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Awesome Appetizers (No Cooking Required)

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Instead of spending hours slaving in the kitchen before your next party, opt for pre-prepared foods or takeout dishes, then focus your energy on creating a stylish presentation.

You'll save yourself loads of cooking and cleaning time and your guests will still be impressed! Jennifer Sbranti, The Hostess with the Mostess, has five fun and easy ideas for serving party food in style.

Chinese Takeout Containers
Mini versions of the familiar takeout box are perfect for dishing up individual servings of Asian-inspired bites like noodle dishes, salads, and pot stickers. They come in several colors and patterns to coordinate with your party theme, and are available both online and at craft stores like Michael's.
Votive Holders
These tiny -- and inexpensive -- glass cylinders make pretty holders for appetizers that are meant to be enjoyed with dipping sauce. Just spoon one to two tablespoons of the dipping sauce into the bottom of the votive before filling it with the appetizer. Try this idea with things like vegetable crudités and veggie dip, mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce, and thinly sliced apples and caramel.
Cocktail Glasses
Stemware isn't just for Cosmos and Cabernet anymore! Martini and wine glasses are fabulous for serving appetizers and desserts in style. They look great lined up in rows on a buffet table or on trays -- like your favorite cocktails! Use martini glasses for everything from shrimp cocktail and seafood ceviche to sorbet topped with berries and liqueur. Wine glasses are a great choice for individually-sized parfaits, fruit salads, chocolate mousse, and decadent ice cream sundaes.
Paper Cones
Use ready-made paper snow cones or DIY paper sleeves to hold individual servings of finger foods like french fries, sweet potato fries, kettle corn, and even popcorn balls. For DIY cones, choose colorful papers in fun patterns that coordinate with your party theme. To make your own paper cones, simply cut sheets of paper into circles, then roll 2 sides into towards each other at an angle until the bottom forms a point and the top is open like a funnel. Secure the shape with tape or staples.

Stick It
Use appetizer forks, wooden skewers, popsicle sticks, or lollipop sticks to give height to bite-sized, ready-to-eat starters and treats. Insert the sticks or the blunt ends of the forks into a sturdy surface that will help them stand upright -- such as floral foam or styrofoam covered with ice, some type of decorative filler or the bottom half of a watermelon or pineapple. For example, stick teriyaki chicken skewers into a halved pineapple or create sweet "bouquets" for the dessert table from cupcake or cheesecake bites served on lollipop sticks.
For more food and entertaining ideas, click here.

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