4 Best Store-Bought Appetizers, According to Chefs

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When it comes to vacation hosting, I like to focus on cooking the three things I do well and running to the grocery store for everything else.

Here are four chef-approved appetizers, straight from the stores, that require, at most, some heating.

Trader Joe’s is a real-life wonderland for frozen shortcuts. “Our favorite holiday trick is to grab Trader Joe’s Caramelized Onion and Feta Pasta Chunks (and) improve them,” says Kaiy Smith-Biesman, chef, sommelier and food stylist at Stems in Pasadena, California. “I add chopped pears, brown sugar and a little nutmeg and butter before baking.” Short on time? Smith-Biesman says you can also serve the snacks as is.

When you serve canned fish as an appetizer, basically the only step is to open and empty the container. “Straight from the can, white anchovies, clams or octopus are a fun addition to holiday apps and entrees,” says Juan Cassalett, chef at Malagão in Charleston, South Carolina. Cassalett Counts Ortiz Products, which Malagón sells in his market, as favorites. “My preference for Ortiz white anchovies is with whole Espaniler piquillo peppers served with Los Aljibes olive oil for a simple, shareable tapa with toasted sourdough bread or crackers,” he adds.

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