What do you usually do on New Year's Eve? For many, the night means battling crowds, buying an expensive dinner and then hitting the road. But if you're ready to try something different -- and less stressful -- this year, it is possible to have a great time in your own home.
Ed Levine, creator of the Web site Serious Eats, recently visited "Good Morning America" and explained how you can let the party come to you by inviting people over and serving them four-star treats.
Levine suggested going online to find the best New Year's Eve party food. With so many food-ordering sites on the Internet, you can get great deals. And don't worry about your order getting to your house on time.
"The great thing is that these are all perishables; they're all shipped in two days," Levine explained.
Orders placed today or tomorrow should be guaranteed to arrive by New Year's Eve. Procrastinators can order even later.
"You could probably order them Thursday for Saturday, for an additional charge," he said.
Here are Levine's top picks for New Year's Eve party food:
Crostini are little Italian open-faced pastry sandwiches. Instead of going all-out for a big dinner, why not have a classy appetizer party? Williams-Sonoma makes great crostini baked by Dufour Pastry Kitchens. It sells thousands of orders of these pass-arounds over the holidays. Buttery, festive and delicious, these appetizers are easy to heat. They're shipped frozen right to your door and all you have to do is pop them in the oven. They're a low-stress way to impress your guests. Buy them at williamsonoma.com.
Instead of the traditional cheese plate, have a fondue night. Try this option from Murray's Cheese Shop. It comes with an easy-to-make three-cheese fondue that you just heat on the stove and then serve. Fondue is something you can really mess up if you don't have the right blend of cheeses, so leave it to the experts and enjoy. The cheeses, including cave-aged Gruyere, cave-aged Emmenthaler and Hoch Ybrig, are carefully chosen by cheese specialist Rob Kaufelt, who flies around the world looking for great cheeses. Murray's even gives you the fondue pot and forks, along with detailed instructions. The set serves four. Buy it at murrayscheese.com.
If you really want to have that dinner party but still want to stay low key, try this all-American barbecue dinner. With Jack Stack's Big Taste of Kansas City Dinner for six, you can get some of the most famed barbecue in the country delivered right to your door. The dinner comes with pork roast, chopped barbecue brisket, barbecue sausage and a side order of beans. And an 18-ounce jar of Kansas City original barbecue sauce makes a great addition. The dinner arrives in a cardboard box with cooler. It comes frozen; you must thaw it for 24-hours before serving and then warm it in the oven (it comes with instructions). Pick up the dinner at jackstackbbq.com.
You have to have a toast at New Year's, and here's an inexpensive way to do it. Cava is a great sparkling wine from Spain. Fran's caramels with fleur de sel -- a fancy French salt -- are the perfect decadent sweet. They're salty, just sweet enough, and intensely chocolaty. They're a perfect compliment to the wine. Cava and chocolate keep the celebration simple but still extremely elegant. You can get Cava at bestcellars.com and Fran's chocolates at franschocolates.com.