That makes it a challenge to entertain.
But The Early Show's resident chef, Bobby Flay, says that with the right essentials in your pantry, it's easy to whip up delicious treats for impromptu company.
FLAY'S PANTRY LIST:
1. Canned black beans and chickpeas
2. Roasted red peppers
3. Sundried tomatoes
5. Assortment of cheeses
6. Black olives
7. Onions -- red and white
9. Assortment of nuts
10. Spices (cumin, coriander, chili power, and cayenne pepper)
13. Fresh herbs
Flay says having these in easy reach will make it easy for you to prepare little finger snacks, perfect for a tree-trimming party or for friends who've dropped by with some holiday cheer.
Hot Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce
Blue Cheese Sauce
2 1/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 pound crumbled blue cheese, plus 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 bag potato chips fried in peanut oil (such as Cape Cod)
1. Place the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
2. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, and continue whisking until thickened, season with the salt and cayenne pepper. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the 1/2 pound cheese. If the sauce is too thick, thin with a little extra milk. Transfer to a bowl and top with the remaining blue cheese and chives.
Oven-Baked Flatbread with White Bean Hummus, Caramelized Onions, Black Olives & Spanish White Anchovies
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 large Spanish onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sugar and cook slowly until deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme.
White Bean Hummus
1 15.5 ounce can white beans, drained, rinsed and drained again
6 cloves roasted garlic
1 tablespoon harissa or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Place beans garlic, harissa, lemon juice and tahini in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
1 prepared pizza shell, such as Boboli
Nicoise olives, pitted and halved
Spanish white anchovies
Fresh thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place the bread on a baking sheet or pizza stone and bake until warm and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Spread bread with some of the hummus, then top with the caramelized onions, olives and anchovies. Garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
1 head garlic, cloves separated, skin left on
1 pound raw Spanish peanuts, with skins
3 hot dried chiles
Heat the oil in a large high sided over medium-high heat until it begins to ripple. Add the garlic cloves and chiles and cook for 2 minutes, turning once. Add the peanuts and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes until the peanuts are golden brown. Season with salt.
Hard Cooked Eggs with Tapanade
1 dozen large eggs
1 jar best quality black olive tapanade
3 sundried tomatoes in oil, finely diced
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Parsley leafs, for garnish
1. Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain the eggs, cover with cold water and let sit for 5 minute.
2. Mix together the tapanade, tomatoes and chopped parsley in a medium bowl until combines.
3. Peel the eggs and slice in half lengthwise. Place the halves on a large plate and top each half with a teaspoon of the tapanade. Garnish with parsley leaf.