From Niceville, Florida, Diane Hixon shares a tasty topper for tortilla chips. Chili powder and sassy salsa season a zesty mixture of ground beef and refried beans that's sprinkled with green onions, tomatoes and ripe olives.
For a tropical taste guests are sure to find delightful, serve this crunchy coconut-coated shrimp with a sweet sauce. “This is an impressive appetizer or can be served as a main course,” says Debbi Barate of Seward, Pennsylvania. “For another easy dipping sauce, combine a favorite jam with some crushed red pepper flakes.”
Starting with packaged cheese cubes hurries along this lovely display. But trim your grocery bill by buying blocks of cheese and cutting them yourself, and trim time by using plain walnut or pecan halves instead of making the Candied Walnuts. Cost: $38.16
We stacked 12-inch, 10-inch and 8-inch cake plates to create this tiered display.
Four kinds of meat, two kinds of spread and an assortment of breads add up to dozens of delicious sandwiches guests can assemble themselves. Cost: $66.81
TIP: To serve 24, we suggest buying a package each of plain and whole wheat mini bagels, plus one loaf sourdough bread and one French baguette. But mini bagels, mini croissants, dinner rolls and cocktail rye are shown in the photo.
In no time at all, you can put together this colorful platter of crisp vegetables. Instead of typical veggie dip, serve a trio of salad dressings in dishes of varying heights for added interest. Cost: $29.04
The salad dressings shown here are green goddess, French and honey mustard.
I first made this fresh, fruity salsa for a family baby shower. Everyone wanted the recipe. Now, someone makes this juicy snack for just about every family gathering—and I have to keep reminding everyone who introduced it! —Jessica Robinson, Indian Trail, North Carolina
"We’re a family that loves snacks," explains Judy Armstrong of Prairieville, Louisiana, "and I combined some of our favorite ingredients in this fast, easy and delicious recipe. Great for entertaining, it can be prepared ahead of time and browned just before guests arrive. It’s quickly doubled for a crowd and extra special with marinara sauce."