Frenzied party planning and last-minute gift shopping, the holiday season can be hectic — and we've all been there. Any time saved means more time to actually enjoy the festivities. So make yourself a promise this year to stop slaving away in the kitchen. Instead, spend your precious hours with family and friends. These nine Trader Joe's party hacks will save you time and money when planning your next holiday party. Your friends will think you toiled the entire day preparing these festive dishes, but your secret is safe with us.
1. Pumpkin Spiced Tea Cocktail
Think of this one as a grown-up and sexy drink for all you devoted PSL lovers out there. Creating a concentrate encapsulating your favorite flavor has never been easier than now with Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spiced Rooibos Tea. Pair it with bourbon, sweet maple syrup and a hit of orange liqueur, and you've got yourself a party. Anise kicks up the spiciness and depth of the drink. Serve this one chilled.
Read more: Pumpkin Spiced Tea Cocktail Recipe
2. Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds with a little salt are delicious on their own. But actually scraping out the pumpkin, cleaning the seeds and roasting them in the oven? Who has time for that? Cut out these messy, time-consuming steps by going with Trader Joe's In-Shell Pumpkin Seeds. They're already salted and roasted. Simply add your own holiday flair to the mix by flavoring the seeds with bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup and spicy nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cinnamon.
Read more: Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
3. Pumpkin Hummus
Hummus and veggies crudite at a holiday party? Healthy, yes, but you won't be winning any style points with this one. Up your game by adding pumpkin three ways: canned, seeds and spice -- and win all the style points by serving it up in a hollowed-out pumpkin. Serve this delicious dip with veggies or whole-grain crackers.
Read more: Pumpkin Hummus Recipe
4. Stuffed Hot-and-Sweet Peppers
These hot and sweet cherry peppers actually look like little red pumpkins. These guys throw some major heat but have underlying sweet notes too, making them complex and delicious. The goat cheese helps to soothe the heat (although they still aren't for the faint of heart), and the roasted pistachios add salt and crunch. They're incredibly easy to prepare, but your guests don't have to know that, do they?
Read more: Stuffed Hot-and-Sweet Peppers Recipe
5. Gourmet Winter Cheese Board
Elevate your cheese board with pumpkin butter, fontina cheese, pecan pie filling and manchego. Sounds difficult and pricey? It doesn't have to be. By adding in a few surprising but delicious items, you can make everyone at your party think you're a pairing connoisseur who has spent a fortune on this appetizer. You can find other delicious, easy spreads and cheeses at your nearest Trader Joe's, including fig jam, eggplant and garlic spread, apple-pie cheddar and more.
Read more: Gourmet Winter Cheese Board Recipe
6. Butternut Squash Soup Shooters
You'll be thrilled to know you don't have to host a full, sit-down dinner to serve this elegant soup. Soups make a great appetizer, and the ease of this recipe will save you tons of time. Incorporating leeks and thyme and topping with creamy goat cheese will add flavorful complexity. Your guests will feel extra special with their own individual serving.
Read more: Butternut Squash Soup Shooters Recipe
7. Apple Cider Cocktail
This little sparkler will kick off any holiday party. The ginger brew adds a bite to the sweet and spicy honey crisp apple cider, and the vodka helps get things warmed up. Apples and whole cinnamon sticks are used in this recipe, but you can swap these out for pears, cranberries or star anise. Rim the cups with cinnamon and sugar for a finishing touch.
Read more: Apple Cider Cocktail Recipe
8. Sweet Fig and Goat Cheese Crostinis
Picking up already sliced and baked crostinis saves you from having to make them yourself. And adding in goat cheese already sweetened with honey saves you even more time with this recipe. Simply top each crostini with fig slices and garnish with thyme and a drizzle of thick balsamic glaze.
Read more: Sweet Fig and Goat Cheese Crostinis Recipe
9. Sweet Potato Dip and Pumpkin Chips
There's nothing like roasted sweet potatoes, but roasting them can take about 30 minutes -- and we're not even counting the cleanup time. Skip all of that with these ready-to-go roasted sweet potato wedges. Blend them with tart, protein-rich Greek yogurt, spicy chipotle and a touch of honey to create a decadent yet healthy dip. It's delicious paired with whole-grain pita chips. Or, if you want to up the holiday theme, opt for Trader Joe's pumpkin tortilla chips.
Read more: Sweet Potato Dip and Pumpkin Chips Recipe
What Do YOU Think?
Are you a fan of Trader Joe's? What are some of your go-to Trader Joe's food hacks? Would you try any of these recipes this holiday season? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!