Hit up the beloved grocery store for memorable party snacks and treats that don’t cost a ton
You’ve spent December purchasing gifts for everyone on your list, indulging in holiday feasts, and infusing your home with merry and bright seasonal decor. By the time the month comes to a close (and oh, it’s also time to pay rent), your wallet is likely feeling a bit tapped out. Why did you decide to host that New Year’s Eve gathering again?!
Rest assured, you don’t need to spend a ton to set out a tasty party spread–and you don’t need to spend a ton of time prepping hors d’oeuvres and mini desserts, either. For its mastery of unusual snacks for reasonable prices, we looked to cult favorite grocery store Trader Joe’s to score affordable yet super-delicious bites.
Nuts about Rosemary Mix ($6.99). For fans of sweet-meets-savory, this party snack features a greatest hits parade of nuts that are roasted and tossed in salt and rosemary. The herb flavoring is subtle, so it won’t overpower guests’ taste buds.
Truffle Marcona Almonds ($5.99). In our dream life, “Do you want truffles with that?” would be the ultimate up-sell for most any dish. IRL, we’ll settle for this marriage of truffles and one of our longtime favorite TJ’s products. Spanish marcona almonds meet Italian black truffle-flavored sea salt in a deluxe snack for an amazing value.
Blue Cheese Stuffed Chalkidiki Olives ($4.99). These jumbo-sized green Greek olives have a firm texture and tart, peppery flavor that stand up well to the creaminess of the blue cheese. Just watch them disappear.
Pistachio Pomegranate Crisps ($3.99). Sure, you can serve water crackers with your cheese board (yawn)–or you can serve these crisps that oh-so-perfectly walk the line between cracker and cookie. We love the pistachio-pomegranate combo for their holiday palette, but these crisps come in another delightful Mediterranean flavor pairing of olive and fig.
Cranberry Chevre ($3.99). A log of goat cheese is a party staple, but let’s admit it–it’s been done. This version wakes up a tired tradition with a bit of seasonal interest, and in a festive hue to boot. Serve with your favorite TJ’s cracker, or our pick above.
Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler ($3.99). This sophisticated cheese flight includes pre-cut, wedge-shaped slices of Iberico, Cabra al Vino, and Manchego cheeses. It’s a win for party prep, your guests won’t have to awkwardly hack off servings with cheese knives, and tapping Spain for your cheese selection is wonderfully unexpected.
Mozzarella Rolloni ($9.99). Mozzarella sticks get a grownup treatment: each slice of cheese is wrapped in Italian prosciutto or spicy salami. This proves you don’t have to spring for fancy fromages and salumi to provide a crowd-pleaser.
Antipasto Assortment ($9.99). This four-in-one assortment of salamis, olives, and Unexpected Cheddar (a parmesan-cheddar combo that we happen to love) is a no-brainer.
From the Frozen Section
Greek Spanakopita ($3.99). Cut into perfectly portioned triangles, these spinach- and cheese-filled filo pastries never disappoint–and go great served alongside the Chalkidiki Olives.
Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese & Caramelized Onions ($4.99). For another foray into filo goodness, look no further than this delectable appetizer. We love the combo of briny feta and sweet caramelized onion.
Uncured Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese ($5.99). Three great things taste even greater together. These embellished dates really do taste best when warm, so we recommend walking around with a platter and passing them out to your guests rather than letting them languish on a buffet spread.
Brie en Croute ($6.99). You’ll want to draw guests to this immediately once it’s served out of the oven, and it won’t take much convincing: it’s an entire wheel of Brie, wrapped in pastry crust, all melty and insanely good, for crying out loud. Serve with crackers, crisps, or crunchy apple slices for a twist on crostini.
Pastry Puffs ($4.49). In other words, pigs in blankets–consider this a case of giving the people what they want.
On the Sweeter Side
Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s ($2.99). Trader Joe’s take on Oreo cookies has gone in multiple flavor directions over the years, but the peppermint version remains the best. Serve for a final dash of holiday cheer.
Mini Peppermint Meringues ($1.99). These light and crunchy meringues also keep the holiday vibes going and look adorable piled up on small platter.
An Assortment of Boozy Little Chocolate Truffles ($6.99). Give guests the best of both worlds–dessert and drinks–with these assorted truffles infused with London gin, Scotch whisky, navy rum, and Prosecco.
Champagne Gummy Candies ($1.99). We have to admit that the sparkling wine flavor isn’t all that apparent, but who can resist serving Champagne bottle-shaped gummies at a New Year’s Eve bash?
Chocolate & Vanilla French Macarons ($4.99). You can find the fresh version of macarons at a precious pastry shop and spend a small fortune, or you can serve a dozen of these from the TJ’s frozen aisle for five bucks. The choice is yours.
A Dozen Sweet Bites ($6.99). This trio of miniature patisserie-inspired petits fours will have you and your guests feeling like you’re partying along the Seine. Our favorite is the Chocolate & Coffee Opéra Cake, a French classic.
The lack of booze on this list is admittedly a glaring omission. While wine and spirits are New Year’s Eve party staples, those bottles do tend to add up cost-wise. Despite its attractive price tag, TJ’s Two-Buck Chuck (a $2 bottle of red) might be fun for a camping trip, but it just doesn’t make the cut for a special occasion. Grab a bottle of Prosecco (sparkling wine’s more affordable Italian cousin); Trader Joe’s regularly stocks it. To round out the bar, there’s no shame in asking your party guests to each bring a bottle of bubbly or another beverage to share to help defray costs. You are offering up your space, after all.
Happy New Year!