Good friends and good food add up to a relaxing party.

No-Fuss Get-Together
If you can open a jar, you can arrange this Simple Antipasto Platter.
| Credit: William Dickey / Styling Rose Nguyen

Invite a few friends over for a bite to eat, and feel the stress of the workweek melt away. Keep it simple, and take the party outside; light up the chiminea, and savor the cool, crisp air.

Offer guests easy-to-make Layered Spicy Black Bean Dip or Simple Antipasto Platter, both with prep times of 10 minutes or less. Try one of the chip and vegetable dips that start with a package of Ranch dressing mix and combine diverse ingredients for any taste.

Continue the casual theme by offering an assortment of icy drinks, or cut costs and have everyone bring a six-pack of their favorite beverage to share. To keep the gathering laid-back, divide up the recipes, and purchase wrapped chocolate candies from your local supermarket to nibble on for a sweet ending. Without a lot of fuss, you and your guests can unwind and relax into the evening.


"No-Fuss Get-together" is from the September 2006 issue of Southern Living.