Got a party coming up? A Super Bowl party perhaps?? Get your ass to Trader Joe's!
Everyone knows TJ's has tons of delicious and affordable snack options. But maybe you didn't know how to put them all together to make something special.
Here are some of my ideas for party snacks that are put together entirely from products found at Trader Joe's -- and how to jazz them up so they look like you created them yourself.
Arancini Bites with Tomato Basil Marinara: These are essentially fried risotto balls (balls are totally in right now) but arancini sounds much classier. You'll find them in the frozen foods section. This one is so easy all you do is follow the directions on the box to heat these babies up and serve with some warmed Tomato Basil Marinara. Sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese (use real Parm and grate it yourself please!) and a little chopped basil over the top of the balls before you serve.
Flat Bread Pizzas with Black Truffle Oil: These might be too "delicate" for a SB party but for a girls' dinner - they'll rock everyone's faces off. Bake the pizzas at 450 for 10 minutes, then drizzle a small amount of truffle oil* over the top of the pizzas and sprinkle with ground black pepper and herbs like dried thyme or parsley. Cut into small-ish triangles or squares and serve on a platter with grapes or dressed greens.
*This isn't legit truffle oil. It's oil with truffle "aroma." But it still tastes great and is only $5 a bottle. I put mine in a Misto and spray it lightly over the pizzas.
Sea Salt & Pepper Rice Crisps and Tuscan White Bean Hummus: This is a great grab and go option. Really yummy (rice crisps are ADDICTIVE!) but also gluten free and relatively healthy. If you are feeling really industrious, scoop the hummus into your own dish and top with some olive oil, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts.
Mini-Chicken Taco Nachos: Cook a package of Mini Chicken Tacos (also found in the frozen foods section) according to the box. When still hot from the oven sprinkle with Shredded Mexican Cheese. Arrange in a circle on a plate/platter around a scoop of sour cream and/or guac, some Salsa Autentica and shredded lettuce.
Quick Antipasto: This one is always a hit. Everyone likes meats and cheeses. TJ's has two versions of their Gourmet Deli Selections (basically a combo pack of gourmet sliced meats): an Italian selection (prosciutto, Calabrese salame and Capocollo) and a Spanish selection (Salame, Jamón Serrano, and Chorizo). Serve on a platter with a hunk of Gorgonzola or Manchego Cheese, some Kalamata olives and a bag of Marcona Almonds and you're a hero.
I don't get into baking desserts for parties so I like stuff you can grab, dump in a dish and put around the room for people to snack on. These are some of my favorites:
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Dark Chocolate Covered Almond Bits and Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Slims: Yes, I like dark chocolate.
I just gave away all my secrets! Give me some of yours in the comments!