Don't tell my friends, at least not the ones from last Saturday, but bruschetta has to be the easiest, least costly way to start an event that I know. Use whatever you have for toppings. That's hummus on the left – homemade from an Ina Garten recipe, but store bought is good too. You can even use stale bread (I didn't). Who would know once it's toasted?!
Two brilliant ideas from my stepdaughter upped the game. We steeped 1/2 a cup olive oil with a few rosemary sprigs and a couple garlic cloves for the bread. Then she toasted the slices on the grill. Good for croutons too!
Chopped tomatoes, basil, a drizzle of oil, salt & pepper
Olive oil for the pan, 3-4 chopped shallots, optional chopped garlic clove, sliced or chopped mushrooms, salt & pepper, shaved Parmesan & chives. Soften the shallots over medium heat first. Cook the mushrooms until liquid disappears. Assemble.
**note: I use cayenne instead of hot sauce and halve the recipe unless it's a big crowd of hummus eaters.