Nothing says fall like backyard bonfires and football viewing parties (even if you’re only in it for the snacks). But with those festivities come the duties of playing hostess—and the potential for getting trapped in the kitchen while everyone else mingles and snaps food photos.
In an effort to help you actually enjoy your own get-together, we’ve rounded up four simple, seasonal snacks and recipes to match their flavor profiles that will make party prep a breeze—and make your guests think you’re a culinary genius (because you are, duh).
The secret? Preparing make-ahead dips and sips that pair well with sensible snacks like SunChips®, the 100 percent whole grain chips that are inspired by fresh ingredients and don’t use any artificial flavors or preservatives. Because you could force feed raw veggies to your friends, but, let’s be honest, guac just goes too well with a little savory crunch.
All you need is a quick grocery run, minimal kitchen time, and some pretty serving bowls to put together a balanced, feel-good spread that tastes amazing. Pro tip: Have extra chips and dip on deck. With these recipes, you’re going to need at least one refill.
Scroll down for 4 recipes that will wow your guests this season, no matter the occasion.
For a backyard bonfire
The traditional fireside snack is usually s’mores, but if you’re looking for something more savory and filling to munch on, go for SunChips®Sweet Potato (a limited-time flavor for all your fall needs) for a dose of whole-grain goodness. And in the spirit of all things fall, pour yourself a mug of hot apple cider. The crisp sweetness of the apple pairs perfectly with the hearty sweet-potato flavor, warming you from the inside out on chilly fall nights.
Turmeric Hot Apple Cider
Yields 2-3 servings
3 cups fresh apple cider
½ inch fresh peeled turmeric, or ½ tsp dried turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
5 black peppercorns
1 tsp maple syrup, to taste
1. Place the apple cider, turmeric, cinnamon stick, and black peppercorns in a heavy pot and bring to a boil.
2. Lower to a simmer, and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on the spice level you’d like (with 10 minutes being the most spicy). Strain the solids from the liquid into a bowl.
3. Add the maple syrup and taste and adjust as needed. You should feel the spice and heat from the pepper and turmeric, but also feel like it’s warming and sweet. Drink away!
On game day
Football food isn’t exactly famous for being the most nutritious. Give your guests (and yourself) an option you won’t regret later with this acorn squash guacamole, and serve it up with Simply Tostitos™ Black Bean chips, the Non-GMO Project Verified chip made with black beans, rice flour, and spices that pair perfectly with the robust flavors of the acorn squash for a delicious upgrade to your tailgate spread. Because black beans + guac = snack-time win.
Yields 4-6 servings
1 acorn squash
3 ripe avocadoes
1 poblano pepper
2 limes, juiced
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp sea salt, or more to taste
1. Under the broiler, roast the poblano on a sheet pan until charred black all over (you will need to turn the pepper a few times to get the whole thing). Once charred, take it out of the oven, put it on a cutting board and cover it with a bowl.
2. Lower the oven to 375°F. Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise from stem to tip. With a spoon, scoop the seeds out and rub the inner flesh with coconut oil. Place the squash halves skin-side up onto a baking sheet, and bake until fork tender, about 45 minutes.
3. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, peel the skin off, and remove the stems and seeds. Cut the pepper into small pieces and place it into a bowl. Add the avocado, lime juice, garlic, cilantro, and salt and smash it with the back of a fork until smooth with a few chunks (or whatever consistency you prefer). Set aside to let the flavors saturate.
4. When the squash is ready, take it out of the oven and let cool. Turn one of the halves over and place on a plate. Scoop the guacamole into the squash half as your bowl. That way, when you scrape the side of the “bowl” to get more guac, you’ll also score sweet squash, too.
For girls’ night in
As the weather cools off, a girls’ night in feels infinitely more appealing than a GNO. Snuggle up with a hygge-worthy blanket, superfood mocktail, and bowl of Smartfood® Delight Rosemary & Olive Oil popcorn, and you’ll have everything you need for a cozy Friday night in with your bestie(s). With a ginger-y sip in one hand and air-popped snack with herbal flavor in the other, you’ll elevate any situation to staycation status.
Pear Ginger Mocktail
Yields 3-4 servings
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
½ Tbsp lemon juice (from about a half lemon)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups water
Club soda or sparkling water
1. Add the pears, ginger, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and water into a blender, and blend until smooth.
2. Strain the mixture into a bowl using a fine mesh sieve, a piece of cheesecloth, or a nut milk bag. If your pears are not very sweet, add a dash of honey to taste.
3. Fill a glass with ice, and half full with the pear mixture. Fill the rest of the glass with sparkling water or club soda. Boomerang cheers optional.
At a dinner party
Appetizers are arguably the best part of having the crew over for dinner. Make your BFFs happy with SunChips® Veggie Harvest, which come in flavors like Tomato, Basil & Cheese, Farmhouse Ranch, and Spring Herb & Parmesan for flavors that are great on their own or with any number of apps. Plus, since the first ingredient of every variety is a vegetable, it’s an easy way to amp up your veggie intake for the day.
To take things up a notch, whip up this white bean hummus with garlic and lemon to bring forward the underlying herbal flavors for a combo that will leave you reaching for seconds. Warning: You might not be able to save room for dinner.
White Bean Cauliflower Hummus
Yields 4-6 servings
1 (15 oz.) can white beans
½ head of cauliflower, cut into florets (about 2 cups)
1 clove garlic, minced
6 Tbsp olive oil, divided
½ Tbsp lemon juice (from about a half lemon)
¼ cup chives, chopped
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. Heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
2. When it’s simmering, add the cauliflower and cook until soft, about 15 minutes.
3. Add the white beans and garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant and the beans are warmed through.
4. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor with the rest of the olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
5. Process until smooth, scraping the bowl down every so often.
6. Fold in the herbs, and adjust seasonings to your taste. Dig. In.
Top photo: Stocksy/Studio Firma