What to Buy for a Last Minute New Year’s Eve Dinner

Happy New Year! New Year’s Eve is the time to party and indulge in all the stuff that we’re going to try and give up starting the next day when our New Year’s resolutions kick in. It’s a time when beer bros and wine moms think they have an excuse to go out and get sloppier than they’ve ever been in their lives. It’s the night when service workers prepare to stare down the face of hell so they can make decent tips. For all of these reasons, New Year’s Eve is the perfect night to stay at home for a fun get together with friends. But if you’re going to play host to an intimate evening gathering, you’re going to need some food and beverages. Drinks are easy. Just throw out a couple of boxes of wine and let people go to town. But what are people going to snack on and do you need to set out a main? I’m here to tell you exactly what to buy for New Year’s Eve dinner.

Authentic Seafood of Patagonia Latitude 45 Atlantic Salmon

Sure, you could just throw out some cocktail wieners and call it an evening. But you want to make this a classy affair. And nothing says classy like smoked Atlantic salmon. Smoked salmon is a great, versatile snack that people can just eat by itself or throw it onto a cracker or toast and personalize. This Atlantic salmon from Patagonia is the best prepackaged smoked salmon you can buy from the grocery store. This one peels off nicely into individual slices rather than turning mushy, like so many other smoked salmon brands. And no, it’s not made by the outdoor apparel company, Patagonia. The Patagonia in the title refers to Patagonia, the geographical region from which the salmon hails. Still, try to avoid wearing a Patagonia shirt when you eat Patagonia salmon. It’s a little like wearing the band’s t-shirt to the concert.

Kirkland Signature Shrimp Cocktail

When I think shrimp, I think Costco. For those of you who are not initiated into the cult of Costco, Kirkland is the Costco signature store brand and it’s famous for having high-quality goods and great prices. There’s a lot of grocery store shrimp cocktail platters out there. But with over a pound of quality shrimp and a cup of cocktail sauce (plus a couple of lemon wedges) for $15, the Kirkland Signature Shrimp Cocktail is our runaway favorite. Set these out with the salmon for a nice seafood theme for the start of your New Year’s Eve meal. A shrimp cocktail platter gives you the latitude to either set them on the table as part of a multi-course meal, or have them out for people to graze on throughout the party.

Party Size Mini Meatballs 

Meatballs are almost a perfect food. You’ve got some meat, and it’s shaped like a ball. What’s not to love? The only way to make them better is to shrink them to party size! These frozen meatballs are one of the best frozen appetizers you can get from Trader Joe’s. You can serve them by themselves. Or you can dress them up with a sauce and get all fancy. Whether these meatballs are served naked, Italian style in a tomato sauce, or glazed with sweet chili sauce, they’re going to be a hit with your guests.

Organic Caesar Salad Kit

While you’re at Trader Joe’s, pick up this organic caesar salad kit. There’s several proteins at this party and people are going to want some greens. This is one of the top salad kits at Trader Joe’s. Sure, there are fancier options, but the classic caesar salad is a real people pleaser. Don’t be tempted to get any of the other caesar salad kits in the store. If you want the creamiest dressing imaginable, this is the one to buy. Help everyone at the party to get a jump on their New Year’s resolutions and serve them a tasty salad. But it’s also a party, so that salad needs a creamy dressing, croutons, and lots of cheese.

Giovanni Rana Meat Lasagna

There’s nothing worse than going to a party expecting there to be food and then you show up and it’s just a bunch of appetizers. I specifically avoided eating beforehand and now you’re telling me I’m having tiny slices of cheese for dinner? Avoid this party pitfall by serving at least one main course. When it comes to main courses, nothing is tastier and easier than our favorite frozen lasagna, Giovanni Rana Meat Lasagna. Plus, it’s fun to say. It uses real ricotta cheese, mascarpone, fontina, and a cheese sauce. That’s a lot of cheese. It even looks like a homemade lasagna, so you don’t have to let people know it came from the store if you don’t want to. It’ll be our secret. I may blackmail you, though.

Raspberry Cheesecake Talenti Gelato 

Save the ice cream for a kid’s birthday party. This is a New Year’s Eve party for adults and that means gelato! You get two desserts in one with this raspberry cheesecake flavored gelato from Talenti. Talenti is known for having the most reliable gelatos in the supermarket freezer section and this one was our favorite. Try not to get a brain freeze as you wolf down this desert while the fireworks go off and the countdown begins. If you have any left over after midnight, it’s the perfect and tastiest way to ring in the new year.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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