Anything big made small is always fun for cocktail parties, and these quick, one-bite mac and cheeses are the ultimate example. Cooked in mini muffin pans, the mini macs can be assembled early and baked just as guests arrive.
For Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm, make-ahead recipes are key for holiday entertaining. The night before the party, Jamie spreads a creamy chive-flecked smoked salmon mixture (based on a béchamel, or white sauce, often used in a classic croque-monsieur) between cocktail-size slices of bread. He cooks the sandwiches right before guests arrive. Alison serves the sandwiches with small, disposable wooden forks so guests can keep their hands grease-free.
Salads usually require forks, here the classic Caesar is transformed into a clever finger food. Toss chopped endives with a lemony dressing, then spoon the mixture inside elegant endive spears, topping it with cheese and crunchy mini croutons.
These rolls, which are a delightful play on the traditional lobster roll, are quite substantial, so one per person is plenty, especially if you're serving additional hors d'oeuvres. Cooked shrimp or lump crab is a fine alternative to lobster.