Turn your quiet evening into an instant party with a few simple
ingredients.

My Favorite hurry-up snacks:


Pop a bag of plain microwave popcorn, spray on a little olive oil, and
sprinkle with Parmesan and oregano for a pizza-flavored popcorn snack.
For a sweet treat, spray with light olive oil and shake on some sugar
and cinnamon.

Make a quick fruit dip. Add 1 tablespoon maple syrup or brown sugar to
1 cup of low-fat sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt. Adjust to taste.
Serve with sliced apples, pears, and grapes.
Add club soda to fruit juice or wine for a homemade spritzer. Serve
with a slice of lemon, lime, or orange.

Blend canned cannellini or other white beans (rinsed and drained),
canned artichokes (drained), and sautéed sweet onions and garlic until
creamy for a great bean dip. Season with salt, pepper, lemon or lime
juice, crushed red pepper, and oregano. Serve with whole wheat
crackers or pita and cut vegetables.

Entertaining Essentials

Always have on hand:

Meat and seafood: Frozen, cleaned shrimp; frozen boneless/skinless
chicken breasts; canned, shredded white-meat chicken; frozen chicken
sausages

Sauces and seasonings: Cocktail sauce, bruschetta topping, pizza
sauce, salsa, buffalo hot sauce, soy sauce, olive oil spray, capers,
garlic

Dips and dressings: Hummus, low-fat ranch and low-fat Italian
dressings, low-fat sour cream, and nonfat plain yogurt

Cheese: Grated Romano and Parmesan cheeses, reduced-fat shredded
Cheddar or mozzarella, and reduced-fat feta cheese

Fruits and vegetables: Baby carrots or carrot coins and other precut
veggies, canned seasoned tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, frozen stir-fry
veggies, jarred roasted red peppers, jarred or canned artichoke
hearts, dried apricots, canned white cannellini beans, canned black
beans, lemons, limes, oranges

Grains: Instant brown rice, crackers made with whole grain, boxed
whole wheat pasta, plain reduced-fat microwave popcorn

Beverages: Club soda, frozen fruit juices, lemon juice, wine, white or
green tea bags

Nuts: Almonds, pistachios