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Quick, Easy + Inexpensive Party Dishes

August 1, 2010

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During the summer season when it seems that there are barbecues, pool parties and other festive get-togethers almost every weekend, the last thing I want to do is arrive empty handed.

At the same time, the second-to-last thing I want to do is spend a lot of money and time preparing my dish. Below are two fabulous dishes (one salty, one sweet) that I’ve brought to recent get-togethers. Not only are these both delicious ideas, but they also require minimal ingredients and the preparation is quick, easy and inexpensive.

Bon appetit!

Pretzel & Chocolate Delight

Best for: If you have a large platter, if you want to bring something with a beautiful and unique presentation, if you know your company has a sweet tooth or if you have time the evening before the party to prepare.

All you need:

All you need to do:

Heat oven to 350 F. Remove wrappers from Hershey HUGS chocolates. (Unwrapping the HUGS is the most time consuming part.) Put the peanut butter M&Ms you want to use aside in a bowl. This is when you should decide what color scheme you want to use, depending on the occasion. I typically use all colors. However, for 4th of July, I only used red and blue.


Place pretzels on an ungreased cookie sheet. Place 1 unwrapped HUGS on top of each pretzel.

HUGS on the cooking sheet

Bake 2 to 3 minutes or until the chocolate is soft, but not melted.

Remove from oven. Gently press the M&Ms on top of HUGS. Refrigerate for a few hours for best results.

Final Creation

Place the treats on a platter (mine is from Target), wrap in cellophane and refrigerate.

For this dish, I have found that a peanut butter M&M tastes best with the pretzel and Hershey HUGS, but depending on the scenario, you may want to add pastel M&Ms, or Reese’s Pieces.

Parmesan Flatties (alternatively called Flatout Baked Dippers)

Best for: If you have a festive bowl and plate, if you want to bring an appetizer, if you are attending a BBQ/outdoor party or if you are in a major time crunch.

All you need:

All you need to do:

Heat oven to 350 F. Cut each Flatout into 16 wedges. Place wedges on a nonstick cookie sheet and coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese evenly over wedges. Bake at 350 F for 9 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.

Serve with a bowl of dip. Hummus (pictured below) tastes great with Parmesan Flatties. Definitely serve your Flatties and dip together on a fun or festive bowl and plate.

Flatout Flatties


We’d love to hear your fresh perspective!

  • What do you bring to get-togethers when your are strapped for time and cash?
  • What’s your favorite appetizer frequently served at summer get-togethers?
  • What’s the most rewarding part about preparing a tasty and fun dish for a party?

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