For NYE, I threw a last minute insta-party, and it went like this:
(Good friends and a moderately big apartment help, btw. I don't take either of those things for granted, even if it seems that way when I stick them in parentheses).
Stuffed Mushrooms (see Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"): they are very easy and very delicious and make use of pantry staples like bread crumbs, olive oil and grated parmigianno reggiano, which I keep in my freezer.
Stuffed Dates: slice open a date, stuff in a little blue cheese, pop a roasted almond on top. Repeat.
Pigs in Blankets: Mini Applegate Farms cocktail franks, a little biscuit dough, some good mustard.
Use what you have: I had a box of red velvet cake mix thanks to CC, so I bought cream cheese frosting ingredients and got to work the night before the party. I also had lots of leftover Rice Krispies and marshmallows from the Avant Garde Restaurant, so I made rice krispie treats.
Invite a chef: John is an amazing chef and generous to boot, so that meant beautiful creme caramel, a savory cheesecake that I'll call a "sformata," a white bean dip and chocolate truffles. I mean, hot damn.
Invite friends to bring stuff: You might get a cheese plate from Saxelby's, homemade deviled eggs, tons of good champagne, homemade pickled beets and homemade BBQ sauce. Hypothetically speaking.
And voila. Add a TV for watching the ball drop, and heat (my boiler punked out the next day) and you're all set.