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The Best Ways to Serve Store-Bought Snacks

hummus recipesHosting a get-together? There’s no need to make everything yourself. The key is knowing what to buy and how to serve it. From Skinnygirl Cocktails: 100 Fun & Flirty Guilt-Free Recipes.

I like to choose foods that people can easily serve themselves and that don’t go bad if they get cold.

Healthy finger foods like edamame, spiced nuts, wasabi peas, and sliced-up vegetables are perfect go-tos for any theme. Dumplings or the yummy empanadas from Trader Joe’s are great, too. It’s nice to put your own twist on things, so instead of serving plain hummus, doctor it up with some herbs or spices. My line of Skinnygirl hummus comes in a variety of flavors like Roasted Red Pepper and Cilantro Jalapeño, so all you need to do is add a garnish and you have a perfect party dip. Or put out sushi on a nice platter and serve it with a dipping sauce that you’ve floated sesame seeds on. Make your own version of mixed nuts and add some herbs or spices to give them a little extra punch.

One of my favorite things to do is to make a big antipasto platter: Put olives and a few different marinated veggies in ramekins or other small bowls. (You can buy these inexpensively at IKEA.) Lay out the ramekins with a selection of meats and cheeses on a nice cutting board—it ends up looking really gourmet.

Whatever you do, the most important rule is never to serve anything in the bag or jar that it came in. Even if you’re not doctoring up something, take a minute to put what you’ve bought on pretty plates or in good bowls that fit the theme. Even microwave popcorn can look gourmet if it’s in a fancy bowl. If I’m pressed for time, I’ll quickly pop some Skinnygirl popcorn in my favorite Lime and Salt flavor (yum!) and put it in a festive bowl before my guests walk through the door. If you take the time to make food look nice, no one will ever notice or care that it came from the supermarket.

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