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11 Items to Have on Hand for Instant Hors d’Oeuvres

Experienced party planners prepare for the unexpected by keeping extra hors d’oeuvres in the freezer. If that’s not an option, have someone slip out to the nearest supermarket. Most stock trays of prepared vegetables, dips, cheeses, and cold cuts. If they don’t, here is a shopping list for a dozen hungry grazers.

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1 Pound Sliced Genoa SalamiSliced salami can be combined with bread and condiments for quick sandwiches.
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1 Large Bunch Grapes Grapes pair with wine and cheese to cleanse the palate. Simply wash and serve.
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2 pounds Swiss or American CheeseSliced cheese is an easy finger food and can also make quick grilled cheese sandwiches.

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1 Pound Dried Apricots Dried apricots are a sweet counterpoint to a cheese platter.
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1 Pound Sliced Smoked Ham or TurkeyHam rolled up with cheese is a quick, tasty snack.

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1 Jar Spicy MustardGood mustard adds a zing to any quick sandwich recipe. You can also grab a box of frozen pigs in a blanket and use it as a dip.
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2 Boxes CrackersCrackers can be combined with just about anything for a quick snack. Everyone has one potential topping on hand-peanut butter, sliced cheese or hummus.
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2 Loaves French Bread or BaguettesA French baguette is great to have on hand. It can be sliced for sandwiches or simply paired with good olive oil or butter.
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1 Jar Green OlivesOlives will keep for a long time, so be sure to have them on hand for cocktails and for guests to munch on while chatting. Stuff the centers with good blue cheese or even marinated garlic for a sharp bite.
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1 Large Bag Bite-Size Peeled CarrotsBaby carrots are great with in hummus, dip or peanut butter. They are healthier than potato chips, too.
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2 Small Baskets Cherry or Grape TomatoesLike baby carrots, cherry tomatoes add color and nutrients to your hors d’oeuvres.
Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest