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Bite-Size Ideas for Easy Entertaining

/ -- MISSION, KS -- (Marketwired) -- 07/18/16 -- (Family Features) Whether you're prepping for an extravagant party or an impromptu get-together, being prepared with cupboard staples and entertaining tricks can help you take your gathering to the next level.

Make menu planning a breeze and put a unique twist on your party from start to finish with these great ideas from the experts at Dare Foods:

Snacks with flair. Use geometric cookie-cutters to bring thoughtful detail to essential hors d'oeuvres like crackers, cheese and melon slices.

Vivid votive. Fill mason jars with water and add slices of lemon or lime along with sprigs of rosemary. Float a tea light on top and place around the yard or on tables for a beautiful way to decorate your outdoor space.

Photo courtesy of Dare Foods

Sparkler sendoff. Light up the night with festive sparklers for endless entertainment. Place them in a decorative pail and sit back as guests enjoy the photo opp.

When it comes to bite-size snacks, crackers are one pantry basic you can dress up or down for a wide range of party-worthy treats in minutes. For example, garden-fresh fixings atop crisp crackers make for light canapes that celebrate the best of summer flavors. Just start with one of Dare's mouthwatering crackers, loaded with crunch and packed with flavor, and pile on the goodness.

If you're looking for an elegant appetizer to wow dinner guests, a robust, crisp cracker makes the perfect base for a sweet corn salad and luxurious scallops. Or, for a delicious sweet treat, use Dare's sweet potato cracker to lend a unique twist to a classic s'mores recipe.

Find more creative cracker recipes for your next event at

Sauteed Corn, Feta, Cherry Tomato and Scallop Crackers
Prep time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10

2              ears corn
2              teaspoons vegetable oil
10             large scallops
1/4            cup crumbled feta cheese
10             cherry tomatoes, quartered
2              tablespoons finely sliced basil
10             Brenton Vinta crackers

Slice corn off of cob.

Heat vegetable oil in pan until hot, saute corn until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In another pan, heat vegetable oil until hot. Salt scallops then sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Slice in half to create 10 round scallop discs.

Mix corn, feta, tomatoes and basil together. Season with salt and pepper.

To compile, place spoonful of corn salad on each cracker. Top with 2 pieces of scallop and 1 sprig of basil.

Marshmallow, Chocolate, Sweet Potato Crackers
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: 10

10        large marshmallows
20        Breton sweet potato and ancient grain crackers
1/4       cup chocolate chips, divided

Heat broiler to low (set rack in top two-thirds of oven if low-heat setting is unavailable).

Place marshmallows on one cracker and broil 1-3 minutes, or until they begin to brown and soften.

Remove from oven and place 1 teaspoon chocolate chips onto hot marshmallows.

Let sit 1 minute to allow chocolate to soften.

Place cracker on top and enjoy.

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Michael French