HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


cheap, easy and interesting snacks

I'm having 1/2 dozen friends up to my family lake house for the long weekend. We've got major meals pretty well covered. Fortunately I have very thoughtful hounds for friends. I'd like to have stuff to snack on around. I tend to get bogged down in high quality easy stuff, like very good cheese plates, or things that take some effort to prepare so I'm a little challenged by the prospect of providing easy snacks. Looking for cheap, easy, and INTERESTING.

I'm keeping it simple one night with a greek inspired dinner. I'll have store bought hummus, dolmades, and olives for that so those easy snacks are out. I've consider homemade guacamole and salsa but have run out of ideas beyond that.

I also don't have loads of time to prepare in advance. Tonight I'll be making the trek late so I've pretty much only got the morning before they all arrive.

Thanks in advance!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Depending on what's available in your area, how about spiced nuts? I did see a recipe for chili-lime peanuts recently on a food blog I believe which was basically roasted unsalted peanuts that you bake with a chili-lime mixture, then allow it to cool completely.

    1. if you are going the salsa and guac route, get some square roll-ups and spread a layer of cream cheese, then one of refried beans, sprinkle with scallions and roll them up, wrap in plastic and chill a few hours until you are ready to server, then slice the roll up into rounds. It's an oldy, but everyone eats them up as soon as they can be sliced.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Snowflake

        If you add thin slices of roasted turkey to the roll up layer after the cream cheese, delicious too.

      2. Hummus, especially when homemade, is easy and very cheap. It's kinda exotic too, you know? Serve with pita wedges and you have apps for under 5 bucks!


        1. Super easy yumminess. Get a round of brie, put in glass baking dish. If you like, put some crushed garlic on top, then dump a small jar of sun dried tomatoes in oil on top. Cook in oven till heated and gooey (not particular with temp and time here). Stick a knife in it and let them serve it themselves onto a baguette or cracker. So easy, so good.

          1. Have you had roasted chickpeas? It might be redundant since you're already having hummus but it's a different taste even if it is chickpeas. You drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, add seasonings (salt, pepper, cumin, some garlic are my favorites), bake on a cookie tray at 350 for half an hour--they're kind of like a low fat nut.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chowser

              heh...I forgot about these! I've made them and they ARE excellent ... and cheaper than the spiced nuts.

            2. This is not Grecian, but is a great snack to have in the little candy bowls around the house.

              The recipe is called People Chow and is a southern thing:

              MIni frosted wheat
              peanut butter
              powdered sugar.

              With a spoon mix peanut butter carefully with the peanut butter without breaking the mini shredded wheat
              In a ziplock bag, toss with powdered sugar.

              Addictive snack

              1. Baked brie is always a delight to munch on. My preference, though, is for the sweet brie en croute. With the leftover puff pastry, you can roll sticks of them in parmesan and seasme, ranch dressing powder or even BBQ rub and bake for a delicious alternative to chips. If you have a lot of parmesan, you could also make fricco chips. Baked sweet potato or taro fries with seasoned salt are a treat when served with chipotle mayo.

                A mix of wasabi peas and cheddar Goldfish are quick and make a visual impact when set out in a clear vase. Colored shrimp crackers (the kind that one fries and puffs) were a favorite treat for me when I was young. If there are any children coming, they will get a kick out of making these exotic morsels.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JungMann

                  Did the wasabi peas and goldfish on your past recommendation - really pretty, fun and a great taste combination!

                  1. re: mirage

                    Glad you enjoyed them! Aren't they surprisingly addictive? I hope you also took my advice of putting them out in a clear vase; I love that look.

                2. edamame. the easiest snack, and cheap if you're near a Trader Joe's. they even sell pre-cooked ones that only need to be thawed. you could make them more interesting with some different soy sauces--one with garlic, one with ginger, wasabi, whatever. (I'm sure you could come up with something more creative!!)

                  1. Really good goat cheese in prepared mini-phyllo cups; can be topped w/ herbs, ground pepper or roasted red peppers. Also, halved grape tomatoes skewered on a toothpick w/ a small piece of fresh mozzarella and a folded basil leaf; drizzle w/ balsamic and olive oil and season w/ s&p. Fresh salsa is always good. You can make a nice dip by processing canned Great Northern beans, sun dried tomatoes and olive oil til smooth and a dipping consistency; serve with toasted pita chips for a great and not unhealthy dip.

                    1. how about making a big bowl of vinegarette-based pasta salad with lots of veggies? it's great right out of the fridge, and can stand alone or be eaten with grilled meats or a sandwich or whatever.

                      1. If you have a nice Asian market pick up an assortment of crackers & other crunchy snacks, there are always lots of interesting options.

                        For the suggestion of edamame, Food & Wine (I think) had the easiest most addictive recipe a few years ago. Steam the edamame (frozen, shelled is good). Place it in a bowl, drizzle with good olive oil, sprinkle it with a mixture of ground lapsang souchong tea & kosher salt. Just need a few spoonfuls of this mix. Toss well

                        Another easy nosh is a platter with nice (I like French) feta, Thai basil, walnuts, roughly sliced scallions and warm pita bread. People just choose and roll and happily munch!

                        If this is full of typos, sorry! The box is still being obscured making it very hard to proof read!