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9 Things You Need from Trader Joe’s for Your Holiday Party

What's the ultimate goal for holiday entertaining? Throwing a party that will knock everyone's socks off—and having a chance to enjoy it yourself.

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Indianapolis - Circa September 2016: Trader Joe's Retail Strip Mall Location. Trader Joe's is a chain of specialty grocery stores in the U.S. I; Shutterstock ID 485085724; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHtrader joes

The secret to hosting a successful party is serving homemade food (like make-ahead appetizers) plus a handful of things from Trader Joe’s. Thanks to the fancy snacks at super-low prices, you’ll wow your guests, and might have enough money left over to treat yourself to a post-party pedicure.

I’m a baker more than a cook, so I like to show off my homemade sweets and supplement with store-bought savory items.

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Savory Thin Mini Crackers

You might think of crackers as a delivery system for cheese, but Trader Joe’s Thin Mini Crackers add something extra. They have a subtle hint of tamari flavor that balances out the richness of cheese. Plus, there are only 130 calories in 37 crackers. You know what that means? More cheese!

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Double Crème Brie

A must-have for every party is a cheese plate and a must-have for every cheese plate is really good brie. Double Crème Brie with Truffles is a piece of double-crème decadence. Here’s the trick to building a best-ever cheese plate.

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Carrot Cake Spread

Bake up some muffins or quick bread, and serve with fresh apple slices and Trader Joe’s Carrot Cake Spread. Yep—it’s carrot cake in a jar. It has a warm, spicy flavor, plus a beautiful color.

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Roasted and Salted Marcona Almonds

Sometimes, the simplest things are the most irresistible. TJ’s Roasted and Salted Marcona Almonds with Rosemary are simply delicious. You might want to buy a few bags of these, if you want them to last until the guests actually arrive.

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Asian dumplings Gyozas potstickers fried on cast-iron pan, served with chopsticks and bowl of soy sesame sauce over black texture background. Top view, space.; Shutterstock ID 1033944190; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHShutterstock / Natasha Breen

Gyoza Potstickers

Gyoza potstickers are a must-have finger food. The dumplings are just unusual enough to say “party food” but not so strange that they’ll scare unadventurous eaters. They come in pork, chicken or vegetable and are super-easy to make. Pair them with dipping sauce and small dishes of Asian-inspired coleslaw.

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Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Warning: Serve Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese and your guests may never leave! It is the most comforting of comfort foods and is still a bit elegant. (You can also make a copycat version at home if frozen food isn’t your thing.)

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Spiced Cider

But what about beverages? Trader Joe’s spiced cider will make your guests think you’ve spent all day concocting the perfect mulling spice mix. Keep it warm in a slow cooker and your whole house will smell like the holidays.

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Charles Shaw Wine

You have to pick up some “Three Buck Chuck” for guests! Charles Shaw wines are available in a range of white, red and rosé—plus a line of organics. You can make every palate happy without breaking the bank. I’ll drink to that!

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Frozen Macarons

I know I said I don’t mix store-bought cookies with my homemade baked goods. But Trader Joe’s Frozen Macarons are the exception to the rule. Making macarons is not for the faint of heart and these melt-in-your-mouth sweets might make you wonder why you even tried.

Ready for a challenge? Bake our macaron recipe after your party.

Cathryn Jakicic
Cathy Jakicic has written about everything from business and bacteria to beads and baking in her career —but she greatly prefers the last two. She is a baker and a crafter and loves to try new recipes for both.
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