My husband and I often want to play host when we have too much going on to spend hours in the kitchen. Our solution is a Friday night gathering. Because I have little or no time during the day to cook, I choose dishes that are quick to prepare with ingredients that I can easily pick up at the supermarket, including sweet and briny steamed mussels and a hearty sausage pasta. And instead of baking a lavish dessert, I’ll put out cheeses paired with something sweet. Such dishes can taste just as good as the ones you work on all day (and often even better, because you’re not sick of tinkering with them by the time you sit down to eat). The result is the best of all worlds: a great dinner that doesn’t break your back, and friends who arrive happy, simply because you’ve saved them from having to cook.