Watermelon salad

Photo: Shauna Ahern

A Salad Where 2 Superstars Do All the Work for You
The world has finally discovered the amazing combination of sweet watermelon and tangy feta cheese—which is great news for anyone who wants to bring a homemade dish to a party but is not interested in spending hours over the stove. First, you shake up a basic vinaigrette in a jar to get all the ingredients evenly blended; then, you drizzle it over cubes of melon, tomato and feta. One more reason to love this simple salad: Its colors are gorgeous.

Get the recipe: Watermelon-Heirloom Tomato Salad
Crab Toast Canapes

Photo: Coral Von Zumwalt

The French-Sounding Bruschetta
We know "canapé" may sound a little fussy, but trust us: If you can make toast, you can make these. You simply mix crab meat (which you can buy in the fish department in most supermarkets) with olive oil, shallots, lemon, dill, salt and pepper; then, spoon it onto toasts. (And if you don't want to bother with toasting baguette slices, either buy them already toasted or just use sturdy crackers such as Triscuits.)

Get the recipe: Crab Toast Canapés

Photo: Jason Wyche

The Retro Appetizer That Will Elevate Any Cheese Tray
Cheese balls would not have stood the test of time if they were ridiculously difficult to make, as this Mexican-influenced take on the classic shows. Preparing it is a matter of chopping up some herbs, mixing them with cheese and beans, forming everything into a ball and refrigerating until party time.

Get the recipe: Mexican Black-Bean Ball

Photo: Christopher Testani

The Coleslaw from a Bag No One Ever Expected
Bagged coleslaw mix is a noncooking cook's best friend, but you can take the staple ingredient far beyond the typical mayonnaise dressing. This smart recipe uses Chinese five-spice powder, which is a blend of anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and ginger, to add a subtle, spicy-sweet note to the potluck classic.

Get the recipe: Red and Green Five-Spice Slaw
Cantaloupe balls

Photo: Kana Okada

The Fruity Snack You Serve with Cocktails
This refreshing one-bite appetizer is actually easier to make than fruit salad, since it only involves one fruit: cantaloupe. You scoop the melon into balls and sprinkle them with chopped mint, a pinch of sugar and freshly ground black pepper, which not only looks striking, but brings some depth of flavor and helps the fruit complement pre-dinner cocktails.

Get the recipe: Cantaloupe Balls
Grape-Nut Halves

Photo: Newzad/iStock/360/Thinkstock

The 3-Ingredient, Salty-Sweet Nibble
Grapes, walnuts and cheese are all you need to assemble these addictive snacks. Just be sure to use walnut halves that are intact (and not broken), since the nuts will form the bottom layer of each bite.

Get the recipe: Grape-Nut Halves