Not a big cook but still want to throw a dinner party? Serve soup -- it'll be a cinch! It's easy to whip up a few pots: broccoli and cheese, chicken noodle, minestrone, just to name a few. Throw in something more adventurous, too, like beef borscht, crab bisque or tortilla soup. You can also make a few variations on one soup: think chili with and without beans and white chili. And while it's great if everything is homemade, you can certainly mix in some store-bought creations.
Fill in the dinner with salad, a few bread choices and a simple dessert (fruit crisps can be baked in advance and served warm or room temp). Foster the cozy ambience with a fire, if you have a fireplace, or dim the lights and use lots of candles. Not surprisingly, this type of dinner party works best in the fall and winter months, and because of its intimate nature, it's also better to have a smaller group of guests.