As I’m always telling you guys-I’m typically a “made from scratch” kinda gal. I love cooking, I love saving money, and I just love knowing that I’ve made something myself.
But sometimes-well, sometimes life overtakes you. So when Walmart asked me to share some of their quick and easy holiday entertaining solutions I felt like it was a good, authentic fit for Frugal Upstate!
The last time we were down at the Walmart HQ in Bentonville AR they threw all of us “Walmart Moms” a big Christmas style bash–even though it was October! One of the days we spent at this really cool venue–a historic house–all set up like a home for the holidays. Lunch was a buffet made up complete of items from the Holiday Entertainment flier at Walmart.
Walmart asked me to go out and purchase 3 of the savory items we had sampled and one of the sweet and then have some friends and family try them out. December’s a busy month for me (I already host a cookie exchange party and a few other things) so I decided that instead of hosting a party, using the items to host “Coffee Hour” at my church would be fun!
First from the list I chose items that I would typically serve at a party–a Hormel Cheese Ball tray and a Marketside Vegetable tray. Then I added in the TGI Friday’s Loaded Baked Potato Skins and a Paula Deen Cranberry Orange Pound cake!
Now I could have just opened everything up and tossed it on the table-but that isn’t very festive. One of the ways to make store bought items look more impressive is to step it up with the presentation. First I covered the table with a couple of nice holiday tablecloths from home, and I added a poinsettia to the table for a bit of flare. Next I un-packaged all of the food items and served them up on platters from the church kitchen–which made them look MUCH better. I also took the potato skins and cut them into thirds to make the more of an hors d’oeuvre size.
All of the items in the Marketside Vegetable tray were crisp and fresh looking. I think there was one tomato that was split open and had leaked a bit of juice, but since they are all packaged separately I was able to just rinse those off and chuck the split one.
The loaded baked potato skins were the crowd favorite. Everyone LOVED them–especially the teens. Several of the adults were surprised that they were store bought-they looked so good that they had assumed they were home made.
All the items in the cheese ball tray were individually packaged–which meant the ham hadn’t leaked juice on anything else and the crackers were all still crisp and buttery. When we ran out of crackers I grabbed a package of name brand ones from the kitchen–you absolutely couldn’t tell the difference! These were not “second rate” crackers at all (I don’t know about you but I always wonder about that when I buy something that has the crackers included)
So for under $50 I was able to put together a nice holiday spread with almost no work at all. The “hardest” thing was heating up the TGIFriday’s Loaded Baked Potato Skins, and that wasn’t hard. Three of the items (Hormel Cheese Ball Tray, Marketside Vegetable Platter and Paula Deen Cranberry Orange Cake) were things you could pick up at the store and bring directly to an office party or someone’s house without any additional prep–the packaging can double as serving dishes. Of course they look even nicer if you replate them.
If you are looking for some more great entertaining ideas Walmart has a Holiday Entertainment pinterest board–with things like a cinnamon roll wreath and peppermint chocolate Chex mix.