As a caterer, I know that following a food preparation timeline is crucial. I always make lists of what can be prepped in advance and what needs to be done at the last minute. With that essential planning, I can easily pull off a party for 400 in a handful of days. But when entertaining at home, I’m hopeless. Dinner for six at 7 p.m. finds me shopping at 4. I’m not sure if being hyper-organized professionally has left me with a casual attitude about home cooking, but it seems that way. There’s never enough time in a day, and this is especially true as the holidays approach.
So that’s why, around this time of year, I turn to my arsenal of make-and- freeze hors d’oeuvres. The three recipes I’m offering here (Bacon, Leek & Cheddar Mini Quiches, Pork Dumplings, and Spinach, Feta & Sun-Dried Tomato Phyllo Triangles) pair an easy-to-use prepared dough—frozen puff pastry, phyllo dough, or wonton wrappers—with a rich and savory filling. You can assemble and cook them right away, but the great thing is that you can freeze them uncooked for future use; just pull them out and cook them before your guests arrive. With these little appetizers waiting in your freezer, you can avoid any last-minute scrambling and impress your company at the same time.