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Chef's Hat: Whip up these quick party snacks

Although some people may have their tree down by the time this column is published, it is still right smack in the middle of the holiday season and a lot of people are no doubt still celebrating. Several families I know can’t get together until the weekend after Christmas.

Appetizers and snack type foods are always great, no matter if you are still trying to get in that one last Christmas celebration or if you are ready to celebrate the upcoming New Year.

Lighter type dishes are also good if you have an open house where people are coming and going and not sitting down for a big meal.

And after having several family get-togethers complete with turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and luxurious desserts, it might just be time to eat a little bit less (and not expand the waistline quite so much!).

Deviled eggs tend to be an appetizer often served at parties. Just remember to leave them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them. If you fear the eggs will be setting out for a long period of time, put just a few out on a platter and keep the remaining eggs in the refrigerator.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve attended parties where someone has put little sausages in barbecue sauce. I’ve always felt that recipe was a bit on the bland side. For a better tasting sausage bite, add some plum (or your favorite flavor of jam) to the barbecue sauce before placing the sausages in the slow cooker.

And be adventurous! Jazz up your dish by using some type of flavored sausage, whether it’s an extra spicy sausage or one that is jalapeno flavored.

No matter if you are making snacks for a whole gang or just sitting back with a few friends or family members, spend less time cooking and more time enjoying each other’s company with these easy-to-prepare and quick-cooking snacks.

Happy eating and Happy New Year!