By Marni Fogelson

Published on December 22, 2016

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If you’ve got a warm home and a welcoming heart, yet virtually no kitchen skills, fear not: You can entertain and make it look easy with this Trader Joe’s shopping list.

We figured each guest will have about eight to 10 pieces of food (as well as cheese and crackers), so adjust your menu and guest list accordingly. We don’t think anyone will be able to resist this sumptuous spread of cheese, savory bites, flatbreads, and several sweet-tooth satisfiers to finish off the evening.

If you have some change left over, spring for a bouquet of flowers to brighten the table. Ask friends to bring wine, and you’ll be set to hang out with your faves while enjoying tasty treats—without the stress or large price tag of a traditional dinner party.

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Michael Wiltbank

Fancy Mixed Nuts
While you are waiting for the entire gang to arrive, set out a few bowls of these fancy mixed nuts. With almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, and cashews, this peanut-free nut mix version is irresistible. (And it’s made with less salt so guests won’t find themselves parched for the rest of the night.)
$7.99 for 16 oz bag

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Greek Stuffed Olive Triumvirate
Pitted and stuffed with jalapenos, piri-piri peppers, and almonds, these Greek olives are as beautiful as they are yummy. Olives are a favorite finger food, and these big-time flavors make your gathering feel and look especially celebratory.
$6.99 for 35 oz

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Wild Mushroom and Black Truffle Flatbread With Mozzarella Cheese
Yes, you can have truffle—even on a small budget. This mushroom and black truffle flatbread will make your guests feel like they are dining at a trattoria in Italy, even if they are perched on the edge of your futon eating over a paper plate. This flatbread looks suspiciously like a pizza, so you may even be able to win over children…and expose them to the wonders of black truffles.
$4.69 (We recommend buying two or three of these.)

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Double Crème Brie With Truffles
Speaking of truffles, consider splurging on this super creamy brie for your cheese plate. Made by a family-owned fromagerie in France, this decadent cheese is thankfully much easier to bring home than the one you tried to smuggle through customs after your last trip to Europe.
$7.99 for 8.5 oz

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Black Diamond Vintage Reserve Cheddar Aged 5 Years
And as a counterpoint, offer this sharp cheese made from the milk of Canadian cows raised on family farms. The aging process yields a rich cheddar flavor that’s perfect for nibbling.
$9.99/lb

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Roasted Onion and Garlic Jam
Dress up your cheeses with this sublime savory jam made from slow roasted garlic and onions and flavored with herbs and balsamic vinegar. If there’s any left over, slather it on a bagel with cream cheese the next morning. Other options for spreading include prepared dips and spreads like edamame hummus or spinach and kale Greek yogurt dip.
$2.99

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Crackers and Bread
You’ve got to have something to serve as the vessel for all that delicious cheese. Pita crisps with pumpkin and cranberry seeds add a seasonal flavor to whatever you are serving and Some Enchanted Crackers are a crunchy multigrain option that come studded with sesame, poppy, and flax seeds. In addition to crackers, pick up an organic baguette for slicing and spreading. $2.69 for pita crisps, $2.49 for Some Enchanted Cracker, $1.99 for baguette

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Root Vegetable Galette
Sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, and parsnips are tucked inside the flaky crust of this savory pie. Warming and filling, it’s a tasty, hearty way to serve veggies.
$4.49 (We recommend two or three of these.)

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Camembert and Cranberry Sauce Fillo Bites
Tangy, crunchy, sweet, salty: These camembert and cranberry bites have a lot going on. All the flavors combine in symphony. (You’ll probably want to grab an extra box or two of these to keep in the freezer in case of “emergencies.”)
8 pieces for $3.99

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Mini Quiche
Everyone loves mini quiches. (And if someone doesn’t, that means there’s more quiche for everyone else!) Guests can choose between Truffle & Swiss or Bacon & Sauteed Onion. Either way, they’ll get a rich, buttery mouthful.12 for $3.99

Greek Spirals With Leek and Feta CheeseThese swirled phyllo pastries come direct from the source and are made by a Greek supplier. Filled with leeks, onions, béchamel, feta and a traditional mizithra cheese, these swirls are a fun twist on the beloved triangle shape of spanakopitas and tiropitas.
12 for $2.99

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Arancini Bites
Bake these cheesy, chewy little bites until they are golden brown. When guests bite into these Italian treats, they’ll find gooey melted cheese. It’s a quick bite that packs substantial flavor.
12 for $3.49

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Macarons des Fetes
At trendy macaron shops, a single one of these beloved French cookies can cost upwards of $2, but this 12 pack is only $4.99 and has flavors like gingerbread, cappuccino, pear cinnamon, and four spice caramel.
12 for $4.99

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Chocolate Marbles
There’s more than meets the eye with these sumptuous chocolate marbles. Beneath the chocolate finish, layers of chocolate are carefully filled and molded. With fillings like coconut, crispy cookie, almond praline, and chocolate mousse, it’s a good thing there’s two of each.
16 for $4.99

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Ice Cream
Ice cream, even in winter, is a classic, yet playful dessert option, and Jingle Jangle ice cream is a “best of” mishmash of candy and frozen deliciousness. This ice cream has a sweet cream base, but it’s the chocolate covered pretzels, peanut butter cups, red candy gems, and Joe-Joe’s cookies mixed throughout that make it feel especially party-appropriate. If you’re more of a traditional flavor lover, try the Peppermint Joe-Joe’s. $4.49 

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Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Craving a nightcap? Try this smooth, creamy peppermint hot chocolate. It’s not overly sweet, and it’s just begging to be spiked.
$4.99 for 8 oz

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