You don't have to bake from scratch to be a star at the holiday cookie exchange.
These silver & blue hued beauties consist of Betty Crocker Shortbread Cookie Mix, Earth Balance "Butter" sticks for the dough, blueberry jam imported from Italy via the 99 Cents Only Store for the filling, powdered sugar with almond milk and limoncello for the icing, and silver and blue sprinkles for the big finish.
And you don't have to cook from scratch to create a savory standout for the potluck party. There were a 1/2 dozen recipe requests for my Pesto Antipasto Appetizer (sorry, no picture) that is a simple assemblage of delicious prepared products from Melissa's:
Melissa's Steamed Artichoke Hearts (chopped)
Melissa's Steamed Fava Beans (rinsed)
Melissa's Roasted Red Bell Peppers (chopped)
Melissa's Pine Nuts (lightly toasted)
Melissa's Basil Pesto (or make your own)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used Arianna Trading Co.)
Preserved Lemon or lemon juice
Fresh or Dried Basil and Oregano
Salt and Pepper
Use about equal amounts of each of the first 5 items, to end up with the quantity you need based on the number of people you're serving. Add the olive oil, lemon, and pesto to coat, then season to taste with the herbs, salt and pepper. Put the mixture in a serving bowl and surround with roasted garlic bagel chips, crackers, chips, and/or any crostini base you like.
So channel a little Sandra Lee, use great products from Melissa's, mix in a dash of your own creativity and flavor preferences, and do something dazzling in your kitchen!