and bake until gooey in the center. Serve with oat cakes, Melba toast or Ritz crackers. Grapes or apple slices add a nice touch to the presentation.

Spreads and Breads

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Make a bruchetta with chopped tomatoes, fresh basil and olive oil. Pesto made with basil or cilantro, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts also impresses as a spread. Hummus tastes delicious, yet you only need cooked garbanzo beans, olive oil and lemon juice to make a basic version. These spreads can be made ahead, refrigerated up to a few days and served with crusty bread or veggies.

Shrimp and Sauce

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Pull cooked shrimp out of the freezer the night before your party. Serve thawed shrimp with lemon slices and cocktail sauce for a simple, yet delicious treat for you and your guests.