Poolside Entertaining Essentials

How to Be Ready For L.I.P.P. Service All Season!

Tracy Kunzler portrait

By Tracy Kunzler – Relaxation Expert

Introduction | 2 | 3 | 4

6. Snacks

Keep the possibility of L.I.P.P.s in mind each time you go to the store so you'll have a supply of easy-to-serve nibbles on hand. If you have teenagers, you'll want to hide this stash so it will not all be consumed in a single midnight pantry raid. For perishable items like cheeses and dips, put those in the veggie drawer, as teens never open that. (The veggie drawer is also an excellent place to keep your wallet for this reason.) I always keep a stock of crackers, tortilla chips and frozen phyllo cups on hand to serve as the foundation for many quick poolside eats. Here are some of my easy, go-to favorites made with ingredients that you can easily keep on hand:

Smoked Salmon Dip

Smoked salmon dip – Mix a 15.5 ounce can of drained salmon, an 8 ounce block of softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke and, if you like, a little chopped onion and a dash of horseradish until well blended. Chill until ready to serve with crackers.

Tortellini skewers or salad – If you can boil water, you can do this one. Get a package or two (depending on size of your crowd) of your favorite tortellini, cook according to package directions, drain and cool. Get a package (or two) of small, fresh mozzarella balls marinated in oil and herbs (usually found in the deli or cheese section of the grocery store), drain, reserving the oil. Toss the tortellini with the reserved oil and let sit. Rinse a quart (or two) of grape tomatoes and some fresh basil leaves. Thread the tortellini, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil leaves on long toothpicks or toss all together as a salad. You could also add olives or bits of salami or pepperoni, depending on your tastes. Chill until ready to serve.

Chili cheese dip – This always goes like wildfire and is so simple. I take a 15 ounce can of chili – beef or vegetarian, with or without beans – and about two cups shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend and simmer on low until warm and well blended and serve with tortilla chips. If you like it spicy, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

Phyllo PuffsPhyllo cups – I always keep some of these in the freezer and use them in so many ways. You get 15 in a box from your grocer’s freezer section for under $2. I get mine at Kroger, but Wal-Mart and just about every grocery store carries them. Athens, the company that makes them, offers lots of recipes here. I keep it simple. I fill 'em with chicken salad (I love Trader Joe's Wine Country Chicken Salad), tuna salad, or small chunks of brie along with a dab of raspberry jam and bake until warm and bubbly, topping each with a pecan half a couple of minutes before they look ready to take out of the oven. People always think you went to some kind of trouble. But, we're smarter than that!

For the younger set, a supply of freezie pops or popsicles is always a hit.

7. Cups, plates, napkins, flatware, serving dishes & pitchers

I'm all about being easy (if you don't ask my husband). So, I like using disposable cups, plates, napkins and flatware, but I feel guilty about the impact on the environment. While they can be a little more expensive, I'm a fan of the new plates, cups and flatware made from things like sugar cane that you can compost. If you buy larger quantities, such as these plates sold on Amazon.com, you can get the cost down to just 8¢ a plate. Shop around and if you come across a deal on a large quantity, consider going in with a friend or neighbor to split the costs. When it comes to disposables, there are more compostable and recyclable cups, plates, bowls and flatware products available than ever before. Solo®'s Bare® line is a good example and readily available at many grocery and department stores. Grab some fun and colorful napkins for your L.I.P.P. service supply cabinet, too.

If you're not into disposable, there are lots of fun, break-resistant plastic and melamine products to keep in your L.I.P.P. service cabinet. You'll want to have some fun platters and both large and small bowls in your stash. Right now, I love Target's Threshold Ikat and Paisley collections. Make sure you have a couple of plastic drink pitchers and large serving spoons, too.

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