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Holiday party foods that are easy to make

December 6, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Anyone who put a Thanksgiving meal together will tell you it was a lot of fun but a lot of work. This year, how about easing up on the prep? Here are some great market goodies that provide a sassy spread in a snap.

First up: Slice some seeded French bread and top with Trader Joe's bruschetta, made of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and basil. This topping is good on almost anything savory.

You can get pot stickers, or "gyozas," at most markets. You will look like a star with pre-browned shrimp goyza. They are easy to microwave, then drizzle with a bit of reduced-sodium soy. It's great finger food to just pop in the mouth.

Give this job to the kids: Make an easy-to-assemble appetizer out of mozzarella balls wrapped in prosciutto and artichoke hearts secured with a toothpick. It's a tasty Italian treat.

In addition, set out an assortment of flavored goat cheeses with crazy crackers, like Leslie Stowe's Raincoast Crisps that are super crunchy yet have a variety of nut, seed, and dried fruit in the mix that go well with cheese and other dips.

Pistachios in shells keep nut lovers from overeating, while Marcona almonds in rosemary and sea salt offers a flavor that satisfies in small doses.

Rather than the traditional ranch dressing for veggies, go with Goddess. Either Annie's Green Goddess or Trader Joe's Goddess dressing imparts a tangy yet creamy Asian taste sensation.

While shrimp cocktail is a party favorite, why not thaw some cooked shrimp and try a different dip? Spicy red curry in lieu of cocktail sauce is a sassy spice sensation.

Finally, don't bake it, fake it. Almost all the grocery stores have mini cupcakes that will save you time and your guests some calories.

Foods used in this story:

TRADER JOE'S

  • Bruschetta: tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil
  • Spicy Thai Red Curry Sauce
  • Pre-browned shrimp goyzas (in the frozen section)
  • Marcona almonds with rosemary and sea salt
  • Goddess dressing
  • Mozzarella balls
  • Mini cupcakes
  • Long-seeded French loaf
RALPHS
  • Jar of marinated artichoke hearts
  • Prosciutto
  • Pistachios in shells
  • Snow peas for dipping
  • Frozen cooked shrimp
BRISTOL FARMS
  • Leslie Stowe's Raincoast Crisps

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