Make The Perfect Hostess Snack In a Flash

When you're planning and hosting a party, figuring out what to serve can be a dilemma. Whether it's an all-out dinner or not, snack foods of some kind are usually expected.

It's important to plan this in advance and have a reference of hostess snack ideas to keep on hand. If you have a list of snack foods, you won't have as much of a problem deciding what to get for your next gathering.

Just remember to store your list in the same place you keep all your other recipes. That way, you won't lose it and find yourself desperate for ideas.

Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip - This is always a hit at parties! It's great served with French bread pieces, crackers, tortilla chips, or even veggies like carrot sticks. (Note, some versions include nuts, but I recommend never serving nuts at a gathering, as you never know whose allergies might be an issue.)

- 2 jars marinated artichoke hearts, chopped and well-drained - 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded. (Low-fat is OK, avoid nonfat because it won't melt well) - 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated - 1 garlic clove, minced - 1 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine all the above ingredients in a nice (decorative) baking dish. Bake until hot and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Don't forget to warn your guests that it's hot.

Sandwich Loaf: This is nothing new, considering it was a staple in the seventies. But it's a good luncheon main dish that never fails to impress.

- 1 large loaf white bread - 3 fillings of your choice (ham salad, egg salad, etc. are popular choices, but you could also use deli meats thinly sliced) - 1/4 cup of softened margarine - 2 packages of softened cream cheese - 1/2 cup half & half

Trim the crusts from the loaf of bread, so they're rectangular in shape. Cut it horizontally into four large slices.

Butter one side of a slice of bread, then lay it face-up on the serving plate. Add the sandwich filling, spreading evenly.

Continue layering buttered bread and sandwich fillings. Combine the cream cheese and half and half to create a frosting, and frost the loaf thickly.

Add garnishes of parsley, then slice vertically to create individual servings.

Enjoy your gathering, and good luck with the perfect hostess snack!

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